As companies enter into an increasingly competitive market, they seek newer and improved methods to beat out the competition that they might face. One of the newer ideologies that have seen an increase in recognition is the improvement in quality of employee work that eventually leads to a higher quality product or service. Ensuring that employees have job satisfaction ensures that they voluntarily put in more effort than before and are less willing to be poached by competing firms.
With the goal of raising employee job satisfaction, Job Design was organised as a planned method of ensuring lowered job dissatisfactions. Often confused with Job Specification due to its synonymous name, Job Design deals with the re-arrangement of work practices that leads to lowered employee morale by eliminating or reducing repetitive and mechanistic tasks. Job Design also offers non-monetary rewards by increasing employee responsibility and awareness of a job well done based on the successful achievements of work challenges (Job Design, 2015).
Job Design is part of a broad definition of steps that are taken and consists of Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment as part of its plan. While Job design focuses on removing menial tasks, Job enlargement seeks to diversely add to the number of tasks an employee performs so that there are lower chances of monotonous repetition of tasks. By adding more related tasks, a well-trained workforce becomes more versatile (Job Enlargement, 2015).
Job Enrichment takes the idea of adding meaningful tasks in an employees schedule to another level. While Job Enlargement focussed on tasks that were of similar skill level, Job Enrichment aims to add variety by allowing employees control and a level of autonomy over their tasks and how they accomplish them (Job Enrichment, 2015).
How does empowerment relate to Job Enlargement and Enrichment?
Job Enrichment and Enlargement are all about giving the employees more meaningful work to do so as to break the monotony of a repetitive task cycles. The important fact being the creation of meaningful work, which can be highly subjective and dependent on the employee themselves. In job enlargement, employees deal with horizontal tasks, which in some cases are often tied to each other or are part of a larger process thereby allowing a greater sense of accomplishment and empowering the employee whilst giving them the feeling of having successfully achieved greater success compared to previous task cycles. Job enrichment allows vertical task management which directly allows more autonomy and control over the tasks. Both allow employees to make their own decisions regarding the tasks, prioritising at their own discretion and receiving adequate support for those decisions (ASQ, 2015).
The empowerment of employees does require additional trainings in the extra tasks as well as increased access to information that is vital to the extra tasks to be performed thereby solidifying the employee’s belief in their importance within a company.
Experiences with Job Enlargement and Enrichment
At one of my work experiences at a manufacturing facility, it was quite customary to hire one of the students from the local community college nearby to fill one of the lower end technical jobs that would require too much training for an unskilled worker. During my tenure there, the management decided to change things up a bit and hire students from a large college for some of the same positions which is where I come in. Given the standard task list I quickly realised that through simple automations and diligence, I could save time and complete work in less than half the time that was allotted. The management saw this and while decidedly impressed, were apprehensive about allotting more tasks. The lack of new, meaningful work meant I didn’t need to work as diligently, so I slowed down, which was promptly noticed by management again. This time they decided to allow for Job enlargement and integrated basic tasks from similar skill levels into my regime thereby garnering my interest.
A few months in, seeing my devotion and insistence for more, they provided Job enrichment and began including me in important projects with high value production results which made me feel supremely content with my performance which led to a very impressed management. They were so impressed in that they re-wrote the position roles and made it a new rule to hire only from my university.
When to recommend Job Enlargement and Enrichment?
We know the benefits of Job Enlargement and Enrichment and the effect it has on employee morale, but we must realise that these programs aren’t for each and every employee. As an HR professional, we must recognise the drive in an employee, the willingness to handle the extra work and responsibility. If the employee isn’t willing, then there really isn’t any point in forcing diverse work roles. Another factor is training, as diverse roles need adequate training to ensure constant quality.
Once a suitable candidate that fulfills all requirements is found, I would begin with Job enlargement first, evaluating the employee’s reaction and attitude towards the greater variety and pressure. Once positive responses are seen, I could contemplate Job enrichment, as only serious employees with dedication to the work are to be trusted with some level of autonomy.
ASQ. Employee Empowerment & Culture. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/employee-involvement/overview/overview.html
Job Design. BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved July 05, 2015, from BusinessDictionary.com website: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/job-design.html
Job Enlargement. BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved July 05, 2015, from BusinessDictionary.com website: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/job-enlargement.html
Job Enrichment. BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved July 05, 2015, from BusinessDictionary.com website: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/job-enrichment.html