Autonomy, or the ability to make decisions on your own, can directly influence your team’s productivity and longevity. Studies show that independence relieves stress and gives employees a greater sense of purpose, which can translate to lower turnover rates and higher job satisfaction. If you're looking for a simple way to increase employee morale, give them greater freedom by implementing the following pointers.
- Start small. According to the economic theory of loss aversion, we’re much more disappointed when we lose something than happy when we gain something. Implement a gradual and controlled process to increase autonomy so that the company doesn't panic and rescind autonomy later on. Be careful: a team’s collective output is greatly hindered if you take away power they already have.
- Maintain a structure. The more autonomy your employees have, the more fulfilled they’ll be. But too much independence all at once can be overwhelming. Make sure to establish a strategic direction, a timeline, and check-ins while simultaneously allowing your team to decide how they’ll tackle their work.
- Encourage employees to set their own goals. Micromanagement is listed among the top three reasons why people resign. Step back and take care of the high-level framework for a project while assigning your team the task of setting their own goals. This will help your team stay intrinsically motivated, rather than working for just a paycheck.
- Give your team a perceived feeling of choice. The most important aspect of autonomy at work is the feeling that you are able to make your own decisions, even if you're not in complete control. This goes along with maintaining a structure when giving your team independence. Create a framework for decision making, and let your employees choose their plan of execution.
Takeaway: Empowering employees is positively correlated with their job satisfaction. Keep your team motivated and happy by giving them independence along with encouragement and guidance.