Job Design Practices and Performance Management

An organization’s performance largely depends upon the HRM practices of which one of the major components is the job design practices. Organizations like Imation, Xerox, etc, motivate their employees by designing challenging and interesting jobs. Job designing is the process of assigning tasks to a particular job by equally considering the interdependency of those tasks with the other jobs. Job design practices can influence the work motivation and the performance of the employees by increasing the work efficiency through job specialization. These practices have evolved and are in a state of constant change due to the changes in the business environment, increased role of information technology, workforce flexibility and technological changes.

The Job Characteristics Model suggests a framework of how effective job design practices can lead to improved work motivation and satisfaction of employees thereby leading to improved organizational performance.

Job Characteristics Model

Source: Work Redesign by J.R. Hackman and G.Oldham

According to the job characteristics model, employees will remain motivated and satisfied if the jobs satisfy the following characteristics:

  1. Skill Variety: Refers to the extent to which the employees use different skills and talents for performing different tasks for fulfilling the requirements of a job.

  2. Task Identity: Refers to the extent to which a job can be completed as a whole or can be completed in identifiable piece of work.

  3. Task Significance: Refers to the degree to which a job has an impact on the organization or on the society.

  4. Autonomy: Jobs having a high degree of autonomy offer tremendous freedom in fulfilling the task requirements.

  5. Job Feedback: Refers to the extent to which the employees provide a feedback about how well are they performing their jobs based on their experiences in the job.

Job design need not necessarily increase the work motivation of the employees as it is affected by the individual differences. Factors such as employee competence, their satisfaction with their work environment and their growth needs influence the motivation level of the employees.

Job design strategies which improve work motivation:

  1. Job Rotation: It is a form of job design practice in which the employees are moved from one job to another. Job rotation helps in reducing job boredom and help in developing a flexible workforce. Job rotation creates multi skilled employees.

  2. Job Enlargement: It is about increasing the number of tasks in a job for an employee. It helps in improving work efficiency and flexibility.

  3. Job Enrichment: It occurs when the employees are entrusted with additional responsibilities for scheduling, coordinating and planning their own work.

  4. Alternative Work Schedule options: Designing work schedule according to the convenience of the employees so that they can balance their work time and personal time. These may be in the form of:

    • Compressed work weeks: This implies reducing the number of working days by keeping the number of hours of work the same.
    • Shorter workweek: This means reducing the working hours per week, say from 40 hours to 35 hours.
    • Flexitime: Allowing employees with flexible scheduling options wherein they decide their arrival and departure time from their organization.
    • Telecommuting: Allows the employee to perform their jobs through computers which is linked with their offices.





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