Job Design

Who decides how many people should be working in a certain role in a company? How do businesses decide on the types of roles that should be created within the organisation? These types of questions are often addressed by human resource (HR) managers when they work on job design. Want to find out more? Read on!

Job Design Job Design

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Table of contents

    Job design meaning

    Job design is all about making sure that each job has the right tasks and responsibilities assigned. It also looks at how different jobs in a company work together. HR managers make sure each job is set up so it can be done well and easily and that is a good fit for the person doing it.

    Job design is the process of specifying the duties and responsibilities that will be included in employees' roles. Human Resource (HR) managers aim is to design work duties specific to the individual so that it allows the employee to maximise their performance and stay engaged and motivated.

    Elements of job design

    The main elements of job design that HR managers are concerned with include:

    • Tasks that employees are expected to perform in the set time.

    • Motivation - the jobs should be designed in a way that brings motivation to employees to do their job.

    • Resource allocation - the company should allocate their resources effectively and efficiently to the specific job role, as appropriately allocated resources can influence innovation.

    • Reward systems - both monetary and non-monetary rewards should be incorporated into the job design as they can motivate employees to perform better.

    To motivate employees, a job role should include a clear sense of direction for employees to follow and grow within the company.

    Job design, Key elements, StudySmarterFig. 1 - Key elements of job design

    Techniques of job design

    The four key techniques (aspects) of job design include:

    • Job simplification - This means splitting one big task into smaller parts. This is to keep employees motivated as tasks will not be seen as too challenging.

    • Job rotation - This is the process in which employees are shifted from one duty to another; this technique aims to make employees multiskilled and be able to perform various roles and duties in the company.

    • Job enrichment - This technique allows employees to have more authority and accountability in the organisation. The job Enrichment technique is aimed at employees to feel more important and fulfilled.

    • Job enlargement - This is when more duties and tasks are added to the job role horizontally, meaning that even though the variety of duties and tasks will increase the employees will stay at the same hierarchical level. This technique is put in place to increase employees’ engagement in their current roles, become more multiskilled and avoid boredom.

    Job design, Aspects, StudySmarterFig. 2 - Key aspects of job design

    Importance of job design

    Job design is important for every organisation, as each designed job is guidance that employees will follow when performing their role.

    An effectively designed job communicates all the duties involved in the role clearly to employees so that they understand their responsibilities and expectations.

    A well-designed job should be structured following key elements that involve task, motivation, resource allocation and rewards. Also should incorporate techniques such as job rotation, job simplification, job enrichment, and job enlargement. The structure and techniques incorporated in the job design will help to increase employees’ motivation, skills and maximise their performance.

    The key benefit of a well-designed job is that it will have a positive impact on organisational goals and objectives. Motivated and skilled employees are more likely to achieve set targets.

    On the other hand, poorly designed jobs can bring negative results to the company.

    If the duties that are listed in the job description are unclear, involve too many or too few tasks, it will make employees’ jobs chaotic, inefficient and boring.

    If techniques such as job rotation, enrichment and enlargement are not put in place employees may feel demotivated to perform the same duties every day, which can lead to low-performance rates and high staff turnover.

    Job design process

    The job design process is aimed to guide HR managers to design effective jobs that will assist in maximising employees’ performance, increase their engagement and avoid repetitive and boring tasks.

    The job design process follows key steps. They are:

    1. First managers need to decide what important content will be displayed on the job description

    2. Then managers need to consider skills and techniques that are required to perform a job

    3. Managers need to decide on the job length if the job can be done in full time or part-time hours. The working hours must be set precisely as that will cost money to the organisation. For example, If the job can be done in part-time hours but the company sets full-time hours for it, the company will be wasting money paying a full-time salary for unnecessary hours.

    4. Managers should try and avoid listing tasks that can be done by machines.

    5. There should be no occurring conflicts with other jobs.

    6. Establishing relationships in the organisation that job role will involve. For example, employees working in the marketing department will require to have some sort of relationship with colleagues working in the same department.

    Job design, Process, StudySmarterFig. 3 - Job design process

    The techniques such as job rotation, job simplification, job enrichment and job enlargement should also be incorporated in the job ensign process to make the jobs more motivating for employees and allow them to learn additional skills. After following this process managers should be able to design an effective job.

    Models of job design

    This section will cover models of the job design from the theoretical perspective. The key models of job design involve Taylorism, the Socio-technical systems approach, and the job characteristics model.

    Job design, Models, StudySmarterFig. 4 - Models of job design

    Taylorism

    This job design model includes scientific methods and mainly focuses on efficiency. Taylorism is also referred to as scientific management.

    There are key principles that managers should follow when designing a job according to this model. These principles are:

    • Designing a standard method to perform the job role that was scientifically proven to be the most efficient

    • Hiring workers who can do the job effectively and efficiently

    • Incorporating effective employees’ training plans that will involve teaching them how to perform their tasks in the most efficient way possible.

    • Supporting workers so that they are motivated and performing up to the set expectations

    Socio-technical systems approach

    Socio-technical job design model incorporates social and technical aspects of the job and highly focuses on making a job that will fulfil employees’ needs. The key principles of this job design model include:

    • The designed job should fit organisational goals

    • The employee’s needs should be considered when designing a job

    • Establishing good relationships with peers and supervisors

    • Create an environment in which employees feel supported

    • Technical requirements that are needed to perform a job should be displayed

    • This design should provide a high-quality working life for employees

    • The changes to the job design should be made consistently according to changing environmental pressures.

    Job characteristics model (JCM)

    The job characteristics model also called The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and core characteristics model, was designed by Hackman and Oldham. Job characteristics model involved five principles that are required to be incorporated into job design:

    • Variety of skills
    • Task identity, incorporating tasks that once completed have a visible outcome or the result
    • Task significance
    • Autonomy - the level of freedom for employees to choose a method of how to complete a task
    • Job feedback, employees should have access to sufficient feedback regarding their performances

    These five key principles can lead employees to experience psychological states. Which are:

    • Experiences of meaningfulness

    • Experiences of responsibility

    • Knowledge of outcomes

    These positive experiences will lead to positive outcomes such as increased motivation and job satisfaction, which will lead to better productivity and overall increased organisational performance.

    Job design, Job characteristics model, StudySmarterFig. 5 - Job characteristics model

    Job design example

    Now, let's take a look at a job design example based on the job characteristics model:

    Job: Software Engineer at Google

    Variety of skills: A software engineer at Google will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and technologies, using different programming languages, systems, and tools.

    Task identity: Software engineers should have a clear understanding of the task they are working on and the final outcome that is expected. Once completed, they should be able to say, "I built that."

    Task significance: The software systems developed by Google's software engineers are used by millions of people worldwide, which can increase motivation and job satisfaction for software engineers.

    Autonomy: They have the freedom to choose the tools, methods, and technologies they believe are best suited to solve the problem at hand. This autonomy can help to foster creativity and innovation in their work.

    Job feedback: Google's software engineers have access to regular performance evaluations and feedback from their managers and peers, which helps them to continually grow and develop in their role.

    Job Design - Key takeaways

    • Job design is the process of establishing employees’ duties and responsibilities that will be included in their roles.

    • The key elements of job design include task, motivation, resource allocation, and reward system.

    • There are four important techniques of job design which are identified as job simplification, job rotation, job enrichment, job enlargement

    • A well-designed job will allow employees to develop skills, increase their motivation and make them more productive. This will have a positive impact on organisational performance.

    • The key models of job design include Taylorism, Socio-Technical Systems Approach, and Job Characteristics Model (Core Characteristics Model).

    • Job characteristics include skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Incorporation of these job characteristics into the job design will lead to the experience of positive psychological states by employees and lead to positive outcomes regarding employees and organisational performance.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Job Design

    What is job design?

    Job design specifies duties and roles to be included in the employee's role. Its main aim is to keep the employees engaged and motivated while maximising their performance.

    What is a job design example?

    The job design of a barista specifies their duties and responsibilities, such as:

    • preparing a variety of coffee drinks;
    • providing customers with a positive experience;
    • operating a cash register;
    • joining training sessions on new coffee brewing techniques and customer service;
    • keeping the cafe organised and clean.

    What are the 4 types of job design?

    There are four types of techniques of job design: job rotation, job enlargement, job enrichment, and job simplification.

    What is the purpose of job design?

    The main purpose of the job design is to specify duties and working conditions to keep employees motivated and engaged while maximising their performance.

    What is the difference between job and work design?

    Job design focuses on the administrative side of the job (defining tasks, motivation, reward system, etc.), while work design focuses on the practical implementation of the elements of the job design, such as a workstation, tools, or workplace conditions. 

    What is job design and why it is job design important?

    Job design aims to keep employees motivated and engaged. It is important because motivated and involved employees are more likely to achieve their targets which translates to the better overall performance of the business.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Job design is the process of establishing the duties and responsibilities that will be included in employees' roles. 

    Appropriately allocated resources can influence innovation. 

    Which technique allows employees to have more authority and accountability in the organization?

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