Flexibility has been talked about for a long time and the importance of autonomy is emphasized in the employee’s commitment to work and workplace. It seems that flexibility is the most sought-after item of the new working models in the employee trends emerging after the pandemic. However, if we listen to employees more carefully, we realise that what they really need is not only flexibility but also a comprehensive autonomy. This is one of the most important findings of Moodivation’s technology, which makes employee feedback a part of everyday life.
What is the difference between flexibility and autonomy?
Think about what flexibility means for your company. The common answer to this question is that employees can connect wherever they want and do their work. Although companies see the demand for flexibility as limited to location, employees actually want to be free not only where the work is done, but also when and how it is done. This brings forward the definition of autonomy. You may be describing flexibility as hybrid work, but it’s clear that you need to set the bar a bit higher.
Retaining the next generation of employees
The speed with which new generation employees enter the business world is breaking the rules. At this point, it is very important for the leaders to trust the employees in order to reveal their true potential, to define the processes correctly with the support of technology, and to leave the issue of how to do the work to the employees.
A study conducted with 5000 employees worldwide revealed that 59 per cent of the participants stated that “flexibility” is more important to them than salary or other benefits, and 77 per cent of them want to work in companies that give them the flexibility to work from anywhere instead of stylish offices.
Companies that ignored the autonomy of their employees and enforced face-to-face working faced mass resignations, proving that there is no place for prohibitions or strict rules in the ever-mentioned ‘new normal’.
What creates the need for autonomy?
At this point, as in many issues, it is necessary to consider the reactions of our brain to the effects. In a psychological study conducted in the 1980s, a theory that the driving force of human motivation is not reward was brought up for discussion. It was argued that the intrinsic motivation of the human beings is the basic element of success and fulfilment. According to this research, there are three components of self-determination: Autonomy, competence and relevance. The intrinsic motivation formed by the combination of these three components increases employee satisfaction, fulfilment and commitment to work. It was accepted by experts on many platforms that this research, which was taken off the shelves during the pandemic period and opened to discussion again, reflected the facts. Autonomy is an indispensable component of motivation and the main driver of performance and well-being.
How do you support autonomy?
Business leaders and team managers around the world are currently debating the borders of autonomy. Doesn’t it seem a little strange to you that the words autonomy and border come together? Could it be that the employees’ need for autonomy stems from wanting to remove borders?
We have put together a few suggestions for you:
- Focus on values and clarify principles rather than rules and policies.
- Overhaul your learning and development strategy in the context of autonomy. For example, emphasise effective project management for teams and try to align people to project success.
- Provide employees with technological tools that can easily meet their needs for autonomy.
- Be effective in communication, which is a problem from time to time, even when you are under the same roof. – No demanding, routine and boring virtual meetings –
- Pay more attention to employee feedback than ever and make them feel – even prove – that their feedback is critical in planning. 🙂