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Level 4 of Engagement: Embracing autonomy

Why empowering your team members matters

As a knowledge-based firm, your success is directly tied to the productivity and engagement of your team members. It’s no secret that engaged and satisfied team members are more productive and committed, as well as generate better results. One of the most critical factors in achieving this level of engagement is autonomy—level 4 of the hierarchy.

Team members crave input or influence on when to work, which assignments to accept, how many assignments to take on at once, setting deadlines, and making decisions. Here are a few practical scenarios in a firm context where autonomy can play a crucial role:

When to work: Many team members have personal commitments that they need to attend to beyond work hours. It would be ideal if they had control over when they work. Establishing hybrid or flexible work arrangements that allow team members to attend to their personal needs while completing their work on time can boost engagement. For instance, you could allow team members the freedom to select their work hours, as long as they meet their deadlines and are available during peak hours.

Which assignments to accept: Team members who have input or influence over which assignments they work on gain a sense of ownership of their work. This, in turn, creates a sense of purpose and autonomy in decisions. By regularly checking in with your team members and allowing them to express interest in particular matters or assignments, you demonstrate respect and help increase their sense of autonomy.

How many assignments to take on at once: Everyone has a different workload tolerance level. Granting team members influence over the number of assignments they take on at once can give them flexibility and increase their motivation. By communicating early and checking in regularly with team members to assess their workload, you can ensure their overall well-being while maintaining productivity.

Setting deadlines: Deadlines can create stress for team members, especially if they feel that the deadline may not be achievable. By establishing goal-setting checkpoints and empowering team members to discuss and set realistic deadlines for their tasks, better stress management can be achieved. This allows them to take ownership of their work and instill a sense of pride in delivering quality work for their clients.

Making decisions: Finally, involving team members in decisions that impact their work sends a message that their input is valued. Team members who believe they have a voice can make valuable contributions to decisions concerning their work, which, in turn, can lead to higher levels of effort and engagement.

In this autonomous environment, your firm will witness the incredible benefits firsthand. Effort levels will surge as team members feel a greater sense of ownership and connection to their work. Productivity will reach new heights as your workforce is driven by intrinsic motivation and a burning desire for excellence. Clients will experience unparalleled satisfaction as your team members deliver their best work, fueled by autonomy and a genuine commitment to client success.

Click the image to the right to download an infographic of the tips provided above. Feel free to share it with your teams.

See you next week when we discuss level five: Care.

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