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The Secret Ingredient to a High Performing Organization

Companies who give their employees job autonomy are 10 to 20 times more likely to outperform traditional organizations.

Autonomy empowers employees and empowered employees have a higher sense of purpose, and that purpose fuels performance.

With this in mind, how can employers create greater job autonomy at every level of their organization, where it is more likely to fuel greater performance, as opposed to just the upper echelon? We’ve put together a list of resources that further explores what autonomy is, how it’s developed and how organizations can leverage it for unprecedented growth.

Motivating Employees With Autonomy

New York Times bestselling author and motivation subject matter expert, Dan Pink, asserts:

“When people have the ability to direct their own lives they do greater work.”

In this video, Pink breaks down how autonomy is intrinsic to employee engagement plus shares actionable steps to develop a highly engaged, self-directed workforce.

Before Autonomy You need Trust

Job autonomy and employee empowerment are closely intertwined. They’re attributes all industry leaders have in common: think Google, Disney or Four Seasons. Empowering employees doesn’t happen overnight, but job autonomy is a great first step. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ strategy expert, Muriell Tiambo, reveals four key elements to effectively empowering your workforce in order to achieve sustainable growth.

Excellent Customer Service Depends on Empowered Employees

Employee autonomy requires shifting from a predict-and-control paradigm to one of sense-and-respond.

United Airlines found this out the hard way when their commitment to predict-and-control in the form of strict adherence to corporate policy robbed their employees of the ability to take a common-sense approach to an easily avoidable customer service snafu which ended in a PR disaster.

The sense-and-respond approach is dependent on empowered employees who have enough job autonomy to dynamically steer complicated and unique situations. At first, lightening the proverbial grip may seem scary, but the results of not doing so may be even more disastrous.

“Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders — in that order.”
– Simone Sinek

Famous Examples of Job Autonomy Wins

3M World Headquarters1. 3M’s Post-It Notes were discovered by Art Fry during his called off-time that the company gave its employees to pursue their own ideas.

2. Google used to have a famous 20% rule wherein all creative employees could spend 20% of their time on projects they believed were the most beneficial to Google. Apparently, this was how Gmail and AdSense came to fruition.

3. Facebook is famous for employee autonomy. Just take a look at their employees report on Glassdoor. Don Faul, Facebook’s former VP of online operations, told The Wall Street Journal that, compared to other tech companies that place more importance on “manager” titles and hierarchy, Facebook employees are often placed in roles that cater to their strengths and are encouraged to question and criticize their managers.