Thursday, August 8, 2013

Autonomy Helps Keep Employees Engaged

The "Engaged Employee" is the backbone of the success of your business.  By engaged, we mean an employee who actively works toward the goals you set, who cooperates with your programs.

Unfortunately, engaged employees make up only 30% of the American work force, with 70% either just putting in time at your expense or, worst of all, actively engaged in defeating you.

For a further discussion of  the engaged employee, visit our post: 

One generally accepted technique to keeping your engaged employees engaged is to grant them a degree of autonomy in how they organize their work.  A book published in January, 2011 concludes that, "Workers who feel they have autonomy -- that they are free to make choices in the workplace and be accountable for them -- are happier and more productive according to an extensive research literature review.

And by definition, a happy, productive employee is an engaged employee.

This is one of the conclusions of a chapter from a new book, Human Autonomy in Cross-Cultural Context: Perspectives on the Psychology of Agency, Freedom, and Well-Being, coauthored by professors Marylène Gagné and Devasheesh Bhave from Concordia's John Molson School of Business.

"The perception of autonomy has very positive effects on workers," professor Gagné commented a press release about the book.

According to the book, autonomy can take many different forms. Organizations may
  • let employees set their own schedules,
  • choose how to do their work or
  • even elect to work from home.
When people feel they have latitude the results are impressive. Potential benefits include greater employee commitment, better performance, improved productivity and lower turnover.

"Autonomy is especially likely to lead to better productivity when the work is complex or requires more creativity," says Gagné. "In a very routine job, autonomy doesn't have much impact on productivity, but it can still increase satisfaction, which leads to other positive outcomes. When management makes decisions about how to organize work, they should always think about the effect on people's autonomy."

For more information, you may want to read:

Story Source:  Concordia University (2011, January 24). Freedom's just another word for employee satisfaction. Science Daily

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