How to Tell If Your Employees Need a Little Space

Top employees tend to like a high degree of autonomy. Whether it’s deciding how to perform a task, the best methods of meeting a goal, or deciding what to wear in the morning, the more freedom employees feel, the better. If they don’t feel they have enough room to make their own decisions, they can start feeling very confined and restricted – even frustrated with jobs they otherwise like.

Employees feeling frustrated can lead to performance and even retention issues. If you have employees who like to self-manage and aren’t being given an opportunity to do so, or employees who feel stifled at work, they can become disengaged and start to look for new opportunities.

Here are some ways to tell if your employees need a little space.

They ask to do things differently

Sometimes, employees will ask directly if they can handle tasks in a different way. Perhaps you’ve been compiling reports with a specific database or in a specific format. If the folks responsible have new suggestions, hear them out at a minimum.

Think their suggestions through, but if the new ideas seem like they would work, give the go-ahead on a trial basis. Be sure to get back to the person who suggested a new way whether you approve or not. If the trial works, congratulate them on the new idea.

It’s important not to micromanage. If the position and company allow it, give your employees as much latitude as possible in deciding how and when to accomplish tasks. When you have a team objective to fulfill, discuss the steps to achieve the goal with them. Let them determine the steps to accomplish the objectives as much as possible.

They ask for flex time

Do you get requests to come in an hour earlier and leave an hour later? Requests for flex time are often signs that your people either need or want schedules outside the 9-to-5 norm. Whether they want it for family responsibilities, to attend school, or achieve other goals, it’s a request for more elbow room.

Your answer will likely be determined in part by the company and department policies and needs. In some organizations, a certain number of people need to be around from 9 to 5, either to meet customer needs or to work together. But in other places, flex time is the norm. If you can grant a flex time request, and want to, be sure to do it in such a way that you have coverage of all needed work. Otherwise, employees not working on a flex schedule may come to resent it.

How a Staffing Firm Can Help Your Business

Want advice on employee engagement, morale, and retention? Staffing firms can provide valuable assistance on all these questions, plus advice on recruiting in the current business environment. We’re happy to help. Contact us today.