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Freedom in the Workplace

When creating guidelines in order to support and nurture employees’ path to success, “freedom within a framework” has been a phrase used by multiple business leaders.  So often, workforce freedom can result in a political tug of war that can only have one winner.  This can stifle innovation and creativity, as management ends up spending more of their time modifying / regulating work behavior.

If an organization can frame the freedom they give their employees, this might spark commitment and improve performance.  But what does this framework mean exactly?  A great deal of this has to do with an organization’s culture.  Providing autonomy is one thing, but giving freedom with responsibility is another concept altogether.  What this means is employees aren’t simply given the freedom, they are expected to exercise it, as part of their responsibility to the organization.  If an employee understands their company’s core values and goals, then they might be more likely to operate with the company’s best interests at heart.  This way they are given flexibility within a framework of trust.  A simple set of guiding principles can help employees make reasonable decisions without having to seek approval at each turn.

Freedom at its very core however, is inherently fragile and must be maintained.  Companies can put practices into place to help cement this structure into the workplace culture.  Ensuring employees are connected to the company’s strategies and challenges and seeking their input will motivate them to see projects through to completion.  Keeping the lines of communication open is paramount in reinforcing an employee’s motivation and desire to succeed within the company.  Continuous encouragement in both their ideas as well as looking at new ways to approach their work is always a good idea in sparking innovative thought and introducing fresh perspective in job functions.  Providing time and resources to develop and implement employee ideas will benefit the entire organization as a whole.

Companies are constantly evolving the way they conduct business and the concepts of employee freedom are highly dynamic; they must be continually re-defined and grow and evolve within the companies’ changing needs.  All of this highlights the importance of creating a strong, coherent “freedom framework”.

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