CFOs Predict What Happens When You Empower Employees

Research Points to Productivity Benefits of Giving Up Control

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 19, 2015 -- A little employee empowerment can go a long way if you're the boss, new research suggests. Roughly one in three (32 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) in a Robert Half Management Resources survey admitted they would be more productive if they gave their employees greater autonomy at work. Only 13 percent of executives feared their performance would decline if they gave workers more control.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs at companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.

CFOs were asked, "If you gave your staff greater autonomy over how and when they do their jobs (such as flexible work hours, working remotely or less direct supervision), what effect, if any, do you feel it would have on your own productivity?" Their responses*:

Increase in productivity


No change


Decrease in productivity


Don't know




*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

"Giving employees greater autonomy has the added benefit of making managers more productive," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. "When staff have the freedom to decide how their work gets accomplished, they develop management skills much earlier in their careers. Leaders gain the gift of time, which they can devote to strategic planning and other critical initiatives."

McDonald acknowledged that giving up control can be difficult. "Letting go as a manager isn't easy," he said. "However, executives can start small with something as simple as offering telecommuting options or giving additional responsibilities to the most capable team members."

About Robert Half Management Resources
Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to hiring managers and consultants at and on its blog at



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