How Workplace Autonomy Increases Job Satisfaction

October 25, 2016 Deb Broderson

Did you know that autonomy is the number one predictor of job happiness? New psychological research shows that not only does autonomy predict happiness, but it’s also important for reducing “negative psychological symptoms” associated with employee retention issues.*

So, as a human resource manager, what can you do to facilitate workplace autonomy? Here are a few ways you can increase job satisfaction when you let go of the reins.

1. Start small by encouraging employees to decorate their spaces. Bringing personal effects to work is a terrific and easy way to make them feel in charge of their environment. According to Herman Miller, “Having some control over the workspace [improves] comfort, and [reduces] stress.”

2. Talk to managers about including their directs in the process of setting goals. This fosters intrinsic motivation – motivation that comes from within rather than from an external reward.

Image result for autonomy job3. Promote the concept of freedom within a framework. Managers can set up the framework of a project, but allow directs to decide how they will execute the project.

4. Create a clear path to professional development through continued education, skill-based training, new job assignments, mentorships and regular assessments.  

5. Use your employee recognition program to reward employees who contribute to organizational improvements, talent acquisition, and innovation.   

What’s most important is that all employees feel that they have a voice and a choice. Effecting this change has the potential to increase your organization’s efficiency, and it’s an excellent way to boost engagement.


American Psychological Association, Money Can’t Buy Happiness


Check out our eBook "Moving Mountains: Motivating Employees To Go The Extra Mile."

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About the Author

Deb Broderson

Deb Broderson comes to Perks with 30 years of diverse experience leading channel marketing, marketing operations and program management teams within the technology industry. Deb has provided strategic direction to Fortune 500 clients, developed and executed global, multi-channel, go-to-market strategies and created worldwide field marketing organizations. Deb has worked on both the agency and client-side of the business, providing a well-rounded perspective to client challenges. Deb was honored as one of the Top 50 Channel Chiefs in North America by CRN.

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