As Aussie businesses grapple with staff burnout and increasing talent mobility, research from The Access Group reveals the key to boosting staff engagement is a workplace that is truly autonomous, prioritises staff wellbeing and meaningful contributions to the community.
The Powering Profits and Prosperity report examines Aussie firms, and the impact of autonomous environments – where business values and purpose are built on from the ground up – compared to ‘command-and-control’ models based on business outcomes.
What were the findings of the survey?
The study shows that companies employing an autonomous working style deliver on average 13% better across critical outcomes including customer loyalty, financial performance, retaining talent, strong reputation among the community, and a thriving partner network.
Autonomous workers are also more likely to be engaged (45% vs 31%), willing to go above and beyond at work (45% vs 30%) and stay at their organisation longer (54% vs 38%).
What people want
As well as seeking autonomy, Aussies are increasingly looking for workplaces that emphasise staff psychological wellbeing and societal responsibility. While unsurprisingly over two-thirds (69%) rated a good salary and job security as highly important, a similar proportion (65%) felt it was vital to have rewarding, meaningful work that offers opportunity for growth.
Additionally, the research also found that a majority of workers want to see organisations prioritise staff wellbeing (56%) and a positive impact on the wider community (53%).
An emerging integrity gap
There is an integrity gap, with only 25% of employees claiming to work in autonomous environments, while business decision makers (BDMs) claim they work autonomously in 42% of cases. Employees felt that their firms underperformed across all of their major priorities when compared to BDMs, including salary and job security (18% performance gap), meaningful work (18% gap), and a fair and transparent employment process (15% gap).
The study found that priorities also differ between business decision makers and general employees, with a positive workplace culture considered more vital to general employees (64% vs 56%), as well as the ability to choose how and where they work (72% vs 56%).
Autonomy drives satisfaction
Across the board, autonomous workers are more satisfied that their firms are performing in line with their values than those in command-and-control environments. The below factors are important considerations for respondents to achieve higher levels of engagement:
- Rewarding and meaningful work (55% autonomous vs 40% command and control)
- A fair and transparent employment process (55% vs 40%)
- A good salary and job security (52% vs 50%),
- Raising living standards across the community (49% vs 32%) and
- Diversity in the workplace (52% vs 45%)
What were the executives’ thoughts on the findings?
John Maley, APAC Head of HR at The Access Group, said: “As the cost of living soars and a recession looms, firms cannot afford to take the hit of staff burnout – which cost Australian businesses almost $11 billion last year. Never has it been more important to reassess what contributes to a thriving, long-lasting business, and listen to what drives the people behind it.”
Maley said: “While climate and environmental concerns are increasingly driving conversations and the news agenda, interestingly on average just 49% considered environmental responsibility as highly important in a workplace. Diversity is also a key driver, with 61% of people valuing transparent employment processes that provide equal opportunities.”
Kerry Agiasotis, President, The Access Group APAC, said: “As a new generation of workers emerge, autonomy, societal responsibility and personal well-being are becoming priorities. Our study shows firms that deliver here will benefit from a more connected and engaged workforce and this is what drives not only profits, but true prosperity in the long run.”
“An essential part of achieving the autonomy Australians want is of course through effective processes and technology, which enable teams and gives individuals the freedom to do more. This is how we unlock true passion and discretionary effort, and ensures that our people are engaged and working with a sense of purpose that is required to deliver the long-term prosperity every organisation strives to achieve,” Kerry Agiasotis further commented.
The Access Group’s mission is to give people and businesses the freedom to do more, through integrated, scalable and automated software solutions, on Access Workspace. Download the Powering Profits and Prosperity, and The Access Group’s 2021 report here.