What is autonomy?

When employees have autonomy in their work, they are trusted to use their expertise to make decisions about how to do their jobs. Autonomy helps us understand where employees may feel micro-managed or empowered in their roles.

Autonomy can be impacted by a few areas. This includes the type and frequency of decision-making that is given to employees and the amount of supervision or oversight they receive in their role.

What statements measure autonomy?

In the Emplify Engagement Assessment, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Autonomy and share how strongly they agree or disagree based on their work experience:

  • I can make meaningful decisions about how I do my job.
  • I have freedom to do my job in the best way I see fit.
  • I am not micro-managed at my job.

How does autonomy impact engagement?

When employees feel that they experience autonomy in their work environment, this has a positive impact on the work that they do. Employees with high autonomy take initiative, seek to improve areas of their work, and feel trusted to make important decisions about how they work.

Promoting autonomy as an organization leader

As a leader in the organization consider where you can introduce flexibility in existing procedures. Is there an opportunity to allow employees to form their own teams, define processes using their expertise, have flexibility in their working hours, or select their preferred working environment? Building this into your culture allows managers and teams to find additional opportunities to expand autonomy.

Promoting autonomy as a direct manager

As a direct manager, you are closer to your team and can determine the level of autonomy that is right for the employees you oversee. Reflect on the level of clarity and competency on your team and consider how you can adjust your level of control to align. Promoting autonomy can look like asking questions instead of giving orders, not always giving the answer and working toward the answer with your team, or providing more context to help your employees make a more informed decision.

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