Job enrichment is a technique adopted by management to motivate the employees and to provide job satisfaction to them. Job enrichment technique is also referred to as vertical job expansion or job enhancement technique. Job enrichment technique is not the same as job enlargement technique. Because in job enrichment employees are provided additional work along with enhanced authority and control.
Job enrichment techniques are used by management to deal with the problem of decreased motivation and excitement of employees at the workplace. Companies spend thousands of dollars for the training of their employees to teach them to do their jobs and to provide them with all the skills required to do the job efficiently.
However, the return on investment becomes null or very low when employees don’t do their job with excitement or leave their jobs. A well-trained employee leaving the job is a big loss for a company and there are very few upper-level or well-trained employees who leave their jobs because of lower money reasons but they leave their jobs because of boredom or less challenging jobs. They find their jobs uninteresting or unchallenging and look for jobs that challenge their skills.
Job enrichment is one of the most effective techniques used by management to break the monotony of jobs for employees. Using this technique, you not only get additional work done by employees but also prepare them for higher-level jobs. It is an excellent way to train your employees by not spending a single penny.
In job enrichment techniques, employees are not assigned arbitrary job tasks. Job tasks that are related to one another are grouped and assigned to one employee. The job responsibilities of employees are increased in the vertical direction.
For example, employees get to make decisions that are formally taken by top management and get to control employees which are formally controlled by top management. In this way, not only the responsibilities of top management are shared but employees also learn new skills. Job enrichment helps in establishing effective communication between employees and management.
The concept of job enrichment was introduced by an American psychologist named Frederick Herzberg in 1968. The concept of job enrichment is derived from his “Motivator hygiene” theory, where he mentioned that the job attitude is formed from two independent factors i.e. job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction.
He explains how job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not related to each other and the solution to dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction.
Definition of Job Enrichment
Job enrichment can be defined as a job redesigning technique in which additional job tasks or responsibilities are added to the job role of an employee with the expectation to remove the monotony of work. Job enrichment is a vertical job expansion method where employees are provided additional authority and control over the work.
Characteristics of Job Enrichment
The followings are the eight different characteristics of job enrichment technique. Let us learn about them one by one.
1. Enhanced Learning
In job enrichment techniques employees are given opportunities to learn new work. They can learn new skills and use those skills to improve their work.
2. Direct Job feedback
The employee who performs a job is provided feedback directly. The supervisor or his direct manager gives feedback to the employee.
3. Relationship with clients
In an enriched job profile, employees are allowed to interact with their clients directly rather than through their manager. In this way, they can understand the demands of their clients better and can fulfill their demands effectively.
4. Accountability of work done
In Job enrichment technique, employees are asked to take responsibility for the outcome of their work. This inculcates a positive habit in employees.
5. Freedom to schedule their work
In job enrichment, employees are given the freedom to schedule their work schedules. Then they can decide what work they want to perform first and what work they want to perform later. This helps them do their work efficiently.
6. Direct communication with Authority
Employees can directly communicate with the authority who is finally going to use their output.
7. Different experience
By performing an enriched job, the employees get the chance to experience different dimensions of their work. This experience is helpful for them to grow in their fields.
8. Control over Resources
In an enriched job, employees are given control over the resources that they need to perform a job. Having this freedom makes them responsible and accountable for their decisions.
Advantages of Job Enrichment
There are three techniques adopted by employers, such as job enlargement, job rotation, and job enrichment to increase the satisfaction level of employees. Job enlargement is considered one of the most effective methods to not only provide job satisfaction to employees but to train them for higher work responsibilities for the future.
Similarly, there are various other advantages of job enrichment techniques in an organization. In this section, you will learn about the different benefits of using job enrichment techniques in a work environment.
1. Increased employees’ job Satisfaction
The first and foremost advantage of using job enrichment technique is the increased job satisfaction of employees. When employees are asked to undertake additional work, especially the work with greater responsibility which provides them authority and the power to make a decision, then they feel excited to take on those responsibilities.
New responsibilities challenge their skills and their knowledge. Effectively performing the tasks gives them a feeling of achievement and provides them with job satisfaction. As a result of which they enjoy to be part of the organization.
2. Workload of upper management is shared
In job enrichment, the responsibilities of the job of an employee are enhanced vertically. That means they share the job responsibilities of upper management or their seniors. In this, they get a chance to step in their shoes.
The benefit of doing this, to the upper management is that their workload becomes less. They can utilise their time to do other important work. In this way, the overall productivity of the organization can be improved.
3. Lower employee turnover
Every organisation expect that their talented and trained employees don’t leave their organisation. However, it becomes really difficult for some organisation to stop their best employees from leaving their organisation.
A study shows that several employees leave their jobs because of boredom or unchallenging work. Hence, employee turnover is quite high in some organisation. Job enrichment can be used as solution to deal with employee turnover.
By applying job enrichment techniques, employees are asked to perform the job tasks of upper management, and they are given authority to take important decisions. As a result of which the monotony of their work breaks and they start enjoying their work. Hence, there is fewer number of employees who leave their jobs because of boredom.
4. Lower training costs
By applying job enrichment techniques, employees are taught skills required to perform job tasks of upper management. They are taught these skills while they are doing their designated work. In this way, job enrichment helps reduce overall training costs of employees.
Employees are not required to go to the training school to learn new skills and there is no need for hiring separate trainers to provide training classes. Therefore, job enrichment helps in reducing training expenditure of a company.
5. Better communication among management and employees
Job enrichment technique creates healthy communication between management and employees. Employees seek the help of management to learn skills and proper methods to perform the work assigned to them.
This activity improves the understanding between employees and management as by doing the work of management, employees understand the difficulties faced by them and become more empathetic towards them. They stop cringing when their bosses give orders to them and understand them better.
6. A better way to select future managers
Most companies select managers for higher positions within the organization rather than hiring people from outside. Therefore, it is an important task to choose the right and deserving candidate for the position among many candidates.
By applying job enrichment technique, employees are asked to perform the tasks that they will be doing when they will become manager. By evaluating their performance, we can compare the skills of employees and their efficiency to do the job.
Therefore, the job enrichment technique can be used as a technique to choose the future manager for the organisation.
7. Increased productivity
Job enrichment helps in improving the productivity of the organisation. As the same number of employees do more work. When job responsibilities of managers are delegated to employees, then the managers have spare time to do more important work. For example, managers can focus on other important projects rather than preparing the work assignment sheet for employees, which can be handled by their subordinates.
8. Positive Corporate moral
The subordinates feel motivated when they are asked to do the work task of top management. They feel valued, and they boost their self-esteem. They put more efforts to perform work assigned to them efficiently.
In this way, a positive moral is created in the organisation. Each employee will do their work efficiently rather than competing with other employees. Therefore, by applying job enrichment techniques, positive corporate moral can be achieved.
9. Improved organisational structure
By organisational structure, we mean the hierarchy of management in the organisation. Job enrichment helps in reducing the levels of management in the organisation. Employees can be trained to do the work of middle managers and some of their job responsibilities (like controlling their subordinates)can be performed to top managers.
Lower management levels are good for quick and effective decision-making. This also results in effective communication between the management and employees.
10. Reduced absenteeism:
Lesser number of employees will stay away from work when they are given different and exciting tasks to do every day. They will look forward going to work and to find out what work they be assigned to perform today.
Therefore, Job enrichment is one of the best techniques to reduce absenteeism in the organisation.
11. Strongerbondamong employees
By applying job enrichment technique, employees are given opportunities to play the role of their managers or bosses. Hence, they also get the opportunity to control or supervise the work of their colleagues.
They learn about the difficulties of one another and become more empathetic. A good relationship among employees is beneficial for the organisation. Employees with good understanding perform better teamwork than the employees who have misunderstandings and conflicts with one another.
12. Reduced boredom
Last but not least advantage of job enrichment technique is that it breaks the monotony of work of employees. Employees feel good when they are given different job roles to perform. Lower boredom means they will enjoy their work and will do their jobs with enthusiasm, and this will result in improved quality of their work performance.
Disadvantages of Job Enrichment
The followings are the disadvantages of job enrichment technique.
1. Not all employees welcome this effort
Not all employees have a welcoming attitude towards this technique. Some employees are happy and satisfied with doing the same job every day. These employees don’t look forward to changing and have the least desire to be in the top position.
In case of this type of employees, the job enrichment technique affects the performance of these employees adversely. They become unhappy when they are asked to perform extra work. As a result of this, their work performance become poor.
In worse cases, these employees stay absent from work to avoid being part of this activity. Therefore, it is important to discuss this technique with all the employees and to take their consent before applying it.
2. Responsibilities do not match the skills of employees
Sometimes, some employees don’t have those skills or knowledge which are required to perform the work of the top management properly. Because there is a reason why these tasks are assigned to upper management and not to their subordinates.
Poor skills or unmatched skills results in poorly performed job duties.
3. Overburden on employees
The main principle behind job enrichment technique is assigning work of top management to their subordinates. Assignment of these job tasks becomes additional work for the employees and employees are expected to do their work and the work of the top management.
This puts over-burden on the employees and rather than feeling excited and happy, they feel exhausted and discontent.
4. Poor outcomes
When an employee performs a work repetitively, he becomes good at it and knows the small details of that work. But when an inexperienced person is asked to perform the work without proper training and guidance, then he is bound to make mistakes.
As a result of this, the quality of outcome of the work will reduce. Therefore, in the place of improved productivity of the organisation, the productivity will reduce. This might result in not increased work for managers rather than the shared work responsibilities.
5. Increased monitoring
When employees are asked to perform the job of their managers, they are bound to work with them or near them, and this results in increased monitoring on the work of employees. Some employees don’t perform well when monitored excessively and this might result in their poor performance.
6. Lack of preparation
Job enrichment technique does not provide sufficient time to employees to prepare for performing new tasks assigned to them. Because of this might feel anxious to perform newly assigned work to them.
7. Clash of employees
Not all employees like their colleagues, giving them orders. They might not take orders from their colleagues as seriously as they take from their managers. This might cause altercations between the employees.
The altercations between employees create a disturbed environment in the organisation.