Job Enrichment - Meaning and its Benefits

Organizations are increasingly facing the heat of attrition, which is not good to health of the same. Lots of time, money and resources are spent into training an individual for a particular job and when he/she leaves the return on that investment equals null. Often it is not for the money that people leave; that may be the reason with the frontline staff but as we move towards the upper levels of organisational hierarchy, other reasons gain prominence. Many of those who quit their jobs complain of their jobs as uninteresting!

All this has compelled organisations to think of ways to make the job they offer interesting. Lots of efforts are made to keep monotony at bay; job enrichment is one of them. It is the process of making a job more interesting, challenging and satisfying for the employees. It can either be in the form of up gradation of responsibilities, increase in the range of influence and the challenges.

How does an Organisation Enrich a Job

Typically job enrichment involves combining various existing and new tasks into one large module of work. The work is then handed over to an employee, which means there is an increase in responsibilities and scope. This increase in responsibility is often vertical. The idea is to group various tasks together such that natural work units are created.

In addition expanding jobs vertically also gives employee direct control over works units and employees that were formerly under the jurisdiction of top management only. While on one hand this increases the ownership of the employees in their work, it also relieves the unnecessary burden from the top management.

Job enrichment also opens up a feedback channel for the employees. Employees are frequently apprised of their performance. This keeps them on track and helps them know their weak and strong points. Performance standards are set for the employees themselves and future performances are matched against the benchmarks. All this without any serious intervention or involvement of the top management!

In a certain bank that dealt with commercial credit letters for import and export trade, the employees processed the documents in a sequence with each employee being specialised for certain aspect of verification. Often it so happened that a mistake at preceding level lead to a series of mistakes at succeeding level. Errors accumulated at each level and this result in huge loss of productivity.

The organisation decided to go for job enrichment where each employee or clerk was specialised in all aspects of processing. Each employee was now able to handle a client on his own. After some time it was found out that the transaction volume increased by 100 percent!

Benefits of Job Enrichment

Research studies on job enrichment found out decreased levels of absenteeism among the employees, reduced employee turnover and a manifold increase in job satisfaction. There are certain cases however where job enrichment can lead to a decrease in productivity, especially when the employees have not been trained properly. Even after the training the process may not show results immediately, it takes time to reflect in the profit line.

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