How do self-managed teams improve job satisfaction?

A disengaged or uninterested workforce creates up to 60% more errors than a happy one. So, if you’re looking to ensure high-quality output from your employees, have you considered how you can further improve their job satisfaction? One option is the implementation of self-managed teams. 

Employing innovative team structures is a great way to improve job satisfaction, but it also creates opportunities for teams to improve the customer service journey. For instance, a self-managed team has the autonomy to decide their own process for complaint handling or call escalation based on practical experience, which may lead to a superior customer experience.

Self-managed teams are run equally by all its members with guidance from an external leader who provides support where needed. Surveys report that 79% of companies in the Fortune 1,000 currently operate using a self-management structure, also referred to as “empowered,” “self-directed” or “autonomous” teams.  

In this article, we will discuss how a self-managed team can create a positive company culture and encourage collaborative working — improving job satisfaction as a result.

Building a company culture

88% of job seekers say that a healthy company culture is what attracts them to a certain job — they want to be satisfied in their role and be proud of where they work.

The synergetic structure of self-managed teams nurtures a sense of employee loyalty, and helps the four factors in a positive company culture: trust, transparency, collaboration and appreciation:

1. Trust

Employees within a self-managed team all share the same responsibilities, encouraging them to trust the output of their peers to ensure the overall success of the team. Successful self-managed teams also demonstrate to managers that employees can take on new roles and deliver great results without micro-management, increasing the trust between leaders and frontline employees.

2. Transparency 

As it lacks a direct manager, a self-managed team is forced to communicate openly and honestly so all its members have the information necessary to complete their shared projects. Open and honest communication are key if a business hopes to have an engaged and productive team.

3. Collaboration

Self-managed teams encourage collaboration because all members are equally responsible, and autonomy allows employees to think outside the box and improve their ways of working. In fact, enhancing team collaboration can help raise productivity and interaction by as much as 25%.

4. Appreciation

Self-managed teams make all members equally responsible for the completion of work, but that means all members are equally able to take credit for a well-completed project. Acknowledging success in this way also reduces unnecessary competition between individuals.

Eliminating friction between employees and managers

Studies revealed that 75% of employees ‘quit their boss’, not their job. Under a self-managed team, employees have full responsibility for delivering services and products through peer collaboration without a single appointed manager’s guidance. 

Although upper management or external leaders are still there to keep them on the right track, there’s very little danger or micro-management within a self-managed team. As employees no longer need to be wary of constant intervention or adjustment by managers, they’ll feel less pressure and more content in their job.

Managerial pressure is also reduced, as a self-managed team would spread a manager’s jobs between its members. For instance, lecture-style training from senior staff is replaced by peer-to-peer in-house coaching. Turning training into a 1-to-1 process offers opportunities for increased reflection and feedback for team members. 

Ensuring satisfaction within self-managed teams

Employees who self-manage have the freedom to make decisions that directly affect them. When developed correctly, self-managed teams can inspire innovation, enrich company culture, and help teams reach their customer service goals. However, companies need to put thought into creating a self-managed team to ensure these benefits.

The self-managed set-up is highly collaborative and relies on the effective communication of all team members. If groups are feeling exhausted, agitated or undervalued, their desire to collaborate diminishes and projects break down as a result.

Here are a few ways to keep employees engaged when moving into a self-managed team structure: 

1. Set clear expectations

 Only 26% of employees today feel like they can maintain a healthy work-life balance. Whilst self-management structures can lead to increased workloads for individuals, companies can avoid employee burnout by clearly explaining what’s expected of each team member. Thus, employees can prioritise their time and come to work feeling motivated.

2. Build relationships

Encourage communication within autonomous teams through events or regular meetings. Having positive interpersonal relationships at work boosts creativity and increases overall job satisfaction by up to 65%.

3. Reward success

Studies show using team incentives to boost morale can increase productivity by as much as 44%. If your goal with the introduction of self managed teams is a boost in productivity, it’s vital to make sure the teams are rewarded for successful projects.

Without implementing these keeping these factors in mind, it may be that moving to a self-managed structure does not have the desired effect on job satisfaction. By accepting these suggestions, however, you’ll likely see a vast improvement in employee engagement.

Improve job satisfaction with Sigma Connected

Successfully implementing a self-managed team can be challenging, so it makes sense to outsource to an expert who can make the transition easier.

If you decide self-managed teams are a good fit for your company, Sigma Connected can help you increase employee autonomy right away. Get in touch today, and learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals.


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