Micromanaging is out. Autonomy is in.
Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” And it’s not for nothing that that mindset is the backbone of one of the world’s most successful companies!
Whether you’re in the tech industry, financial services, retail—any sector where people are a primary component of your business—we believe that it pays to let your employees take the lead. It pays in terms of engagement. It pays in terms of productivity. It pays in terms of company culture. And all of that works together to strengthen your bottom line. All of these outcomes are particularly salient, given today’s challenging talent market.
It’s those conditions—such as labor shortages and new expectations from employees—that have made employers increasingly recognize the value in giving employees more autonomy. Like most workplace shifts in recent years, the pandemic jumpstarted this trend: As workers moved to remote settings (and were still able to be productive!), they began to rethink what they wanted out of work: And for many, it all came down to flexibility. When employers started to make hybrid and remote options a reality in a post-pandemic world, workers responded: According to a 2022 McKinsey study, nearly 90% of employees who were given the option to work flexibly took advantage of it. Conversely, organizations that haven’t centered flexibility are losing the war for talent, as workers become increasingly comfortable moving on if their new expectations for flexibility aren’t met; McKinsey research found that flexibility was consistently a top factor that drove employees to new jobs.
Giving workers more autonomy isn’t just about letting them have a say in when or from where they work. It can involve soliciting—and, importantly, acting on—employee feedback. It may take the form of supporting employees in their growth and development, such as offering tuition-free education and letting workers select the learning that fits their own desire career path. It can also mean helping workers along that career path—providing the opportunity for stretch assignments and lateral moves to fuel skills development.
When organizations give employees this type of power, everyone benefits: Workers feel trusted, supported and empowered—and, in turn, they bring their A game to their work. That looks like an engaged and productive workforce that is churning out ideas and innovation that can help the business grow. That success can build upon itself to fuel a workplace culture where input is valued, employees are valued and the value of the company itself climbs. And it all comes back to one simple reality: Just trust your employees.
Your workforce, simplified.
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