Job enrichment is a process in which the existing job is bettered and made motivating by adding more dimensions to it. Also known as job enlargement, some examples of job enrichment include adding more interactive tasks to the work-life of employees, including skill development, that helps them in career progression.
The purpose of job enrichment is to make the existing work-life of employees more motivating. This makes a boring job more interesting by adding extra tasks in the employee’s life according to his/her needs and interest.
The key reason to invest in job enrichment is that it helps in enhancing job engagement and motivation. It has been studied that job enrichment is especially important for white-collar workers. They need something to stay motivated in their jobs.
On the other hand, the blue-collar workers don’t care for it much. For them, the priority is always the salary, job security, and every policy provided by the company.
The objective of Job Enrichment
Job enrichment entails vertical loading, giving more challenges and tasks to employees, and ensuring that the job is enhanced in such a way that it motivates employees to work harder and increases their productivity and efficiency. It’s based on the concept that in order to motivate a person, the job itself should provide them with the chance to grow, develop their skills, and achieve recognition.
The basic objective of job enrichment is to motivate employees to work to their peak capability whilst being happy and satisfied with the kind of work they are doing. It’s very crucial that every employee is tasked with jobs related to their field and likings, this will help in engaging them with the job and thus reducing absenteeism.
Job enrichment VS Job enlargement
Job enlargement is the increase in tasks by extending job responsibilities. On the other hand, contrary to job enlargement, where the amount of control is heightened, job enlargement solely focuses on adding tasks to the job role of an employee, without increasing control or autonomy.
Thus, job enlargement allows an employee to do more, improve their skill-sets, and progress in career.
An example of job enlargement is an office secretary who is given the additional tasks of handling the guests on special occasions. At first, he/she will enjoy the task as it gives them a break from their daily mundane routine. But the problem with job enlargement is that it diminishes over time.
Once the novelty wears off, soon the secretary will find the extra work troublesome, and he/she will lose interest in the job. The continuous increase in the workload of job enlargement is called job creep. This situation occurs when an employee is continuously getting burdened with additional tasks, leading to work overload.
Advantages of Job Enrichment:
When the employees’ responsibility increases, they will get to learn more and more about different fields inevitably, which in turn will help them to sharpen their skills.
For example, if an employee has the job of making a decision on which products should be displayed in the organization’s newsletter, they will also infer the knowledge of the testing procedure of the product, pricing and placement, and other details related to the product. This helps the employees in enhancing their skills.
Break from the monotonous schedule
Nowadays, employees easily get bored with their monotonous work schedule. Job enrichment allows the employees to learn new things every day, thus reducing their boredom with mundane work-schedule. Additionally, job enrichment also allows the employees to extend their horizons and learn new things apart from their job descriptions.
Job enrichment allows employees to know their weaknesses and strengths. Any employee who surpasses the tasks given to him/her will gain tremendous recognition from the company, and might also receive incentives, awards, or promotion for a job well done.
When the manager gives extra responsibility or tasks to the employees, they feel that they’re valued and trusted. This motivates them and encourages them to work harder to meet the expectations. As a result, absenteeism also reduces, thereby profiting the company.
Disadvantages of Job enrichment:
While there are plenty of advantages and benefits connected to job enrichment, there are some shortcomings too such as-
While almost everyone likes the opportunity to grow and succeed, sometimes job enrichment can become tedious as there is additional work attached on top of the existing regular work.
Additional required skills
It’s quite evident that when a company gives an additional task to an employee, along with growth, the burden also increases. Handling the day-to-day tasks are hectic for employees as it is, on top of that, getting additional tasks for which, they will have to learn new skill-sets, become very tedious and tiresome.
With time it will also affect the company as the employee will end up losing interest in the work, ultimately failing the job enrichment purpose.
Lack of knowledge
More times than we would think, job enrichment turns out to be harmful for the organization in terms of growth, and usually this is because the employees are incompetent or lack the skills required to complete the tasks.
For example, if an employee is being assigned extra work to enrich their job, there is a high chance they won’t complete the extra task because of their lack of knowledge about it.
Working under pressure is an important skill and trait that not many people inherit. Having said that, it is obvious that when a company loads an employee with additional tasks to enrich their jobs, there is a chance that they won’t be able to complete it in due time due to the pressure of working extra hours.
When it comes to job enrichment, there are many problems that can be faced by a company. There could be a communication gap or miscommunication between the employer and the employee or the employee and the client. And such kind of miscommunication might look insignificant, but in the long haul, can run a company into the ground.
Therefore, it is very essential that the communication lines between both parties should be horizontal and clear to avoid such petty mistakes.
Unfavorable for the employee
There are many circumstances that come to light when the term job enrichment is used. Given the advantages that come with it, there are employees who don’t have the luxury of extra time to develop their skills and grow.
If an employee works on a minimum-wage salary, he/she would not want to waste their extra time doing work just for their skill development.
In fact, there is a chance that they might feel that they’re being used by a company for extra manual labor. Having such negative feedback from the employees can put a huge dent in the company’s name.
Thus, it is very crucial that before enriching the job role of an employee, the employer should make sure that the employee is happily on board with it. Otherwise, it is an effort completely down the drain.
Lack of performance
As it has been made clear in the above pointers that once an employee is tasked with a job they are not skilled for, things start going downhill for both the employee and the company. To learn the new work, the employee will have to put in extra hours to learn the required skill-sets. This can result in the employee losing their talent where they used to excel earlier.
Characteristics of Job Enrichment:
When a worker serves a customer or a client directly, he/she has an enriched job. The customer or client can either be from the same company or from outside.
There should be clear-cut and straight feedback on every employee’s performance. Employees should have the benefit of immediately knowing what they’re doing right and where they can improve. The performance evaluation can be inbuilt or can be provided by the team leader or manager.
Scheduling own work
The ability to schedule one’s own work bestows enrichment. Planning a schedule of which task is to be done when is an example of self- scheduling. Employees who work a routine job normally don’t get this flexibility, whereas employees who are into creative fields can schedule their own calendars.
Job enrichment enables an employee to learn more. The employees should feel that their career progression graph is improving by saying in the organization.
Control over resources
One characteristic of job enrichment is that the employees should have control over their expenses and resources.
Job enrichment offers unique features or qualities as opposed to other jobs.
Job enrichment holds the person concerned with the results. The employee who has done the work will be held accountable and receive feedback accordingly.
Direct communication authority
The employee who has an enriched job has the right to directly to the clients who use his/her output.
Stages of Job Enrichment:
When it comes to job enrichment, there are 5 main stages involved, which are as follows-
A job role having numerous tasks should be broken down into fewer tasks to make it smooth for the employees to get the satisfaction of significance, identity, and variety. Doing the same task every day does not provide job satisfaction to many employees as they feel they’re not growing.
Creating a natural work unit
During the process of combining tasks, efforts should be taken to create a neutral work unit, as it helps in distinguishing between the jobs. Employees prefer being assigned a task that they can understand and perform easily.
If they are given an unchartered territory, instead of boosting their confidence, they will start feeling like a fresher. Thus, it is very essential that employees should be assigned the tasks which they find relevant and interesting.
Establishing a relationship
The third stage in job enrichment is comprised of establishing a relationship between the employee and the management, employees and social institution, and employees and an outside organization.
If the tasks done by the employees are recognized socially, it motivates them to work harder. Feedback is crucial as it deepens the bond between the employee and every manager, thus strengthening the bond of the employee with the organization.
Expanding job vertically
The quality and depth expansion of a job role is known as job enrichment. It enhances an employee’s performance, avenue, growth, recognition, and other opportunities that are lying hidden under the vertical line of a job role.
Opening feedback channels
Job enrichment provides an open platform for employees for sharing their views. The management is informed of the uses of their decisions and policies. Similarly, employees are given regular feedback on their performances.
They get to know where they are excelling and where they are lacking. This helps the employees in improving themselves and working on their skill development.
Barriers to job enrichment:
There are certain barriers that can pose as limitations to job enrichment, some of them are as follows-
The HR system
The HR managers may also have formalized work with a proper job description which prevents them from having job enrichment. Additionally, the roles may be conducted in a way of collective labor agreements or labor unions. Changing the job description completely just to attain job enrichment is impossible in such cases.
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The technical system
Existing teams in the company itself can sometimes prevent the job from being enriched. An example is the IT team. In this department, there is only a single task assigned to everyone, and you can’t enrich the job as it won’t be possible practically.
The supervisory system
To intervene in a successful HR always requires initiative and participation from the management team. The supervision team can be a major hold-up when it comes to task completion, granting autonomy, and feedback. A control freak manager is surely a given way to fail to achieve job enrichment as they take time and intervene in everything.
The control system
Production reports, accounting practices, and budget cuts can also stand in the way of job enrichment, where organizational departments may also be involved. Usually, the department handling the clients is the sales department, and to make the best relationship with clients, there is always an internal competition.
Due to this, there are fewer chances of job enrichment as they are focused only on one task.
Another important factor involved in job enrichment is the individual motivation of employees. Job enrichment will only be successful when the employee has the desire and willingness to learn new things and grow.
However, job enrichment for low-wage employees won’t work out as they will get frustrated performing additional tasks for little salary.
Thus, by reading the above-detailed guide, it is evident that job enrichment is used to expand the scope of the future of every employee by giving them additional tasks that require different skills. But having said that, it is very crucial to know where and when job enrichment should be applied as it comes with its drawbacks.
On one hand, people who want to learn more and progress in their will definitely see the benefits and advantages attached to job enrichment, as opposed to employees who see it as a burden and not a means of growth.