Job enrichment is a strategy meant to make a position more satisfying for the employees. The goal of this measure is to make the staff happier and more productive. Naturally, the happier they’ll be, the less they’ll want to quit the current job. Today we are going to find out more about this strategy, what are its benefits, and how did people put it into practice.
Job Enrichment Definition
Also called vertical job expansion or job enhancement, this is a job design technique that relies on adding new sources of job satisfaction for the employees. It increases the level of responsibility for each of the members of the staff. It is, in fact, a vertical restricting method which offers the employee more autonomy, authority, and control over the way in which they’re doing their job.
The concept relies on a Harvard Business Review article, written in 1968 by psychologist Frederic Herzberg. Here you have a short clip that details what he sees as motivators for the employees:
There are a couple of the measures managers take when implementing this technique:
Job Enrichment Benefits
There are some consistent benefits when it comes to job enrichment, both for the employee and the company. Let’s have a brief look at the most enticing benefits for both parts.
For the Employee
1. Meaningful Work
The best way to increase an individual’s satisfaction is to give him a work that has a clear outcome. The task they receive needs to be a whole one, with a clear beginning and end. As such, finishing it will be an accomplishment. This comes together with the feeling of belonging to a community, even if, or especially if it is the workplace one.
2. Job Advancement
Job enrichment is a technique that offers employees the tools to improve the skills they already have. Moreover, they can learn some new skills, including managerial ones. If they have enough ambition, the positive feedback will constitute a motivation to advance in their career. In general, people with proven skills have better career opportunities.
3. Knowledge of the Outcomes
A person who knows why are they struggling for and what is the outcome of their efforts will be more performant. Feedback is essential when trying to achieve a certain level of performance. Whether it is provided by a manager or a co-worker, this helps employees know if they’re closer to the outcome they want or not.
4. Staying Focused
When given decision-making roles that involve more authority, employees end up being more mentally stimulated. Thus, they stay focused on the tasks they have, as well as the objectives of the company. Moreover, ambitious employees will be more loyal to an employer if they have higher-level duties.
For the Company
1. Cut Down on Absence Days or Turnover
The employees who find satisfaction in their jobs won’t try to escape the duties. They don’t want to leave work sooner, nor to change their job. A low turnover is also a good indicator of the company’s level of professionalism. Moreover, you save a lot of time when you don’t hire new people every other week.
2. Cut Down on the Costs
The same low turnover we were talking about earlier means that you can cut down on the hiring and training costs as well. There is a huge amount of spending associated with hiring a new person. Moreover, studies have shown that it takes a lot of time for a new employee to reach the same level of productivity as the previous one.
3. More Productivity and Profit
Just as we explained above, employees who had their jobs enriched perform better at work. This means an increase in productivity for the entire company. Thus, the employers get to enjoy more profit, get more projects, and so on.
4. Choose Future Managers
When giving people more decisions to make, it’s easier to spot early future managers. Ambitious employees will be happy to receive even more tasks that require decision-making skills. You can easily see the ones who are accomplishing the tasks with ease, as well as those who are willing to move to the next step.
5. Better Corporate Morale
The job enrichment strategy represents nothing else but an act of trust in the employee’s skills. As such, people who are trusted will try to act more professionally, thus being more motivated. They’ll have a positive attitude at work, which creates an improved environment, pushing their co-workers forward as well.
Job Enrichment Examples
For a better understanding of the concept, we also need to provide a couple of concrete examples. Here’s a brief list of real applications of the job enrichment strategy.
It has been proven that a customer service associate will perform much better when given a certain amount of authority. A company can improve their customer service by empowering the associates with making decision on-the-spot, instead of permanently asking for confirmation from the management. For example, they can refund a certain amount of money to customers, within certain limits. However, the company needs to monitor these decisions to make sure they are doing the right thing.
Another example of making the most out of the job enrichment strategy is to take advantage of the experienced employees. Giving them more duties or at least changing them can be extremely beneficial for the company. For instance, an employee can see that doing a maintenance on a machine once a week instead of once a month makes it work better. Thus, you can give them the task of taking care of the machine.
To sum it up, job enrichment is a strategy that can work wonders for your company. However, you need to think it all through and see if it fits your organization. This is a strategy suitable for large corporations with enough employees that are willing to dedicate themselves to the common goals.
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