Jun 27, 2024 | 3
Minute Read

3 Ways to Enable Career Autonomy


As TTI’s Global Partner Strategy Manager, I’m fortunate to connect with partners and clients across the globe. As I observe global labor trends, I’ve found that even as trends and experiences differ across the world, there are some trends we can observe that unify the needs of employers and workers.

One thing I've consistently noticed is that managers are always seeking the right mix of benefits and development to engage employees and transform their workforce.

The latest answer they’re looking for is career autonomy.


What is Career Autonomy?

Career autonomy means giving workers the ability to be “the primary decision-maker of where and when they do their work,” according to the Harvard Business Review. The term comes up in conversations about workplace flexibility; now more than ever, workers are seeking control over their time and energy.

Career autonomy goes beyond occasionally allowing remote work or flex time. It’s a mindset shift that prioritizes employees’ needs and desires at the forefront of workplace culture. 


3 Ways to Enable Career Autonomy

Here are three ways to promote career autonomy in the workplace.

1. Build Foundational Talent Awareness

Understanding people means seeing and appreciating the uniqueness of individuals. TTI’s founder, Bill J. Bonnstetter, once said: “Everyone is a diamond in the rough. You just need to discover their unique talent and strength.” Paying attention to employees' unique talent and passion goes a long way in building a successful team.

Here are questions to reflect on:

  • What aspect of the job brings the deepest joy and biggest fulfillment to the employee?
  •  Is it connecting with people, finding new ways to do things, maximizing the ROI, and optimizing the process?

These answers can be found via TTI’s Talent Insights assessment. This personalized report provides insights on an individual’s behavior and motivation.When you help employees connect their jobs with their passions, it can become their calling.

2. Revisit and Pivot the Job Description Regularly.

If employees' responsibilities become too overwhelming, they start to burn out. If the job is no longer challenging, they can become disengaged. Identifying the sweet spot between these two states is key for managers.

When career development options or autonomy are not visible within the current employer, employees will stagnate and eventually seek external opportunities. In small organizations and for many organizations in today's rough economy, there are not many available “promotion” opportunities.

People are often surprised that I’ve worked for TTI for over a decade, which is rare among most Gen X workers and Millennials who tend to job-hop. I stayed with TTI for so long, making my lifelong career with this company, because I had opportunities to create my own job description.

Leaders at TTI are open to helping the employees reskill and reinvent their roles, empowering their career paths. Our regular review of job descriptions cultivates personal and professional growth.

Once you identify what brings the most fulfillment for an employee or a team, take it seriously to align value with the job environment.

3. Set Clear Goals and Check In Regularly

One thing I enjoy about working with my current supervisor is that she always tells me, “I’m not managing kids. I work with adults.” She doesn’t monitor how many hours I work or how long I stay in front of my laptop. She understands that sometimes I facilitate a three-hour training session at night or hop on a call with a client in Asia after hours, so I adjust my start and stop times.

Forbes shared that almost half of the workers surveyed said, “having a flexible schedule is more important than their salary.” 

I know I’m lucky to work with a leader who trusts her team, but this kind of trust is not given; it’s earned. For leaders, that trust starts with clear communication about their team and organizational goals, expectations of project priority, and results. For employees, the trust to earn ‘career autonomy” starts by demonstrating your value, ideas, and progress on projects on a regular basis.


Enabling Career Autonomy For Better Workplaces Everywhere

Fostering career autonomy is not just a trendy buzzword; it's a strategic necessity in today's evolving workplace. I've seen firsthand the universal need for managers to engage employees through meaningful benefits and development opportunities.

As we continue to navigate global labor trends, it’s evident that giving employees the power to decide where, when, and how they work is crucial. By doing so, we can create a more engaged, resilient, and innovative workforce ready to meet the demands of the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about career autonomy, join TTI in Tokyo on August 2nd for an in-person workshop, Empowering The Career Journey: Insights & Strategies for the Modern Workforce.



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Kefei Wang