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7 ways to encourage autonomy in your team

Do your employees have a lot of freedom while they’re working? If so, it’s likely that you have a highly autonomous team that is easier to manage, frees up your time, and even yields better results. If not, it could signal a poor organizational culture where you have little or no trust in your staff. Of course, the level of autonomy you should provide varies greatly depending on the role and context. Some roles, like sales, tend to have a higher level of autonomy, whereas lab testing or production line work has lower autonomy levels. 

In any case, this Pacific Prime Hong Kong article provides 7 ways to encourage autonomy in your team. 

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1. Communicate your vision and purpose in a clear and direct manner

You only need to direct your team if they have no clue what the vision and purpose of the project in question is. On the contrary, if they know exactly what they’re working towards, they can be far more autonomous in how they work. They’ll be able to make better, more empowered decisions – with fewer mistakes or input from you – and be on the same page with the rest of the team. This leads to fewer conflicts as well. So be very clear from the get-go on what your vision and purpose is. 

2. Tell your employees what needs to be done but not how it should be done

Sometimes, your team does need a bit of input from you. That said, leave it on them to execute it the way they find best. Provide them with all the necessary tools such as the right software, training, and budget to carry out their work. Otherwise, what’s the point of hiring capable and intelligent employees? Spoon feeding top talent can be highly demotivating and discouraging, and lead to them resigning from the company in favor of a job with better prospects for growth. Needless to say, this can cost you $$$ in lost productivity and hiring costs. 

3. Give them the space to be autonomous and support a growth mindset

If you’re always around, it’s very easy for your team to pop over and ask a quick question, which hinders their ability to work autonomously. Of course, you don’t have to change your phone number or go to another country, but you could always put a “do not disturb” sign on your office door. Leaving your team to their own devices gives them space to deal with problems in your absence, build self-confidence, and grow in the long-run. It goes without saying that a part of this is to accept that mistakes may occur and focus on the positives and learning opportunities. 

4. Hire the right person for the right job, and support their professional development

Have you heard of the saying “the right man can make a good job out of any job”? This implies that you should get your talent attraction game right from the start and hire someone capable and autonomous. Not only will they do a good job, but they’ll also role-model that behavior to other staff. Beyond talent attraction, talent retention is equally important, and that’s where professional development comes in. Allow employees to take control over their career paths and support them by helping them fill their skill gaps to do their jobs more successfully. 

5. Think about autonomy in broader ways and, above all, trust your employees

Finally, you should be aware that autonomy isn’t restricted to the tasks your employees complete daily. It’s about the bigger picture and, above all, whether or not you trust your employees. Ask yourself whether or not you trust that they’ll complete their tasks without micromanaging on your part and whether or not you empower them to take charge of their own work. Some ways you can show that you trust your employees include: 

  • Providing flexibility in their working hours and location (i.e. remote and/or hybrid working arrangements)
  • Offering a range of employee benefits that help employees feel more in control 
  • Increasing holiday allowance or even implementing an unlimited holiday policy
  • And more. 

Get in touch with Pacific Prime Hong Kong for all things employee benefits today!

Speaking of employee benefits, would you like unbiased and expert advice? Whether you’re looking to enhance your talent attraction and retention game or encourage autonomy in your team, Pacific Prime Hong Kong can help you design, implement, administer, and optimize your employee benefits offerings according to your organizational needs and goals. With over two decades of industry experience, we use a tailored, technology approach that puts your organization first. 

To learn more about what we can do for you, feel free to reach out to our corporate team today!

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral