Everything you need to learn about the techniques of job design.
Job design is the process of deciding on the contents of a job in terms of its duties and responsibilities, on the methods to be used in carrying out the job, in terms of techniques, systems, and procedures and on the relationships that should exist between the job holder and his superior subordinates and colleagues
Job designing was practiced by simplifying the tasks to be performed to make the jobs highly specialized. Albeit, job specialization offers many advantages but it could also lead to boredom, disinterest, and even degradation of the job.
The job designing techniques can be divided into two categories based on an individual employee or a group of employees.
The techniques considering the individual employee involve work simplification, job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment. The techniques considering the group of employees include work teams and autonomous work groups.
Some of the techniques of job design are:- 1. Job Rotation 2. Job Enlargement 3. Job Enrichment 4. Job Simplification and 5. Work Design.
Techniques of Job Design: Job Rotation, Job Enlargement, Job Enrichment, Job Simplification and Work Design
Techniques of Job Design – 4 Basic Techniques: Job Rotation, Job Enlargement, Job Enrichment and Job Simplification
Job design follows job analysis i.e., it is the next step after job analysis it aims at outlining and organising tasks, duties and responsibilities into a single unit of work for the achievement of certain objectives. It also outlines the methods and relationships that are essential for the success of a certain job. In simpler terms it refers to the what, how much, how many and the order of the tasks for a job/s.
Job design essentially involves integrating job responsibilities or content and certain qualifications that are required to perform the same. It outlines the job responsibilities very clearly and also helps in attracting the right candidates to the right job. Further it also makes the job look interesting and specialised.
Davis, opines “Job design is the specification of the content, methods and relationships of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organisational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder.”
Michael Armstrong, opines “Job design is the process of deciding on the contents of a job in terms of its duties and responsibilities, on the methods to be used in carrying out the job, in terms of techniques, systems, and procedures and on the relationships that should exist between the job holder and his superior subordinates and colleagues.”
Traditionally, job designing was practiced by simplifying the tasks to be performed to make the jobs highly specialized. Albeit, job specialization offers many advantages but it could also lead to boredom, disinterest, and even degradation of the job.
The job designing techniques can be divided into two categories based on an individual employee or a group of employees. The techniques considering the individual employee involve work simplification, job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment. The techniques considering the group of employees include work teams and autonomous work groups.
Practically, there are four basic techniques that are commonly used by the organizations for designing and redesigning all types of jobs:
1. Job rotation
2. Job enlargement
3. Job enrichment
4. Job simplification.
Technique # 1. Job Rotation:
Job rotation implies the shifting of an employee from one job to another within a working group. It aims at adding variety and reducing boredom by introducing a variety of tasks in the existing work profile of employees. Job rotation is also known as the horizontal transfer of an employee to a job of same level and status.
Job rotation is an approach to development program by management where an individual is moved through a schedule of assignments. It is also designed to allow qualified and talented employees to gain more insights into the various processes of a company. The job variation so produced by the job rotation results into reduced boredom and increased job satisfaction. According to Herzberg, job rotation is an approach that merely substitutes “one zero for another zero”.
The advantages of job rotation are as follows:
i. Decreases monotony and boredom
ii. Reduces disinterest of employees and stimulates the development of new ideas
iii. Broadens the work experience of job holders
iv. Transforms the specialists into generalists
v. Prepares employees for assuming greater responsibilities.
Job rotation also has certain disadvantages, which are as follows:
i. Increases the training and development cost
ii. Decreases productivity as employees are moved to the other positions before the realization of their full potentials
iii. De-motivates and degrades aggressive and talented trainees who demand specific responsibilities in their areas of interest
iv. Disrupts the work as rotated employees take time to adopt the new set-up and environment.
Job enlargement refers to the process of increasing the scope of a particular job by adding more tasks and duties to it. It means assigning varied tasks or duties to the employees at the same level. In other words, job enlargement intends to add similar tasks or activities to the existing work profile of employees to make their jobs more interesting.
The additional tasks or duties do not require new skills but can be executed by using similar skills and efforts as before. For instance, the job of a clerk of an organization can be enlarged by adding the similar duties to its existing work profile. The original work profile of the clerk includes typing letters.
Job enlargement has received criticism as well as appreciation.
The key benefits provided by job enlargement are as follows:
i. Increases the number of tasks to include variety and reduce the monotony and boredom in the existing job
ii. Increases employees’ job satisfaction by providing them an opportunity to develop and learn new skills
iii. Utilizes mental and physical skills and abilities of employees optimally and makes them satisfied
iv. Enables the employees to vary the rhythm and sequence of work at their own pace to make the job enjoyable for them.
There are certain shortcomings of the job enlargement approach, which are as follows:
i. Increases the training cost
ii. Leads to decrease in productivity as employees take time to gel with the new system
iii. Gives rise to conflict with trade unions as they demand increase in pay with increase in workload
iv. Finds it difficult to remove the monotony and boredom from many jobs as one set of boring tasks is added to the existing set of boring tasks.
Job enrichment consists of designing a job in such a way that the employees get greater autonomy in planning, decision-making, and controlling. The greatest motivation for the employees is the opportunity for achievement, recognition, responsibility, and growth. The concept of job enrichment is coined by Herzberg. He gave greater emphasis on job enrichment in his two-factor theory of motivation.
Job enrichment implies increasing the duties in a job to make it more rewarding to the employees. A job is said to be enriched when it has the elements of excitement, challenge, and creativity. It strives at redesigning the jobs so that employees get intrinsic motivation by performing the given jobs. Herzberg has proposed eight features that an enriched job must possess.
The features of an enriched job are described as follows:
i. Personal Accountability – Makes job incumbents responsible for their output and performance. The job incumbents are rewarded according to their work.
ii. Increased and Direct Feedback – Ensure timely and fair evaluation of performance of employees.
iii. New and Unique Learning – Helps the job incumbent to grow intellectually and acquire unique qualities or features.
iv. Power to plan own work – Involves freedom to schedule own work and decide when to undertake which task.
v. Control over resources – Provides job incumbent the authority of ordering and managing supplies and other resources necessary for performing their jobs.
vi. Encouraged participation – Ensures that the job incumbent feels committed and get a sense of belongingness through his/her enriched job.
vii. Client Relationship – Refers to direct or indirect interaction with clients. An enriched job may provide an opportunity to the employees to develop strong client base by maintaining good relationship with them.
viii. Authority of direct communication – Allows the job incumbent to converse directly with the persons who require his/her output.
The advantages of job enrichment are as follows:
i. Makes the work interesting for employees
ii. Provides greater sense of responsibility, self-control, and self-esteem by allowing more autonomy in the tasks
iii. Motivates the employees by providing them the opportunities to develop and progress
iv. Facilitates the higher job satisfaction to employees
v. Develops the new skills of the employees
vi. Makes the task reinforcement easy
vii. Reduces the absenteeism rate and attrition rate.
There are certain limitations associated with the job enrichment, which are as follows:
i. Involves greater cost of implementation.
ii. Lacks long-term commitment of resources.
iii. Puts the employees in confusion and dilemma as they are not able to maintain balance between their regular assignments and new responsibilities.
iv. Makes the work profile of employees unclear. Employees face the problems due to lack of information required to perform the enriched job, clear plans and goals, and guidance in aligning work as per the schedule.
v. Requires support of existing level of technology to facilitate the enrichment of jobs.
Job simplification involves breaking down of a job into small components, usually consisting of relatively simple tasks. These divided job components are subsequently assigned to employees as individual jobs. This approach is adopted to enable the employees to perform these jobs without much specialized training. It also aims at increasing the job speed by allowing the execution of many small jobs simultaneously and quickly. This approach is usually implemented by using time and motion studies.
There are certain advantages of job simplification, which are as follows:
i. Involves little training; therefore, training cost is insignificant
ii. Enables the employees to learn tasks rapidly and gain mastery in smaller or less complicated job units
iii. Increases the job speed by dividing a large single job into number of small components
iv. Involves shorter work cycle that can be performed by low skilled and low-paid employees easily.
Job simplification is not free from limitations either.
Its limitations are as follows:
i. Results in boredom and frustration
ii. Provides low job satisfaction to the employees
iii. Leads to de-motivation and alienation of employees
iv. Results into lower productivity and increased cost.
After studying the techniques of job design, we can say that job design plays an important role in laying foundation for framing wage structure for jobs. The job design mainly frames the structure of various jobs and specifies the content, methods, and techniques of executing jobs to systemize the organizational activities.
Techniques of Job Design – 3 Main Techniques: Job Rotation, Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment
In the recent past, organisations have departed from the traditional work and policies in order to motivate the employees to perform more efficiently and effectively. HR initiatives have also helped in optimising the human resources of an organization and enriching the quality of work life for the employees.
Some of the techniques in job design are discussed below:
It is one of the most important techniques of job design. An employee who has been doing the same job repeatedly over the years, would get bored, and this would affect his performance. Job rotation enhances employee motivation by periodically assigning the employee to alternative jobs. This would have benefits for both the organisation and the employee.
The employee would be relieved from a monotonous cycle and the organisation would benefit from his motivated performance. During job rotation, the employee will also gain a wider knowledge of the organisation and its work processes. Job rotation also helps managers to deal with frequent absenteeism and high turnover of workforce.
Knowledgeable employees can fill in for absent workers, and work routines will not be affected. It is also an effective technique of training new and inexperienced employees. Job rotation also helps in developing management generalists at higher organisational levels as it exposes them to several different operations.
Job enlargement involves increasing the length and hence, the operating time of each cycle of work for the job holder. Basically, different and continuous small cycles would be integrated into one single cycle of operation. This would reduce the number of repetitions of the operating cycle and increase the scope of work for the employee.
This would also give a sense of satisfaction to the employee as his end product would be more significant when compared to the end product in the earlier, shorter cycle. This again would help the employee understand the various processes in the organisational working. The organisation benefits from the enhanced performance of the employee.
Though job enlargement is still considered a valid means for solving specialisation problems, most modern organisations are augmenting it with a more sophisticated technique known as job enrichment. However, job enrichment involves an increase in both the scope and depth of the job, and its application is different from that of job enlargement.
Job enrichment is the most popular technique for enhancing employee motivation. Organisations which employ workers with high levels of skills and knowledge should consider implementing job enrichment programmes. Job enrichment is done by redesigning jobs so as to increase both their scope and their depth. The incumbent has enough autonomy to plan, organise and control his job. There is less supervision and more self-evaluation involved in carrying out the job.
Job enrichment basically caters to all the job characteristics mentioned in the ‘job characteristics approach’ to job design. Job enrichment of one job also alters the jobs of supervisors and co-workers. The support and commitment of the top management is extremely essential in an initiative like this, which would involve a complete change of work culture.
Managers who are used to supervising the workers also need to be trained and counselled to adapt to the new style of working, which involves a reduction in their power and control. They also should be trained in providing timely and productive feedback to the employees. The employees also need to be equipped to handle an enriched job independently.
The example of an enriched job in today’s context could be that of a Sales Manager in a consumer durables firm. He has to identify’ the customer base, understand their needs, customise the product/service if required, market the product to them, maintain contact with them for the after-sales service and resolve any complaint that the customer might have.
The manager is free to take any decision that he might like to, to satisfy the customer. He is also encouraged to be creative and innovative in his job. These features make the job very challenging and the experience, rich and varied. The job of a sales manager earlier, would perhaps entail only managing the stock distribution and ensuring sales targets through the distributors.
The following are some of the techniques of job enrichment:
(i) Incorporating more Responsibility in the job.
(ii) Providing wider scope, greater sequencing and increased pace of work.
(iii) Assigning a natural unit of work, either to an employee or to a group of employees.
(iv) Minimising controls and providing freedom of work when the employees are clearly accountable for attaining defined goals.
(v) Allowing the employees to set their own standards or targets.
(vi) Allowing the employees to monitor their own performance by providing the control information.
(vii) Encouraging employees to participate in planning and innovating.
(viii) Introducing new, difficult and creative tasks.
(ix) Assigning specific projects to individuals or groups to enhance their expertise.
The various steps involved in the process of job enrichment are as follows:
(i) Selecting jobs that can motivate the employee and eventually result in performance.
(ii) Providing scope for change and enrichment in job design.
(iii) Making a list of changes that might enrich the jobs by brainstorming.
(iv) Concentrating on motivational factors such as achievement, responsibility, self- control, etc.
(v) Changing the content of the job rather than changing the employees.
(vi) Providing adequate training, guidance, encouragement and help.
(vii) Introducing the enriched jobs carefully, so that there is no resistance towards the implementation of job enrichment programmes.
(viii) Preparing specific programmes for each project and ensuring access to information that helps the management to monitor the performance of the workers.
Techniques of Job Design – Job Enlargement, Job Rotation, Job Enrichment and Work Design
Achieving a good job design requires devising administrative practices that determine what the employee does, for how long, where, when, and how he does it; as also giving the employee choice, wherever feasible and workable. While working out a job design, the focus may be on examining the various tasks of an individual’s job or the design of a group of tasks, depending upon the nature and characteristic of the job involved.
Some of the techniques of job design are described below:
i. Job Enlargement:
Job enlargement for a particular task attempts to enhance the scope of the job to include a variety of tasks that need to be performed by the individual. It adds interest and enjoyment to working, without necessarily handing over extra responsibility to the employees.
The expanded job is not as specialized or as routine as a job designed according to scientific management principles. It basically attempts to increase job satisfaction by allowing an employee to perform a greater variety of activities and tasks, requiring more advanced skill sets. It is more applicable to satisfy higher level needs of employees by including higher variety in their jobs.
ii. Job Rotation:
Job rotation moves employees from one task to another to add variety and reduce boredom by allowing them to perform a variety of tasks. It also helps in broadening the understanding of employees about all aspects of the business.
It not only distributes the group tasks among a number of employees, but also trains the employees on different tasks, so that job output does not suffer in absence of an employee who may have an exclusive command over a particular job. It also helps in curbing any vested interest that employees may develop by permanently working on a particular seat, particularly in sensitive positions.
However, in case all the tasks involved are similar and of routine nature, the strategy of job rotation may not be helpful in improving employee effectiveness and job satisfaction. As stated by Kenneth and Latham (1981), there are several methods to improve the success of job rotation programmes.
What is important is to tailor the needs, interests, and capabilities of the individual trainee rather than to have a standardized sequence of job rotation for all trainees.
iii. Job Enrichment:
Job enrichment, as per Orsburn and Moran (2000), empowers employees to assume greater responsibility and accountability for planning, organizing, performing, controlling, and evaluating their own work. It enables and allows employees to assume more responsibility, accountability, and independence while learning new tasks.
Job enrichment attempts to design jobs in such a way that it helps employees in satisfying their needs for growth, recognition, and responsibility. Job enrichment differs from job enlargement, as it adds new dimensions to the job by expanding it vertically; employees are given more responsibility.
The employees need satisfaction to get greater prominence while designing jobs, according to Herzberg (1959), who propounded the two-factor theory of work motivation. His basic idea is that employees will be inspired, encouraged, and motivated in undertaking jobs that enhance their feelings of self-worth.
iv. Work Design:
Work design (job engineering) allows employees to understand and appreciate the linkage between work methods, layout, and handling procedures as also the interaction between people and machines. Job design was central issue in Taylor’s (1856-1915) model of scientific management.
His perspective on the importance of job design is an excellent example of rational approach to scientific management practices and shows how certain perspectives focus more on productivity than on satisfaction.
Taylor’s recommendations emphasize the need for scientific job analysis; arranging work in such a way that workers turn out to be efficient, recruitment be linked one to one with job descriptions and job specifications, continuous need- based training to employees, and above all, employee compensation to be linked to performance be used for rewarding performance.
A job engineering analyst is expected to examine job design factors by using time-and-motion studies, determine time required to perform various tasks, and the movements needed to perform those tasks efficiently.
Techniques of Job Design – Top 4 Techniques: Job Simplification, Job Rotation, Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment
Depending on the skills and abilities of employees available to perform a task, jobs require designing.
Following are the techniques of job designing:
Technique # 1. Job Simplification:
In this technique, a given job is broken or divided in small subparts, and each subpart is assigned to each employee. It is a technique through which jobs are simplified or specialised. The purpose of job simplification is to make the job simple for the employee to perform without obtaining any special training. The time and motion studies are used for job simplification.
Technique # 2. Job Rotation:
In this technique, the employee is shifted from one job to another job within a group so that there is some variety and relief from the boredom of routine work. Job rotation breaks the monotony of performing a highly specialised job by placing persons on jobs requiring different skills and abilities. The organisation benefits because employees become competent on several jobs.
(i) Job rotation increases the intrinsic reward potential of the job because of different skills and abilities needed to perform it.
(ii) The employees become competent to perform several jobs rather than one.
(iii) Knowing the variety of jobs improves the employee’s self-image, provides personal growth and makes the employee more valuable for the organisation.
(iv) Job rotation also improves interdepartmental cooperation.
(v) Through job rotation, employees are able to understand each other’s problems.
(vi) It relieves the employees from boredom and monotony of doing the same job.
(vii) It broadens the knowledge and skills of the employees.
(viii)The employees are provided with variety of work, workplace and peer groups.
(ix) Employees become more flexible and they are also prepared to assume greater responsibility especially at other positions.
(i) Job rotation may not have much impact on employee efficiency and enthusiasm.
(ii) The frequent shifting of employees from one job to another may cause interruption in the routine work of the organisation.
(iii) The employee feels alienated when he/she is rotated from job to job.
(iv) The employees who require specific responsibility in a particular field may feel demotivated.
(v) Job rotation may lead to increase in cost and decrease in productivity.
Technique # 3. Job Enlargement:
Job enlargement is the process of expanding the number of related tasks in the job. Enlargement reduces monotony and utilises a wider range of employee skills. Thus, it is opposite to job simplification. Thus, job enlargement increases the scope of job of a particular employee by adding more tasks to it. This enlargement is done on the horizontal level. It means that the job remains the same but becomes of a larger scale.
(i) Job variety is increased through job enlargement.
(ii) Job enlargement provides the wholeness and identity with the task and increases the necessary knowledge to perform it.
(iii) Monotony and boredom is reduced through job enlargement.
(iv) More versatile employees are trained and developed.
(i) It does not increase the depth of the job.
(ii) Enlarged jobs require longer training period as there are more tasks to be learnt.
Technique # 4. Job Enrichment:
Job enrichment is a process of designing the job in such a manner that the employee gets greater autonomy for planning and controlling his own performance. Job enrichment, therefore, increases the responsibility, autonomy and control. There is a vertical loading of the job by adding more planning and controlling responsibilities.
According to Herzberg, “Job enrichment, implies increasing the contents of a job or the deliberate upgrading of the job.” Thus, in job enrichment, the employees are provided with the discretion in taking the operational decisions in relation to their jobs.
(i) Both qualitative and quantitative output of the organisation is increased.
(ii) It is the most widely used method of job designing.
(iii) It provides meaningful work experience and learning to the employees.
(iv) Job enrichment makes the work of the employees interesting.
(v) Job enrichment reduces the rate of absenteeism and labour turnover.
(vi) Skills of the employees are improved through job enrichment.
(vii) The redesigned jobs provide increased motivation to the employees and they get higher job satisfaction.
(i) Job enrichment fails to motivate such employees, who prefer job security, shorter work bonus, and good pay.
(ii) It increases the expenditure of the organisation as job enrichment makes the work more difficult, therefore employees are required to be provided with proper training.
(iii) It is not possible to enrich all the jobs especially the technical jobs which require specialised machinery.
(iv) It is not possible that job enrichment always leads to job satisfaction. Jobs of highly skilled professional are very challenging but it does not mean that they are always satisfied with their jobs.