Employees’ autonomy, or their level of control over how they achieve their goals, can have an incredible impact on employees’ professional wellbeing. Allowing for as much autonomy as possible helps individuals feel encouraged and in control, increasing their confidence and quality of output. 

Help your employees feel empowered 

Providing employees with a chance to share their perspectives and have a say in how their work is completed is a great way to empower them. After setting clear expectations and realistic goals, give your employees the freedom to achieve them. You will see increases in engagement, performance, motivation, and employee perceptions of feeling valued.  

Related article: Improving your company’s retention 

Some jobs require more autonomy, while others offer less freedom. Hiring employees whose work styles align with the disposition of the role is one way to set your employees up for success.  

It’s important to find a balance between giving leeway and providing necessary support. Some individuals thrive on independence, while others desire more guidance. Have conversations with your employees about their preferences. Here are some ways you can encourage autonomy, regardless of individual preferences: 

  • Allow employees to adjust their schedules when necessary. 
  • Give employees an opportunity to participate in setting deadlines. 
  • Allow flexibility for employees to complete their work in the way that works best for them. 
  • Let employees design their own processes (individual workflows, prioritization setting, etc.). 
  • Invite employees to participate in individual and department goal setting. 

Using personality assessments is another great way to measure fit, which is important for your organization’s success as well as the employee’s success. Specialized companies like InVista offer services that can help you understand the critical values and personality traits important for success in a job.  

Take control over your work 

If you desire more flexibility and freedom in how you complete your work, consider the following tips: 

  • Assess your current role and identify additional skills you could learn that would benefit your department or organization. 
  • Keep your work organized via using systematized files and a calendar or planner. Keeping track of important documents and dates negates the need to rely on coworkers or managers to remind you of important information, enabling you to work more independently.   
  • Take extra initiative. Set personal work goals independent of those required, attempt to solve problems by yourself, or develop the first draft of a project without direct prompting from your manager. This will help you demonstrate you are invested in your work and able to take on more responsibility. 

Other factors that affect professional wellbeing include whether work is meaningful or challengingthe level of bureaucracy at the organization, and whether expectations are clear. But by examining individuals’ preferences for autonomy and adjusting roles or tasks accordingly, you will improve overall wellbeing in your organization.  

For a FREE, complete guide to what organizations and individuals can do to improve employee wellbeing,

Free comprehensive wellbeing guide

Learn about the different facets of wellbeing—and how you can help improve it!



By submitting this form, I acknowledge I may be contacted regarding promotional opportunities.