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What Is Job Enrichment and How Can It Benefit Your Company?

What Is Job Enrichment and How Can It Benefit Your Company?

Employees often experience burnout when performing the same tasks over an extended period. When this occurs, their productivity levels will inevitably drop. Rather than shuffling employees around to new positions, though, can engage them with job enrichment. Job enrichment can protect your company’s employees from burnout while motivating them to excel at their respective positions in the process. What is job enrichment exactly, and how can it benefit your company?

Overview of Job Enrichment

Job enrichment is the process of adding new tasks or dimensions to a job with a focus on making the job more enjoyable. The concept of job enrichment was pioneered by American psychologist and researcher Frederick Herzberg. During the late 1960s, Herzberg published a report describing the motivational benefits of job enrichment. According to Herzberg, employees are more motivated when they are given new tasks to perform.

Over the past half-century, more and more companies have begun to embrace job enrichment. This simple concept involves the “enrichment” of a job. You don’t necessarily move an employee from one job to another job. With job enrichment, you redesign the employee’s current job so that he or she has new tasks to perform in an enjoyable manner. Giving the new employee new duties and responsibilities will “enrich” his or her job.

Job Enrichment vs Job Enlargement: What’s the Difference?

Job enrichment isn’t the same as job enlargement. Job enlargement is a more generalized concept that involves adding tasks to an employee’s job. In comparison, job enrichment is a more focused concept that’s intended to make a job new and more enjoyable.

With that said, employees are often assigned new tasks with job enrichment as well. The difference is that job enrichment aims to improve employees’ level of satisfaction, whereas job enlargement does it. Job enlargement is all about increasing an employee’s workload with little or no regard to the employee’s level of satisfaction. Companies may use job enlargement during periods of downsizing or other financial hardship.

Motivation

How can job enrichment benefit your company? For starters, your company’s employees will be more motivated if you use job enrichment. A study published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that job enrichment increases the “motivating potential of work.” Dozens of factors can make an employee less motivated to excel at his or her job, one of which is repetition. Performing the same tasks over and over often results in a loss of motivation. Job enrichment is an effective solution. It gives employees new, as well as enjoyable, tasks to perform so that they stay motivated.

Develop New Skills

Employees will have the opportunity to develop new skills with job enrichment. Depending on what tasks you assign an employee, he or she may develop new hard skills and/or new soft skills. All tasks require skills. Some of them require hard skills, whereas others require soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills. Soft skills are interpersonal and communication-related skills. With job enrichment, employees will have new and enjoyable tasks to perform, thereby allowing them to develop new skills that would otherwise not be possible. If a new position opens at your company, employees may have the skills necessary for it, assuming you embrace job enrichment.

Accuracy

Another way job enrichment can benefit your company is by improving the accuracy of employees’ work. In its study, the BLS found that employees weren’t just more motivated with job enrichment; they were more accurate as well. In other words, employees are less likely to make mistakes with job enrichment. All employees make mistakes. Those who are given new and enjoyable tasks, though, are typically less likely to make mistakes than their counterparts who perform the same repetitive tasks.

Burnout Prevention

Job enrichment, of course, lowers the risk of burnout. Burnout is a form of job-related stress that’s characterized by physical and/or mental exhaustion. It’s typically caused by repetition. When performing the same tasks over and over, employees suffer from burnout. Fortunately, job enrichment can protect employees from burnout. It gives employees new duties and responsibilities, thereby forcing them to approach their job from a different angle.

Fewer Turnovers

Because of its positive impact on motivation, job enrichment can lower your company’s turnover rate. Employees may quit their jobs if they don’t feel motivated. After all, motivation is what drives employees to work. Job enrichment boosts motivation so that employees are less likely to quit. With new tasks assigned to them, employees will have a stronger desire to work. In turn, your company’s turnover rate will decrease.

Job enrichment isn’t something that many employers think about. They only acknowledge the importance of this concept when their employees’ performance suffers. By implementing job enrichment, your company can benefit in several ways. It motivates employees, allows employees to develop new skills, increases the accuracy of employees’ work, protects against burnout and promotes a lower turnover rate.

Brent Hermansen