Job Enrichment – Motivation by Enriching Jobs

Fredrick Herzberg gave greater emphasis on job enrichment in his two factor theory. He assumed that in order to motivate personnel, the job must be designed to provide opportunities for achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement and growth. This technique entails enriching the job so that these factors are included.

It simply means, adding a few more motivators to job to make it more rewarding. A job is enriched when the nature of the job is made more exciting, challenging and creative or gives the job holder more decision making, planning and controlling powers.

According to Beatty and Schneider, “Job enrichment is a motivational technique which emphasizes the need for challenging and interesting and interesting work. It suggests that jobs be redesigned so that intrinsic satisfaction is derived from doing the job. In its best applications, it leads to a vertically enhanced job by adding functions from other organizational levels, making it contain more variety and challenge and offer autonomy and pride to the employee”.

Job enrichment is thus, an important practice in meeting “whole man” needs. It represents a new and popular non-monetary motivational technique. It applies to improvement of job in such a way that it has more motivators than before and at the same time maintaining the degree of maintenance factors.

Characteristics of an Enriched Job

According to Herzberg, an enriched job has eight characteristics. These characteristics are as explained below:

  1. Direct Feed Back: There should be a direct feed back of the employees performance. Employees should be able to get immediate knowledge of the results they are achieving. The job evaluation can be inbuilt in the job or provided by a supervisor.
  2. Client Relationships: When an employee serves a client or customer directly, he has an enriched job. The client can be outside the organization or inside.
  3. New Learning: An enriched job allows the employee to learn more. He should feel that he is growing mentally. An employee, who is doing some intellectual work, is having an enriched job.
  4. Scheduling Own Work: Freedom to schedule one’s own work contributes to enrichment. Deciding when to tackle which assignment is an example of self scheduling. Employees who perform creative work have more opportunity to schedule their assignments as compared to employees performing routine jobs.
  5. Unique Experience: An enriched job has some unique qualities or features as compared to the other jobs.
  6. Control Over Resources: One approach to job enrichment is that each employee should have control over his own resources and expenses.
  7. Direct Communication Authority: An employee holding the enriched job will be allowed to communicate directly with people who used his output.
  8. Personal Accountability: An enriched job holds the incumbent responsible for the results. He receives praise for good work and blame for poor work.

From the above features of job enrichment we conclude that the management should take the following measures to enrich the job:

  • Give sufficient freedom to the employees in deciding about work methods, pace, sequence etc.
  • Increase responsibility
  • Encourage participation
  • Provide feedback to the employees.
  • Make the personnel understand how tasks contribute to a finished product of the enterprise.
  • Give adequate benefits to the employees. Management should provide extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to the employees depending upon their motivational patterns.
  • Management should provide adequate welfare measures to the employees. People should perceive that management is sincere and caring about them.

Advantages of Job Enrichment

Job enrichment is a very useful technique to motivate employees. The advantages of job enrichment are as follows:

  • In the routine jobs, the employees find their jobs very boring and monotonous. The number of such employees is generally considerable. The frustration of these employees can be removed by making the job interesting with the job enrichment.
  • Job enrichment helps in reducing the rates of employee turnover and absenteeism.
  • Job enrichment motivates the employees intrinsically by giving them opportunities for growth advancement and self realization.
  • Task enforcement is made easy with the help of job enrichment and the skills of workers are increased.
  • The enriched jobs give more job satisfaction to the employees.
  • Job enrichment is advantageous to the organization as there is qualitative as well as quantitative improvement in output and there is higher satisfaction of the workers.
  • Employees tend to be more creative when they work in an enriching context of complex and challenging jobs.

Limitations of Job Enrichment

As job enrichment is based on the two factor theory given by Herzberg, the same criticism of the two factor theory applies to it also. Some problems arise when job enrichment is actually applied in practice. Moreover, it does not offer the results as anticipated. The limitations of job enrichment are as follows:

  • The first basic problem is that majority of workers do not want the type of changes which are introduced by job enrichment. They do not really want challenging jobs, as the basic human tendency is to shirk responsibility. Workers put wages and job security above all.
  • Job enrichment is basically limited to the unskilled and semiskilled jobs. Jobs of highly skilled professionals already contain many challenging elements. As such there is no scope of applying job enrichment in their cases.
  • Technology may not permit the enrichment of all the jobs. With specialized machinery, tasks and processes, it may not be possible to make the jobs very meaningful.
  • Job enrichment is a highly costly affair. In most of the cases, the cost involved is more than the gains in productivity.
  • Sometimes, the employees may prefer to have job enrichment but may not have the necessary capabilities and qualifications to meet the new challenges.
  • In the short run, job enrichment may have negative effects. After an increase in job responsibility, it is not unusual for organizations to experience a drop in productivity, as workers become accustomed to the new systems. In the long run, however, there will be increased productivity.
  • People being bored in their jobs, it is likely, therefore, that after a period of time they will become bored in their enriched jobs also. Thus, enrichment may become static after some time and additional enrichment will be required.
  • There is, generally, a tendency on the part of the management to impose job enrichment on workers rather than applying it with their consent; it will have a negative impact on the employees.
  • The top managers and personnel, generally apply, their own scale of values of challenge and accomplishment to other people’s personalities this evokes more resistance from workers.

Despite these limitations, job enrichment is a valuable motivational technique, but management must use it selectively and give proper recognition to the complex human and situational variables.

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