Australian organizations are being challenged to introduce greater autonomy for their employees–with a disconnect between people’s current and ideal working environments–as they navigate the new world of work post-COVID-19 via The Access Group.
The Access Group’s Autonomy to the People research examines the current state of Australian organizations and their leaders’ operational styles. It shows local businesses are likely to operate within a ‘command-and-control’ model than one promoting autonomy.
Autonomy vs empowerment vs command and control
While respondents were likely to choose autonomy as their ideal working model, 79% don’t feel their businesses support this (35% cited empowerment and 44% command-and-control).
47% of companies limit their workers’ self-determination, prioritizing established policies.
There is also a significant disconnect at many businesses’ senior level, with 51% of the participating managers from command and control style organizations believing in oversight.
While only 16% believe their organization has the same approach, over two-thirds allow employees’ input into their goals, while the rest feel their organizations work this way.
Kerry Agiasotis, the President of The Access Group Asia Pacific region was optimistic.
“Survival and adaptation were the key focus for Australian businesses in navigating the accelerated digital transformation required so as to support work in the face of the pandemic.”
“As optimism and pathways out of lockdown life form, it’s time to look beyond recovery and double down on future-proofing, with a focus on our most valuable asset, our people.”
“Human resources have remained an essential vital jigsaw of any company.”
Kerry argues that it is genuinely vital for organizations to take stock and recognize new opportunities so as to address the growing disconnect between employee expectations and the current levels of autonomy that workers have to endure in their work.
“While business leaders may not see the immediate benefits of autonomy, in reality, it’s not just their employees who reap the rewards because they too gain from this model.”
Organizations using an autonomy model are more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
The autonomy model facilitates improvement in four key areas of Innovation & Product Development, Employee Experience, Organisational Agility, and Customer Experience.
Due to the pandemic, attitudes towards command and control, empowerment and autonomy have shifted as employee demands for independence are gaining significance.
Workers should choose their work environment
54% said that it is now more important for employees to choose when and where they work.
A similar number (51%) of respondents expressed the view that employees should influence the resources necessary in doing their job, which to an extent, is not a bad idea.
Kerry Agiasotis said that there is a need to know processes and technology plays a vital role in enabling teams and individuals to establish their workspace and work autonomously.
Over half of the respondents believe that technology is critical in supporting autonomy.
“Our mission is to help businesses meet their goals through focusing more on their principles as we offer them the freedom to work when, where and how they need to use our broad range of business management integrated solutions availed in the Access Workspace platform.”
“Employee engagement is a vital driver of business success and we are committed to helping companies to provide their workers with the right levels of autonomy desired in the job.”
“As the work environment continues to evolve, these findings strongly align with our views”
In order to retain, foster and recruit great talent fundamental to future success, businesses need to provide an environment supporting greater autonomy for how employees work.