Job autonomy directly correlates with employee happiness
- Employees with control over their work are more likely to experience feelings of well-being and job satisfaction, reports Science Daily, citing a new study. Researchers at the University of Birmingham, Business School, reviewed the connection between well-being and job autonomy as reported by 20,000 employees over a two-year period.
- Most managers in the study (90%) reported having the highest level of autonomy. Professionals said they had much less control over their work, especially in job pace and number of hours worked. Other workers (40% to 50%) reported even less control over their work, and half of lower-skilled employees said they had no autonomy.
- Researchers concluded that allowing employees more autonomy increases well-being and job satisfaction, but that managers are maintaining most of the control over their work.
It’s not surprising that employees with more autonomy experience greater feelings of well-being and job satisfaction. Employees who have control over how they do their work and the pace they set are likely to feel more confident in their jobs and like they are making a difference for the company. In turn, they are more satisfied overall.
Managers who keep tight control over employees’ work risk losing their most talented employees. While some employees need more supervision than others, those who don’t can take some of the burden of managing workflow off supervisors and managers. For example, employers who allow workers to telecommute realize that self-starters requiring minimal supervision are the best telecommuting candidates.
Middle managers play a key role in the happiness and engagement of their direct reports. The saying "People don't quit their jobs, they quit their bosses," certainly applies in this case. Employers must give managers the tools they need to succeed and include them in the vision of the company to ensure they are on the same page, culture-wise.