Job enrichment done right

The time has come to consider doing some spring cleaning in the office, and I’m not talking about mopping and dusting.

Employees get bored doing the same job for months, years, and sometimes decades on end. Obvious solutions to this boredom are promotions and pay raises, but in some instances, these are not an ideal course of action. A vastly underused option in this scenario is job enrichment programs. Job enrichment programs aim to reduce repetition and allow workers to expand their roles.

Here are three steps to developing a good job enrichment program.

Step #1. Investigate the areas where employees are dissatisfied. A good way to start is by asking workers about their tasks and listening for any ideas about how work life could be improved. Reserved employees could be thinking about trying their hand at something but are uncertain about the opportune time to request taking on new tasks. Other employees, however, may be happy exactly where they are. After you’ve gathered the necessary information, you can move on to restructuring positions.

Step #2. Decide which job enrichment options you’re able to offer each employee. Your plan could include job rotation, a new work team assignment, or participation in upper levels of management. Are there several new tasks you think the employee would be good at, or just a few additions you’d like to make to his or her job description? A range of new tasks should be introduced, but you’ll want to avoid putting too much on the employee’s plate. Also, you’ll need to decide whether to make changes to an entire department or whether there are only a few positions you believe need to be revamped. The goal here is to be innovative but practical.

Step #3. Develop a communication plan. If you’re looking to make big changes, then you need to let all involved know when the adjustments will take place. Schedule departmental level meetings and clearly explain which employees are going to be responsible for which new tasks. The optimal way to implement job enrichment is to do so in phases. By making changes over a period of time, rather than all at once, you avoid upsetting the balance of your team. Monitor your efforts by asking employees to check in with you and let you know if their new responsibilities are contributing to their job satisfaction. A few brief meaningful conversations with individual employees should be sufficient.

When done right, job enrichment restructures a position so that it remains challenging, which allows employees to continue their learning in the workplace. The changes made should reduce repetitiveness, create new opportunities, and allow employees to grow. A major advantage of this strategy is that it can take a lot of stress off upper-level management as tasks are assumed by subordinates. Also, when employees are trusted to take on greater responsibilities, they’ll be more motivated to stay with your organization.

In summary, job enrichment allows team members to feel valuable and cared for, which will increase job contentment.


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