With job enrichment you increase the number of tasks that an employee performs, typically by adding more stimulating, varied and challenging elements. The driving force behind the idea of job enrichment was psychologist Frederick Herzberg, who saw the potential for increasing employee motivation. Herzberg described five factors in particular that would make jobs more enjoyable for employees:
- Skill variety: increasing the number of skills that individuals use while performing work.
- Task identity: enabling people to perform a job from start to finish.
- Task significance: providing work that has a direct impact on the organization or its stakeholders.
- Autonomy: increasing the degree of decision making, and the freedom to choose how and when work is done.
- Feedback: increasing the amount of recognition for doing a job well, and communicating the results of people’s work.
Although Herzberg’s prime focus was motivation, clearly job enrichment has the potential for increasing the range of learning opportunities in any particular job.
Job enrichment is:
- at its best when you know that the employees in question want this to happen, when operational efficiency is not hampered as a result;
- best avoided when the employees are reluctant, when the jobs become too complex or stressful.