It’s not easy getting everyone on the same page at work, but when you do, that’s when the real magic happens. 

The Robert Half experts look at how a flatter organisational structure with more employee involvement in decision-making could boost job satisfaction, retention and engagement at work. 

What is a flat organisational structure?

When you remove or reduce the number of hierarchical levels within an organisation, you flatten out its structure, making all roles more equal. The most typical way of achieving this is to remove middle management and allow teams to manage themselves. Through a flat organisational structure, businesses can easily increase employee decision-making and accountability. Although it isn’t the traditional way of running a business, plenty of big names have found success in removing the hierarchical structure, most notably GitHub and Nike.

Why employee involvement matters

• Motivation for the many
A recent Robert Half report showed that employees were happiest when they felt their work was interesting and meaningful. When employees have a greater sense of purpose, employee motivation inevitably goes up.

Allowing employees to have a hand in decision-making also removes any feelings of unfairness which might be souring the general approach to work. When they’re allowed to steer decisions, employees feel trusted and valued.

• Positive company culture
Is there anything more unifying than working towards a shared goal? When all members of the team share the same values and work towards the same purpose, organisations can expect a healthier, more positive and supportive culture in the office

• Fresh business ideas
Although it can be argued that senior business leaders have the knowledge and experience to make sound decisions, there’s also a danger of stagnation. Involving employees in the decision-making process can infuse business strategy with innovative new ideas that could provide a competitive edge.  

How to start including employees in decision-making

1. Employee surveys
The fastest way to give employees a voice is to ask them what they think. Instigate employee involvement by inviting them to weigh in on issues by regularly sending out employee surveys which can be completed and submitted online. Be sure to act on feedback and convey why the results are important, or employees will quickly lose faith in the process and avoid participating. 

2. Allow them to set their own performance targets and goals
Instead of telling employees how you feel they should develop, try to balance business and team objectives with the development path that employees want for themselves. Employee decision making  allows them the freedom to choose their goals and targets, there’s more incentive to meet them and a greater sense of pride and ownership.

3. Strategy days
Why not give your team the chance to brainstorm ways of reaching pre-determined objectives? Try breaking employees up into smaller groups and asking them to brainstorm initiatives to help the business reach its goals and increase employee motivation. By allowing them to think creatively and find their own routes to success, they are likely to feel happier and more invested in carrying out the work and achieving the results. 

4. Implement flexible working
There’s a reason that flexible working has become one of the most highly requested employee benefits. When an employee is free to choose their own working hours, they can achieve a healthier work-life balance and maximise output by working during the hours they’re most productive. It shows trust and instils responsibility within the organisational structure of the team

Want to know more about increasing employee involvement?

Our Work Happy report gives clear advice on driving employee engagement and happiness at work by looking into what it truly means to work happy.

For more information on encouraging employee decision making or on workplace happiness, get in touch with the Robert Half team today.