If you think money will make your employees happier, you might be wrong. Many workers report they value autonomy over anything else. Of course, you also need to ensure your employees basic needs are met at work. But from there, the data suggests that if you instill trust and freedom in your workforce, they will thrive.
Irv Shapiro, CEO of DialogTech, is a strong believer in employee autonomy, and it's something he practices at his own company. "Unless your business sells services by the hour, it makes little sense to measure your employees by the hour. Instead employers should measure their employee's success by the results they produce."
He points to the fact that studies, like this one from Gensler, have shown autonomous employees are typically the best employees. And it's worked out so far for Dialogtech, where autonomy is part of the company culture. "Here, we see our employees performing better and they are more efficient. They are committed to building products that our customers want and helping us succeed as a company," Shapiro says.
Measure results, not time
If you don't measure time, then what do you measure? According to Shapiro, you measure results. "When you are measuring your employees on time you are incentivizing the wrong things. Bolting an employee to their desk is unlikely to improve your business outcomes."
If your business allows for micromanaging employee's time, it is more likely to reap negative results. Shapiro says that if you encourage autonomy in your workforce, you imply that you trust your employees, which will encourage them to produce results. "When you micromanage employees, often times they become so dependent on step-by-step instructions that they are paralyzed when you are not around with the next instruction," he says. The last thing you want to do is stifle innovation by being too focused on the whereabouts of your employees, rather than focusing on what they bring to the table.
Employee's expectations have drastically changed over the last 20 years. The modern workforce has grown to expect some flexibility in their daily schedules. Mobility has allowed workers to work from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection, and it's quickly becoming the norm. And, it turns out, that giving employees freedom to work from home or have flexible, non-traditional schedules can help boost morale.
"Today's employees are always connected," says Shapiro. "They almost always have access to their business emails and messaging apps on their personal devices and when they receive a high priority work email outside of the normal 9-5, chances are that they will respond."
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