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Designing jobs and job characteristics strategically to empower employee satisfaction and motivation is a central responsibility of management.
List the various core dimensions of strategic job design, along with the psychological states which accompany them
Job design is the process of specifying the contents, objectives, responsibilities, and relationships the job will fulfill or interact with.
Clever job design can be a highly motivating aspect of an employee's day-to-day operations. Effectively building motivation and satisfaction into the job design itself empowers positive employee behaviors.
Skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback are core components of effective job design.
If effectively designed, a job should induce the psychological states of meaningfulness, responsibility, and ownership of the results.
Job design is an important prerequisite to effective workplace motivation, as designing a job effectively can empower positive behaviors and create a strong infrastructure for employee success. Job design is specifying the contents, responsibilities, objectives, and relationships required to satisfy the expectations of the role. Understanding how to effectively design a job is a key managerial skill, with various models and theories to assist in pursuing this tactfully.
Job Characteristic Theory
Proposed by Hackman & Oldman in 1976, this theory underlines five critical characteristics job design should keep in mind, which satisfy three critical psychological states of the employee filling the role. The objective of this model is to generate intrinsic motivation, satisfaction, and performance while minimizing turnover.
Core Job Dimensions
Skill variety — Doing the same thing day in and day out gets tedious. The natural solution is designing jobs with enough variety to stimulate ongoing interest, growth, and satisfaction.
Task identity — Being part of a team is motivating, but so too is having ownership of a facet of the process. Having a clear understanding of what one is responsible for, and some degree of control over said task, is motivating.
Task significance — Being relevant to organizational success provides key motivation to completing the tasks at hand. Knowing one's importance tends to lead to satisfaction.
Autonomy — No one likes being micro-managed, and having some freedom to be the expert is critical to job satisfaction. Generally speaking, we hire individuals for their specialized knowledge. Giving specialists autonomy to make the right decisions is a win win.
Feedback — Finally, everyone needs objective feedback as to how they are doing and how they can do better. Providing well-constructed feedback with tangible outcomes is a key component of job design.
Experienced Meaningfulness - Through accomplishing the first three dimensions above, employees feel what they do is meaningful. This is a positive psychological state.
Experienced Responsibility - Dimension four brings about a sense of accountability, which is motivating.
Knowledge of Results - Dimension five provides a sense of progress, growth, and personal assessment. Understanding one's accomplishments is a healthy state of mind for motivation and satisfaction.
Job Design Techniques
As a motivational force in the organization, managers must consider how they can design jobs tactfully to create empowered, motivated, and satisfied employees. Here are a few established methods to accomplish this objective:
Job Rotation - As noted in the above model, it's not particularly motivating to do the exact same thing every day. As a result, rotating jobs and expanding the skill sets of employees accomplishes two objectives: increased employee satisfaction will and broader employee skill sets.
Job Enlargement (horizontal) - Zooming out a little, and granting employees the autonomy to assess the quality of their work, improve efficiency of their processes, and address mistakes often empowers satisfaction in the workplace.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards - Having autonomy is motivating, but particularly motivating when rewards are granted on the performance level. Consider a salesman. Receiving a commission on every sale motivates both performance and job satisfaction.
Job Enrichment (vertical) - As a manager, it is your responsibility to dedicate some (if not all) of your managerial planning to experienced employees as they grow into their roles. By giving over control of the employee's work task planning to the employees themselves, they feel a strong sense of progress in their career and ownership of their outcomes.
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