Job Enlargement and Enrichment
Job enrichment is a managerial concept that involves redesigning job tasks so that an employee has more tasks usually reserved for higher-level employees. The re-designing of the job description often involves removing repetitive tasks and providing tasks that are more challenging to the employees. The premise behind this concept is that the new high-level tasks as well as the flexibility granted in undertaking them will motivate the self-driven employees to work even harder.
Job enrichment brings about job satisfaction in the employees thereby increasing their productivity. Employees generally feel like they are making a meaningful contribution in the workplace and that the superiors and fellow co-workers appreciate their presence when they are assigned these special tasks. By removing the feeling of repetitiveness, job enrichment also opens gateways for increased productivity.
On the other hand, job enlargement refers to simply increasing the number of tasks that employees need to carry out without changing the challenging aspect of the job. Job enlargement increases job satisfaction by giving the employee more work to undertake. It also provides motivation and job satisfaction by reversing the tendency towards specialization in the workplace.
However, job enlargement is seen to be less effective in increasing job satisfaction in employees as compared to job enrichment. The job enrichment method is seen as a vertical restructuring measure while the job enlargement is seen as a horizontal restructuring measure. Job enrichment involves increasing the employees’ control, autonomy, and authority over projects while job enlargement primarily focuses on increasing the employees’ tasks without affecting these core components of job structure. Enriching a person’s job is a demonstration of respect for the employee and shows that the employer is interested in the professional growth of the employee. In return, the employee will work harder, be more loyal and dedicated to the company, and ensure that his productivity levels are constantly impressive.
I have had first-hand experience with the benefits of job enrichment in a work setting. After three months of working as a waitress at the local pizza restaurant, I was informed that I would be taking stock at the end of every work day. The employer had given me extra responsibility around the restaurant and it made me feel proud about the work I was doing. I had not realized that my superiors were noticing my work until I received the additional responsibilities. Taking stock was a big step in the restaurant as most of the other individuals who had previously been assigned the role had been promoted to restaurant managers within a year in the restaurant. I was more dedicated to my work as a result and ensured that I did everything perfectly so as not to disappoint my employer.
Job enrichment is recommended in situations where the company has highly motivated workers who are self-driven and are constantly looking for new challenges. The technique is also recommended when the company wants to retain top talent especially if the company has invested time and effort in the training of these individuals. Job enrichment can be instrumental in reducing employee turnover as well as increasing innovation in the company as a result of the employees’ commitment to the organization (Wall, Wood, & Leach, 2004).
Job enlargement is applicable when the organization deems it necessary to improve the skill set of a number of employees. In addition, it is seen as a cost reduction measure for the short term by reducing the number of employees, as a small number can be able to carry out all the tasks required in the company. The employees gain a wider range of experience and are able to carry out more tasks thereby eradicating the need for more employees to be hired into the company.
Wall, T.D., Wood, S., Leach, D. (2004). Empowerment and performance. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 19 (8).