Blog·Company Culture

February 6, 2020

How can you utilize job enrichment to improve employee engagement?

Is there a way to utilize job enrichment to improve employee engagement? YES. Job enrichment is a great way to build an engaged workforce.

What is job enrichment?

Job enrichment is a well-researched and effective method of motivating employees. The strategy is to motivate employees by giving them tasks which are interesting and challenging, and as such require more skill. Put simply, it is making someone’s role or job more interesting for them by enhancing the tasks which make up their role – ‘enriching the role’. It is thought that through enrichment, an individual will find their role more engaging, rewarding and interesting.

Job enrichment as a managerial strategy includes a three-step process. Let’s go through it.

Job Enrichment - definition

1. Translate employee effort into improved performance.

  • Aligning employees with the company’s vision. Ensure that objectives are understood and defined.
  • Provide necessary resources and tools for employees to give them the best opportunity to perform.
  • Open communication
  • Providing functional and technical skill improvement opportunities.
  • Provide freedom in job roles.
  • Provide recognition and appreciation.
  • Provide job role variety.

Job Enrichment - translate effort into performance

2. Connect performance directly to reward.

  • Define what ‘reward’ entails.
  • Coherent information and explanation of how performance translates into a reward.
  • Make sure reward is incremental with performance so that the better the performance, the greater the reward.
  • If reward is not given, an explanation is needed.

Job Enrichment - connect performance to reward

3. Is the reward wanted?

  • Ask the employee.
  • Use surveys.

The history of job enrichment

Job enrichment dates back to 1968 and the American psychologist, Frederick Herzberg. He released an article called ‘One more time: how do you motivate employees?’. In it, he advocated enhancing individual jobs to make them more challenging and rewarding. This provided the basis for job enrichment research. Herzberg added to his theory, citing a number of important motivators to make a given job more exciting, challenging and rewarding, subsequently enhancing the job and improving performance. The motivators are:

  1. Giving greater freedom.
  2. Encouraging participation.
  3. Allowing more wiggle room for employees to choose the pace at which they work.
  4. Allowing workers to choose the tools they need to work.
  5. Allowing employees to choose the method of their working.
  6. Providing employees, the opportunity to decide the layout of the office.

Job Enrichment - job motivators

As you can tell job enrichment gives a great deal of freedom to the employee. But with this increase of freedom, comes an increase in individual responsibility. For some workers this will be great, and for others, not so much.

Advantages of job enrichment

Let’s go through some of the advantages of job enrichment. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to try out job enrichment:

Job Enrichment - advantages

Learn new skills – With a successful job enrichment strategy in place, the employee is likely to have greater opportunities to learn and develop new skills. The employee will also have a chance to increase knowledge in pre-existing areas of skill.

Reduce boredom – As has been discussed, job enrichment enhances the challenges and interest associated with a job role. It then follows that boredom will be negated as the job becomes more enriched.

Creates a better, more positive workplace – Job enrichment strategy has a good association with creating a positive work environment. A positive workplace has a bi-directional relationship with engagement and motivation. The more positive a workplace, the more engaged the workforce. The more engaged the workforce, the more positive the workplace.

Reduces absenteeism – Why would you not want to come to work if you actually enjoyed it? By making word more interesting and engaging, employees are more likely to come in.

Boosts motivation and engagement – By making tasks interesting and challenging, employees will become more engaged with their work. Further as a by-product of creating a more positive workplace, employees will not only enjoy their work, but enjoy being at work with their colleagues!

How can you utilise job enrichment to improve employee engagement?

Job enrichment - improve engagement

So, we’ve given you the definition, the history and the advantages of job enrichment. When it comes to employee engagement, how can you utilise job enrichment to profit from more employee engagement. Here are some techniques which you might want to implement…

Education, training and mentoring

To really grasp all the benefits of job enrichment, you need to offer opportunities for education and training for the employee to take. Employees appreciate the opportunity to widen their skills and you continue training your workforce.

You could also assign a more senior employee to mentor the employee who is going through job enrichment.

Responsibility and freedom

It’s been a common theme in this blog, providing more responsibility and freedom via job enrichment. It’s easy to say, but it’s harder to do. Make sure that throughout the job enrichment process, you continue to provide your employees with greater freedom and responsibility. When an employee feels trusted by an organization they gain motivation and feel more engaged.

Career Development

Aligning career development with job enrichment is a strategy which will ensure improvements in employee engagement. Although job enrichment should lead to a broadening of skills, aligning career development will boost motivation, engagement and give the employee a sense of purpose at the organization. Have a look at our employee development plan to generate some ideas.

👉 Click here to listen to our webcast discussing employee development

Vertical Job Loading

Vertical job loading is a term coined by Herzberg describing how to enrich a position. To enrich a given position, you have to first determine the changes that will be made. It is also important to determine the timeline of changes. Do not, I repeat do not, make all the changes to a position immediately, this is likely to cause too heavy a workload for an individual. Once you have determined the potential changes, it is recommended to follow these principles to select which changes you will make:

Job Enrichment - vertical job loading

  1. Increasing accountability of an individual
  2. Giving additional authority to an individual
  3. Giving greater transparency to an individual
  4. Introducing new and more challenging tasks to an individual
  5. Giving an individual specific task to increase skill areas

Further Reading

Related articles from our blog, read on

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