Job enlargement is a relatively newer concept in the workspace which helps improve people engagement, while also helping the organization accomplish a range of additional tasks using the existing workforce.
As companies expand, so do their tasks and responsibilities. To accomplish these new tasks, job enlargement or job expansion is undertaken with the support of existing employees. With job enlargement, employees can also gain added benefits in the form of new skills, new responsibilities, further training, and more, while remaining at the same level in their company.
Job enlargement is helpful for employees too, as it enables them to escape from the monotony of their daily work, making it more engaging for them. Hence, we will be discussing this phenomenon and understanding various aspects related to job enlargement in this blog.
What is Job Enlargement?
The term ‘Job Enlargement’ refers to adding the number of tasks and responsibilities of a job to increase the efficiency of the company using the existing staff members. The main purpose of job enlargement is to add a range of tasks and duties to the employees’ responsibilities, allowing for more work to be accomplished using the same workforce who remain at the same level.
Job enlargement also enables the staff to gain a range of new skills related to their existing duties as they are tasked with more work. Hence, job enlargement is also referred to as horizontal loading since there are no changes to the employee’s designation or salary when their jobs are ‘enlarged’. The argument for the lack of such changes is that there is no modification in the employees’ responsibilities or the complexity of their work.
Relevance of Job Enlargement for Organizations
Job enlargement has become a requirement in organizations since it helps the staff gain more skills and experience as they undertake a range of activities related to their work.
Job enlargement can also help avoid the monotony of doing repetitive tasks and increase their overall satisfaction. As a result, it keeps them engaged with the job, aiding in effective employee retention. Job enlargement can also result in improved skills among employees.
Since they are tasked with additional work, their managers can understand their competencies and help them improve their work and efficiency. Hence, job enlargement also removes the boredom the employees feel repeating the same tasks on the job daily.
Additionally, job enlargement can also help them understand their increasing importance for their company. Moreover, they will also be provided with additional training for undertaking their tasks effectively, which will result in efficient staff who are engaged with the organization.
Difference Between Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment
While the meaning of job enlargement and job enrichment complement each other in the workplace, they are not the same. One can consider job enrichment as the ‘planning’ and job enlargement as the ‘execution’ part of that plan.
Job enlargement mainly deals with increasing the workload of the staff by adding to their existing duties and responsibilities. However, job enrichment helps improve the quality of the tasks undertaken by the employee in an organization.
Due to enrichment, the employee would feel motivated to undertake more work since they can work better. On the other hand, with job enlargement, they would feel more responsible towards their organization since they have been tasked with additional work.
Hence, job enrichment is dependent on job enlargement for its success, while the reverse is not true. You can consider job enrichment to be a vertical expansion in the tasks related to a job, whereas, job enlargement is more of a horizontal expansion.
As a result, employees often consider job enrichment to be beneficial for their growth since they can peek at the managerial duties related to a job. However, the same employees might consider the enlargement of their jobs to be dissatisfactory since they may perceive it to be a tactic to add to their workload by their company.
Advantages of Job Enlargement
There are several advantages of job enlargement for the organization, such as:
1. Improved Engagement
Since the employees are dealing with additional duties and responsibilities related to their work, job enlargement leads to more engagement with their work. They will also be dealing with other tasks related to their work, further enhancing their job satisfaction by avoiding monotony.
As a result, they also tend to stay longer with their organization while staying focused on the task at hand, as they would be happy with the variety of tasks at their disposal.
2. More Flexibility
Job enlargement also results in added work flexibility as the team can undertake a wide range of tasks. Since their work becomes flexible in nature, it can lead to improved satisfaction among the workforce.
Similarly, the increased flexibility can also result in work-from-home opportunities for the workforce, further increasing their engagement with their company.
3. Career Growth
Job enlargement provides the staff with additional responsibilities and helps them work under pressure. It also allows them to multitask effectively, as well as develop their stamina to work more.
Similarly, the employees can demonstrate their leadership skills while taking on the additional responsibilities as well as learn new skills to perform their newer tasks well, further increasing their chances of career growth.
4. Enhanced Collaboration
Job enlargement involves adding responsibilities to the employees and hence, they are required to interact with other team members leading to collaboration between teams.
It enables cross-departmental communication, knowledge sharing, and creative interactions, leading to holistic team bonding within the organization. Such collaborations prove essential when undertaking major projects, leading to long-term success.
5. Increased Accountability
Since the employees are dealing with more responsibilities, they have the freedom to undertake their tasks at their convenience, making their jobs flexible.
Since the employee is also responsible for multiple tasks related to their job, they also experience enhanced autonomy to perform their tasks. As a result, they also display additional responsibility towards their work, actively engaging them with their work.
6. Soft Skills Development
Employees can also gain a variety of skills such as interpersonal communication, time management, self-discipline, work management, creative thinking, and more with the added responsibilities.
Since they are required to undertake more tasks within their predefined working hours, they will also become more organized and efficient, further improving their professional skills as an employee.
Disadvantages of Job Enlargement
Along with the pros, there are multiple disadvantages of job enlargement too. Some of the more common ones are:
1. Reduced Efficiency
Job enlargement requires the employees to work more as their responsibilities are increased to accommodate more tasks. Hence, it can lead to a decrease in their average work efficiency if they are not trained on specific aspects of their added tasks.
2. Lowered Morale
Lower performance can also lead to reduced morale among the staff. The employees who are unable to perform the added tasks well can feel demotivated to work, resulting in disengagement with their work and company.
3. Increased Work Stress
Since the tasks are piling up, it could lead to work-related stress, which could be devastating for the employee morale and their will to work in the company. It will eventually lead to work-related stress, which would disengage the employee from their work and company.
4. Job Creep
If the supervisor or manager is not careful with the tasks being assigned to their staff as a part of job enlargement, it can lead to job creep. Job creep is the phenomenon of adding more tasks to an employee’s work, which will lead to unrealistic and overwhelming work expectations. It will lead to work stress and burnout.
5. Probable Dissatisfaction
Dissatisfaction and disengagement are the direct by-products of all the disadvantages which we discussed above. Once the employee is dissatisfied with their work, they will soon become a liability for the company as they start underperforming in their daily work. They may even leave the organization due to burnout and disengagement.
To conclude, job enlargement is a double-edged sword. While it has multiple advantages for both the employee and the organization, it should be implemented with utmost precautions, as it can easily backfire on the company.
Hence, it is advisable to discuss with the staff and HR before undertaking job enlargement in your organization.