So many changes are occurring in the way we work that there is a growing sense of impatience with many of the old ways of doing things. With the vast libraries of knowledge at our fingertips in the digital age, people are not as apt to give the same kind of automatic reverence to experts and managers that have been a mainstay of the corporate world for generations. Since information is now “open source,” resourceful employees are more likely to see themselves as being on the same level as their managers, and heavy-handed micromanagement techniques may backfire. Here are some alternative approaches.
Enable employees to handle as much of their own onboarding process as possible.
Today’s workers are used to navigating complex digital systems. By allowing them to build their own employee profiles, for example, and directly access information about the company culture, goals, and expectations, you’ll let them discover what they need to know on their own terms, in the way that works best for them.
Provide a framework of resources employees can access independently.
Giving independent-minded employees direct access to the information they need to operate more autonomously can go a long way toward building trust.
Don’t rely on any assumptions or past experience.
If you approach independent employees in partnership, rather than insisting on an artificial subservience, you will find them to be happy participants. While there are probably many things that can only be learned through experience in your workplace, the perception that everything can be learned with a few keystrokes is not completely wrong.
Common sense and a willingness to adjust your approach can really help you work successfully with independent hires. Clear expectations and open communication will also help to make new partnerships successful.
Independent employees are often more motivated to succeed and to expand their knowledge and skills. This increases their value and their ability to contribute meaningfully to your company’s success. Encouraging independence is a real win-win. Your company will benefit, and once they’re set up, you can turn your focus to all of those other areas that may be needing your attention.