Techniques for Designing Jobs

Basically there are four techniques used in the designing of jobs. These include Job simplification, Job enlargement, Job enrichment and Job rotation.

Job simplification:

Job simplification is a design method whereby jobs are divided into smaller components and subsequently assigned to workers as whole jobs. Simplification of work requires that jobs be broken down into their smallest units and then analyzed. Each resulting sub unit typically consists of relatively few operations. These sub units are then assigned to the workers as their total jobs.

Many fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s Burger king and Nirula’s use simplification because employees can learn tasks rapidly. Short work cycles allow task performance with little or no mental effort and low skilled and low paid employees can be hired and trained easily.

On the negative side, job simplification results in workers experiencing boredom, frustration, alienation, lack of motivation and low job satisfaction. This, in turn leads to lower productivity and increased cost.

Job Enlargement:

Job enlargement expands a job horizontally. It increases job scope; that is, it increases the number of different operations required in a job and the frequency with which the job cycle is repeated. By increasing the number of tasks an individual performs, job enlargement increases the job scope, or job diversity. Instead of only sorting the incoming mail by the department for instance a mail sorter’s job could be enlarged to include physically delivering the mail to the various departments or running outgoing letters through the postage meter.

Efforts at Job enlargement have met with less than enthusiastic results. As one employee who experienced such a redesign on his job remarked ‘before I had one lousy job, now, through enlargement I have three’. So while job enlargement attacks the lack of diversity in overspecialized jobs, it has done little to provide challenge or meaningfulness to a worker’s activities.

Job Rotation:

Job rotation refers to the movement of employees from one job to another. Jobs themselves are not actually changed, only the employees are rotated among various jobs. An employee who works on a routine job moves to work on another job for some hours / days / months and return back to the first job. This measure relieves the employee from the boredom and monotony, improves the employee’s skills regarding various jobs and prepares worker’s self image and provides personal growth. However, frequent job rotations are not advisable in view of their negative impact on the organization and the employee.

Job enrichment:

Job enrichment as currently practiced in the industry is a direct outgrowth of Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of motivation. It is, therefore based on the assumption that in order to motivate personnel the job itself must provide opportunities for achievement recognition.

Responsibility, advancement and growth: The basic idea is to restore to jobs the elements of interest that were taken away under intensive specialization. Job enrichment tries to embellish the job with factors that Herzberg characterized as motivators: achievement, recognition, increased responsibilities, opportunities for growth, advancement and increased competence. There is an attempt to build into jobs a higher sense of challenge and achievement though vertical job loading.

Job enrichment has four unique aspects:

1) It changes the basic relationship between employees and their work. Interesting and challenging work as studies have proved can be a source of employee satisfaction.
2) It changes employees’ behavior in ways that gradually lead to more positive attitudes about the organization and a better self image. Feeling of autonomy and personal freedom help employees view their jobs in a favorable way.
3) It helps the employer to bring about organizational changes easily securing employees’ cooperation and commitment.
4) Job enrichment can humanize an organization. Individuals can experience the psychological lift that comes from developing new competencies and doing a job well. Individuals are encouraged to grow and push themselves.
Source: HRM

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