In organizational development (OD), work design is a tool that can be used to make companies run efficiently and be productive. The aims of work design are to improve job satisfaction, to improve through-put, to improve quality, and to reduce employee problems.
Tactics of Job Design
- Employee Engagement: Employee engagement can be defined as a positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and its value. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. The organization must work to develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between employer and employee.
- Job Specialization: Job specialization involves breaking down tasks to their simplest components and assigning them to employees so that each person would perform fewer tasks. The skill requirements of the jobs and the effort and cost of staffing decreases, and training times for simple, repetitive jobs tend to be shorter as well. On the other hand, these jobs are boring and repetitive and can lead to absenteeism.
- Job Rotation: Job rotation involves moving employees from job to job at regular intervals. The monotonous aspects of job specialization can thus be relieved. Using this technique the company is able to reduce turnover. Job rotation is an effective way for employees to acquire new skills and in turn for organizations to increase the overall skill level of their employees. When workers move to different positions, they are cross-trained to perform different tasks, thereby increasing the flexibility of managers to assign employees to different parts of the organization when needed.
- Job enlargement:Job enlargementrefers to expanding the tasks performed by employees to add more variety. By giving employees several different tasks to be performed, as opposed to limiting their activities to a small number of tasks, organizations hope to reduce boredom and monotony as well as utilize human resources more effectively. Research indicates that when jobs are enlarged, employees view themselves as being capable of performing a broader set of tasks.
Job Characteristics Model
The job characteristics model details five core job dimensions, leading to three critical psychological states that, in turn, lead to work-related outcomes. It is one of the most influential attempts to design jobs with increased motivational properties. These five dimensions are:
- Skill variety: Skill variety refers to the extent to which the job requires a person to utilize multiple high-level skills. A car wash employee whose job consists of directing customers into the automated car wash demonstrates low levels of skill variety, whereas a car wash employee who acts as a cashier, maintains car wash equipment, and manages the inventory of chemicals demonstrates high skill variety.
- Task identity: Task identity refers to the degree to which a person is in charge of completing an identifiable piece of work from start to finish. A web designer who designs parts of a web site will have low task identity, because the work blends in with other Web designers' work; in the end it will be hard for any one person to claim responsibility for the final output. The Web master who designs an entire Web site will have high task identity.
- Task significance: Task significance refers to whether a person's job substantially affects other people's work, health, or well-being. A janitor who cleans the floors at an office building may find the job low in significance, thinking it is not a very important job. However, janitors cleaning the floors at a hospital may see their role as essential in helping patients get better. When they feel that their tasks are significant, employees tend to feel that they are making an impact on their environment, and their feelings of self-worth are boosted.
- Autonomy: Autonomy is the degree to which a person has the freedom to decide how to perform his or her tasks. Autonomy increases motivation at work, but it also has other benefits. Giving employees autonomy at work is a key to individual as well as company success, because autonomous employees are free to choose how to do their jobs and therefore can be more effective.
- Feedback: Feedback refers to the degree to which people learn how effective they are being at work. Feedback at work may come from other people, such as supervisors, peers, subordinates, and customers, or it may come from the job itself.
The presence of these five core job dimensions leads employees to experience three psychological states: They view their work as meaningful, they feel responsible for the outcomes, and they acquire knowledge of results. These three psychological states in turn are related to positive outcomes such as overall job satisfaction, internal motivation, higher performance, and lower absenteeism and turnover.