Managers have learned the job itself and the way it is designed is an important factor in a company’s ability to attract and retain quality workers. In some companies, work is organized on the principle of job simplification, breaking the work done into its simplest form and standardizing each task, as in an assembly line operation. The scope of jobs organized in such a way is extremely narrowing, resulting in impersonal, monotonous, and boring work that creates little challenges or motivation for workers.
Job simplification invites workers to “check their brains at the door” and offers them little opportunity for excitement, enthusiasm, or pride in their work. The result can be apathetic, unmotivated workers who don’t care about quality, customers, or costs. Management determines whether the organization has jobs or does work. Do you want employees who check their brains at the door or employees who actively think, solve, invent and create outstanding customized responses for customers?
To break this destructive cycle, some companies have redesigned workers’ jobs. Employing the following strategies should be considered. Strategies like job enlargement, job rotation, job enrichment, flextime, job sharing and flexplace.
Job enlargement (or horizontal job loading) adds more tasks to a job to broaden its scope. For instance, rather than an employee simply mounting four screws in the computers coming down an assembly line, a worker might assemble, install and test the entire motherboard (perhaps as part of the team). The idea is to make the job more varied and to allow employees to perform a complete unit of work.
Job rotation involves cross-training employees so they can move from one job in the company to another, giving them a greater number and variety of tasks to perform. As employees learn other jobs within an organization, both their skills and their understanding of the company’s purpose and process rise. Cross-trained workers are more valuable because they give a company the flexibility to shift workers from low demand jobs to those where they are more needed. As an incentive for workers to learn to perform other jobs within an operation, some companies offer skill-based pay, a system under which the more skills workers acquire, the more they earn.
Job enrichment (or vertical job loading) involves building motivation into a job by increasing the planning, decision making, organizing, and controlling functions – traditionally managerial tasks – that workers perform. The idea is to make every employee a manager – at least a manager of his own job.
To enrich employees’ jobs, a business owner must build fie core characteristics into them;
- Skill variety is the degree to which a job requires a variety of different skills, and activities from the worker. Does the job require the worker to perform a variety of tasks that demand a variety of skills and abilities or does it to force him to perform the same skill repeatedly?
- Task identity is the degree to which a job allows the worker to complete a whole or identifiable piece of work. Does the employee build an entire piece of furniture (perhaps as part of a team) or does he merely attach four screws?
- Task significance is the degree to which a job substantially influences the lies or work of others – employees or final customers. Does the employee get a deal with customers either internal or external? One effective way to establish task significance is to put employees in touch with customers so they can see how customers use the product or service they make.
- Autonomy is the degree to which a job gives a worker freedom, independence, and discretion in planning and performing tasks. Does the employee make decisions affecting his work or must he rely on someone to “call the shots”?
- Feedback is the degree to which a job gives the worker direct, timely information about the quality of his performance. Does the job give employees feedback about the quality of their work done or does the product (and all information about it) simply disappear after it leaves the worker’s station?
Flextime is an increasingly popular job design strategy – an arrangement under which employees work a normal number of hours for flexibility about when they start and stop work. Most flextime arrangements require employees to build their work schedule around a set of “core hours” (depending on the nature of the job), but give them the freedom to set their schedule outside of those core hours. Flextime not only raises work morale, but it also makes it easier for companies to attract high-quality young workers who want rewarding careers, without sacrificing their lifestyle. Companies using flextime schedules often experience lower levels of tardiness, turnover, and absenteeism. The number of companies using flextime is likely to continue to grow as companies finding recruiting capable, qualified full-time workers more difficult and as technology makes working from a dedicated office space less important.
Job sharing is a work arrangement in which two or more people share a single full-time job. For instance, two employees can share a job with shifts – where one works in the morning and another in the afternoon. Salary and benefits are prorated between the workers sharing the job. Because job sharing is a simple solution to the growing challenge of life-and-work balance, it is becoming more popular.
Flexplace is a work arrangement in which employees work at a place other than the traditional office, such as a satellite branch closer to their homes or, in most cases, at home. Flexplace is an easy design job strategy for companies to use because of telecommunicating. Using modern communication technology such as Wi-Fi, smartphones, social media, texting and emailing, employees have more flexibility in choosing where they work. Today, it is quite simple for workers to connect electronically to their workplace from practically anywhere in the world. Telecommuting employees get the flexibility they seek, and companies reap the benefits as well, including improved employee morale, less absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity, and more satisfied, more loyal employees.