Build opportunities to motivate workers

Job enrichment: Redesigning jobs in a way that increases the opportunities for the worker to experience feelings of responsibility, achievement, growth and recognition.

Psychologists Frederick Herzberg argued that the best way to motivate workers is to build opportunities for challenge and achievement into the jobs via job enrichment. Job enrichment means redesigning jobs in a way that increases the opportunities for the worker to experience feelings of responsibility, achievement, growth, and recognition – for instance, by letting the worker plan an control his or her on work instead of having it controlled by letting the worker plan and control his or her own work instead of having it controlled by outsiders. Employees of Herzberg, would do their jobs well because they wanted to and productivity would rise. That philosophy, in one form or another is the theoretical basis for the team based self managing jobs in factories like Daimler-Chryslers today.

Why managers are “Dejobbing” their companies

Dejobbing: Broadening the responsibilities of the company’s jobs, and encouraging employees not to limit themselves to what’s on their job descriptions.

Daimler’s Alabama Mercedes factory actually presents in microcosm picture of why companies are moving to broader simpler descriptions of jobs to dejobbing in other words. Companies are grappling with challenges lie in rapid product and technological change, global competition, deregulation, political instability, demographic changes and a shift to a service economy. This has increased the need for firms to be responsive, flexible; and much more competitive. In turn, the organizational methods managers use to accomplish this have helped weaken the meaning of job as a well defined and clearly delineated set of responsibilities. Requiring that employees limit themselves to narrow jobs runs counter to the need to have them willingly switch from task to task as jobs and team assignments change. Here is a sampling of organizational factors that have contributed to encouraging workers not to limit themselves to narrowly defined jobs.

Flatter Organizations: Instead of traditional, pyramid shaped organizations with seven or more management layers, flat organizations with just three or four levels are more prevalent. This assumed puts top managers in closer touch with customers. But the implication is that remaining managers each have, more subordinates reporting to them (a wider span of control). The remaining managers thus can supervise the subordinates less and the subordinates jobs end up bigger in terms of responsibilities.

Self managing work team: Mangers increasingly organize tasks around teams and processes rather than around specialized functions. For example, of Chesebrough-Ponds USA, a subsidiary of Unilever, managers replaced traditional pyramidal factory organization with multi skilled cross functional and self directed teams; the latter now run the plant’s four product areas. Hourly employees make employee assignments, schedule overtime, establish production times and changeovers and even handle cost control, requisitions, and work orders. They also are solely responsible for quality control under the plant’s continuous quality improvement program. In an organization like this, employees’ jobs change daily, so management intentionally avoids having employees view their jobs as a specific narrow set of responsibilities.

Reengineering: The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business process to achieve dramatic improvements and critical, contemporary measures of performance such as cost quality service and speed.

Reengineering: In many companies work processes are a little like relay races. For example, for a bank to approve a loan application, the application might be handed from department to department, such as from applications, to credit analysis to loan approval, to the loan closing group. This can be very time consuming. Reengineering (technically business process reengineering) usually means redesigning a business process so that small self managing teams of employees working together (or virtually) get the task done together, all at once. The aim, say the method’s early proponents, is to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance such as cost quality service and speed.

Reengineering has implications for writing job descriptions. Typically in reengineered situations, workers become collectively responsible for overall results rather than just for their own tasks: They share joint responsibility with their team members for performing the whole process, not just a small piece of it. As a result, employee’s jobs tend to change fairly continuously and it’s actually counterproductive to have employees thinking solely in terms of just doing my job.