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Why you should encourage employee autonomy in your business

For some managers and business owners, relinquishing power and giving more freedom to employees might sound like a scary idea. However, by giving your staff more responsibility, your business can reap a number of rewards. From senior staff having more time available for other tasks to improving employee motivation throughout the business, there are lots of great reasons to promote employee autonomy in the workplace. Let’s discuss a few of them.

Senior staff have more time available

Often there is no need for senior staff to be overseeing tasks which lower-level employees are fully capable of performing on their own. By giving staff more autonomy and responsibility, you will find that your senior staff won’t have to be so hands-on, causing them to be less involved in smaller decisions, freeing up their time to tackle bigger tasks and projects. For example, instead of having to spend energy on overseeing daily tasks, account managers could tackle that new client pitch or HR heads can finally get to grips with implementing the likes of Sage People, iTrent or other people technology systems you have been looking at. Without having to spend vast swaths of time micromanaging and attending to every little thing, these high-level employees can concentrate on pushing the business forward, executing dynamic initiatives, and looking at the bigger picture.

Autonomy increases motivation and employee investment

Another benefit of employee autonomy is that it helps the staff to feel more invested in the business’ success due to the increased accountability and responsibilities. This will also lead to improved motivation among staff as they know that the business’ success relies on them and that it will reflect well on them if they manage to achieve high levels of performance. Autonomy brings freedom yes, but also accountability. A 2019 study has found that “79% of autonomous employees are engaged, and thus are more accountable and perform better.” With everyone motivated to succeed and invested in the success of the business, your company will surely benefit in ways previously unseen due to micro-managing and low levels of motivation.

Helps identify future leaders

While keeping employees on a tight leash might mean more control for those running the business, it’s a great way to squash potential and hide those who could take the business to greater heights. Part of running a successful business is identifying future leaders who can one day move into positions of power themselves. After all, people retire and at some stage, new ideas are needed to move a business forward. By encouraging employee autonomy, you can more easily identify these individuals, as the increased responsibility will give them their moment to shine. The new freedom they are given will mean they can also bring forth their creativity and prove that they have what it takes to rise up the ranks. So not only can employee autonomy help your business in the present, but it can also provide great benefits in the long term.

Easier to attract the best talent

If your business becomes known for the independence it provides employees and you are able to get this across to prospective new recruits, you will find yourself attracting some of the most exciting talent available. Many people will be excited by the freedom and autonomy that your business offers, seeing it as an opportunity to utilise their talents, their ideas, and become a key member of a thriving business. Adversely, many workers can be put off by a business who clearly smothers their employees and doesn’t give them any room to spread their wings or utilise their full skillset.

How employee autonomy can benefit your business

  • Senior staff have more time available
  • Autonomy increases motivation and employee investment
  • Helps identify future leaders
  • Easier to attract the best talent

As you can see, there are some significant benefits to encouraging autonomy among your employees. Your business can really gain by providing a little more freedom and responsibility to staff so consider ways that you can make this happen for your company going forward. It might just give you the edge you need during a tough period for businesses.

For more tips and advice, make sure to visit our blog.

This blog was written by Simon Davis, Head of Partner Delivery at Phase 3.

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