A culture of autonomy can provide your business with many advantages. Gone are the days of micromanaging or babysitting in the workplace (unless you work in a crèche). Employees need to feel respected and trusted while wanting to be left alone to do their work to the best of their ability. This will then allow you to carry on with your workload rather than having to continuously handhold or problem solve. But, how you can get to a point where you don’t have to babysit your employees or monitor their every move and foster a culture of autonomy?

Be available for guidance.

If your employees know that you’re there for advice, support and to act as a sounding board for their decision making, then they are more likely to feel more confident in working without continuous guidance. Without this support, your team may feel like they don’t have a lifeline if something goes wrong, and they will be hesitant in making decisions outside of their comfort zone. Autonomy doesn’t mean that your team is working alone or without support or guidance – they always need some kind of safety net to help them out if they are feeling unsure or a little bit lost. A regular check-in is necessary to ensure that they are on target and happy with the direction they are heading.

Create goals.

While you may think that goals add unnecessary pressure to your team’s workload, without them, your employees have nothing to aim for, and nothing to give them a real sense of job satisfaction. Goals are a necessary part of any job, and while everyone needs a challenge, the goals need to be realistic and attainable to keep your team motivated. The goals will also need to tie back into the corporate goals to make them worth their while. Meet with your team regularly and advise them as to whether they are on track. Feedback is always good; so aim to give it in both informal and formal circumstances.

Let them do it their way.

Everyone works differently, and while you want them to get from A to Z efficiently, you don’t want to have to fill in the gaps and give them detailed instructions each step of the way. You never know – left unsupervised they might be able to come up with a way that is more effective than your current methods. Give them direction, but let them find their own way to the path within the set boundaries of your organization. You have to have enough faith in your team members so that they can do it without constant assistance, and ultimately trust that they will come to you for advice if they need it.

Give them the tools to shine.

By offering the proper tools and suitable training for them to do their job, there shouldn’t be much standing in their way. While some people may struggle with operating efficiently in an autonomous environment, the majority of individuals will be only too happy to let you invest in their future. It is certainly a win-win for them and you, and by doing so, you will be rewarded with their hard work and dedication. Always be on the lookout for training opportunities to build on their skills and give them the chance to learn.

Be smart when it comes to your hiring policies.

If you want to operate your company in a specific way, then hire the right team for the task. You want a varied group of people who offer a particular diversity and strength to your organization, without the need to be guided each step of the way. By hiring the right people for the job, you are creating an environment that will enable your team to thrive and work to the best of their ability. When the entire team understands your company’s method of operation, upper-level oversight can be minimized.

Give increased flexibility where possible.

The office landscape is changing, and for many companies, the flexibility is there to allow staff to work from home or to enjoy pre-arranged flex time. Priority is now given to improved performance over time spent doing the work, and this flexibility can benefit your staff and increase their motivation. Once your employees have proven themselves, you can offer the increased flexibility or work from home opportunities as a reward, and maintain communication through online systems such as Stride. While you may struggle to let go and give your team more responsibility to do their job initially, they will ultimately become empowered and perform well above par.