What Are The Risks of Employee Autonomy And How To Avoid Them

How can autonomy hurt a workforce?

Disengagement can cause serious issues for employees and employers.

Disengagement can cause serious issues for employees and employers.

Becoming great in your job role, going above and beyond expectations or completing tasks in the most efficient manner is often one of the greatest achievements that can be made in a work environment. With this though, caution must always be exerted, as too much autonomy in a role can lead to negative effects.

How can autonomy negatively impact a business environment?

There are a few different ways becoming too autonomous in a role can negatively impact tasks and goals. These include:

  • Commitment: If you’re reading this and had to go back and start again because you were completely focused, there many be a bigger issue at hand. When tasks become too rudimentary, focus can be lost, which can affect output, as well as overall quality.
  • Lack of engagement: Becoming too engrained in a work environment often impacts employee engagement. If work processes have become too stunted or even stale, an employee will disengage, causing them to complete work in a less focused fashion or exhibit a decrease in feelings of job satisfaction.
  • Threat to safety: If workers are lacking focus and a sense of “why” things are done the way they are, safety may be put at risk. With more autonomy can come complacency, rushing through every day tasks, and less focus, which is when the most injuries and accidents occur.

What steps can be taken to avoid this?

There are a few steps employers can take to ensure workers are happy and motivated in their expected roles. These include:

  • Encouraging breaks and time away from work
  • Assigning motivating tasks
  • Maintaining open communication

When employees feel as if their opinions can be heard, they are more likely to voice their concerns and issues can be addressed in the most timely manner possible.


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