Allowing staff a little more autonomy within their roles can go a long way in creating a more productive workplace. Greater flexibility has the potential to benefit managers and employees alike, according to recent research from Robert Half Management Resources*.
Developing greater employee autonomy
Close to one in three – 32 per cent – of 2,100 surveyed chief financial officers (CFOs) admitted that their enterprises would get more done as a whole if employees were better empowered.
"Giving employees greater autonomy has the added benefit of making managers more productive. When staff have the freedom to decide how their work gets accomplished, they develop management skills much earlier in their careers," explained Senior Executive Director of Robert Half Paul McDonald.
While those at the very top may be reticent to have the balance of power shift further down the workplace pyramid, allowing staff more autonomy isn't a process that requires sweeping changes.
The research found that even the little things such as giving employees the freedom to carry out business communications personally can prove fruitful. Furthermore, rewarding the most capable and proactive team members with additional responsibilities may also stimulate initiative and performance.
Whether it's overseeing employee inductions, or taking on management duties that are above and beyond the norm, empowering staff can go a long way to boosting their self-worth and overall output.
The shift doesn't have to be drastic either. Research from International Management Journals** has shown that the development of skills which allow staff to become more autonomous takes place best within a preexisting organisational structure.
It's a delicate balancing act that employers must partake in. Too much freedom and business objectives may not be met, too little and workers can become disillusioned and engagement plummet.
The benefits to overall output are made apparent by the Robert Half research, with the most savvy enterprises allowing their employees a little more freedom for bigger gains in productivity.
*Robert Half Management Resources, 'CFOs Predict What Happens When You Empower Employees'.
**International Management Journals, 'The Importance of Work and Job Autonomy'.