What is Job Design?

We all know the importance of role clarity for an employee. Without role clarity, the responsibilities and the duties may clash and this can lead to great havoc in the organization. To avoid such a problem and to create a peaceful and organizational culture, job design is done which can also be understood as part of job analysis. It is a core function of Human Resource Management, where the onus for preparing it, is on the HR department of the company. Generally, the aim of the Job design is considered to improve the job satisfaction. As the nature of the job is a factor that contributes majorly to the employee satisfaction. Job design also improves the quality of the work by an employee, to reduce employee problems by giving them role clarity. Job design also works to reduce on-the-job fatigue, reducing stress, and minimizing human errors

What is Jobs Design in HRM?

Job design in HRM can be understood as the process through which the job process is defined, the work of the group is organized, which involves structuring the workplace on the basis of the job analysis. In job design, HR also has to take into consideration the whole organization's goal so that the individual and group goal is aligned in such a way that the organizational goal is achieved.

Designing Jobs Meaning, Definition & Steps 

Designing jobs in HRM is defined as “the specification of methods, relationship and content related to the job that is to fulfil the organizational and technological requirement along with the social and individual requirement of the employee” given by Michael Armstrong 2003. Another definition is given by Ali and Aroosiya, 2012 is “job design can be understood as the functions of arranging duties, tasks and responsibility is to an organization unit or work.

Steps for Job Designing:-

While planning the job design you have to keep in mind the following steps to have the successful job design implemented:-

  1. Job information

HR needs to have the information about the job being performed by the employee; it not only helps in the evaluation of the compensation design for an employee but also gives the role clarity. Information that is not true may lead to disparities between the plan and its execution and then the evaluation. So it is important to have the proper documentation work about the role and duties be done on time and should be communicated properly to the employees. What all information to have:-

  • Specific tasks, areas of responsibility, and examples of work being carried out
  • The fundamental purpose of the job to be done
  • Time spent on each task or specific area of responsibilities to be done
  • Important of each element in the job and its relationship or ratio to the total operation of the job
  • Scope of the job and its impact on the operations
  • Working relationship with other players, like managers, team members, customers
  • Methods, techniques, and equipment that are used
  • Job climate that includes the work environment
  • What are the job conditions like discomfort, chasing deadlines, creativity and innovation, physical efforts and innovations?
  1. Job analysis

Then next is to analyze all the information collected and the HR has to pick out the imperative and important aspect of the job that is required to be done and responsibilities that are to be carried out in the job. For HR doing the Job analysis, it is better for them to have a line manager specific to that domain to be a part of the process for better accuracy. Not only the duties and responsibilities of the job have to be kept in mind but HR also needs to see how the employees are feeling about the job, this can be done through a direct interview or through circulating a questionnaire so that the job design can be planned accordingly.

  1. Develop the job design plan for the employee

On the basis of the information analyzed about the job and about how the employee feels about his/her job. To check, If there is any sign of discomfort or dissatisfaction regarding their job. When you have evaluated this information, you need to see which method of job design you have to apply for the employee. There are various job design methods which are explained below in this article.

  1. Implementation

After deciding the job design method to be rolled out, HR needs to implement it in a successful way, where the goal of the individual and the company are in alignment. And you also need to guide the employee at every step about their role and responsibilities and why it will be beneficial for them to carry out the action for a particular job design method.


Benefits of Job design

Job design yields many benefits for the organization as a whole and on an individual level as well:-

1. Increased job satisfaction: - Job design is an imperative part of the organization's operation, as it helps the HR department to reduce the negative component of the employees, work-life.

2. Eliminate on-the-job fatigue: - It helps in reducing job dissatisfaction, which comes out as a result of the monotonous role of the employee, reducing the on-the-job fatigue that the employee is going through.

3. Improve the quality of work: - when all the negative factors of the job are removed, the organization has the chance to get the optimum level of output from employees.

4. Provide meaning to work: - job design methods are planned as such that employees get more meaning for the job they are doing.

5. Provide challenging work: - When an employee is given more responsibility or a different task rather than a monotonous task then they have more challenges to overcome in their job which keeps their motivation level up.

6. Increased output and decreased cost: - the optimum level of output s received from the employee and as attrition and all the negative aspect are removed, the organization incurs less cost.

7. Decrease attrition rate: - Both these components can lead to an increased attrition rate. So with the help of design job attrition rate in the company is also handled. The high attrition rate in any organization is an alarming state for the HR department that needs to be taken care of on an immediate basis.

Design job stops this acceleration of the situation by giving the employees some change in their monotonous job.

Research is done by salary.com suggests the reason, of why employees waste their time, the research also suggests that:-

  1.  39% of the respondents in the survey spend just one hour a week or even less on non-work-related stuff.
  2. 29 % of the respondents spend 2 hours a week on the computer at work.
  3. 21 percent of the respondents, waste up to 5 hours a week
  4. And at last, only 3 percent of the respondents spend 10 hours in a week on their personal tasks.

Reasons for the respondents to waste their time were:-

  1. 35 % of employees reported that they waste time because they no longer find their job challenging
  2. 34 % of employees report that they wasted time due to the hours which are too long
  3. 32 % of the employees said that their company did not provide an incentive to them even if they work hard.
  4. 30%  are the employees that are unsatisfied with their job
  5. 23% of the employees said that they are bored with their job now

With these figures, you have got the picture of why job design is imperative and should be carried out carefully and successfully.

What do you Mean by Designing Jobs

Job design as the name suggests it means designing job for an employee in such a way that eliminates all the negative aspects of his/her job. In such a scenario they need to adjust themselves to the new design job. This becomes imperative for the people who are bored from their job, who need some challenge in their work, who are tired of carrying out their monotonous job every day, for those who have low satisfaction with their job and who are looking for a change. Instead of compelling them to change the job, job design is a win-win solution for both employees and the company. The organization will not have to go through the attrition and losing their great talents whereas, the great employees of the company will have a challenging and different job from their routine one.

Types of Job Design Methods

There are broadly 4 types of Job Design methods that are used to bring some change in the job structure for an employee. These 4 types are:-

  1. Job Rotation

Job rotation is the lateral shift of the job role or position that is, it happens between the job levels, and it cannot be mistakenly considered a promotion. As it does not help the person to move up the ladder of his/her career. It is done on a temporary basis where employees are moved back to their previous job after a stipulated time. It has many benefits like:-

  • Learning: - When the employees are getting the opportunity to carry out a new role, they will definitely get to learn one or the other thing. It becomes a great way to transfer, knowledge skills, and competencies that lead to human capital accumulation.
  • Flexibility:- In a situation where there are more employees involved in job responsibility, then employees get more flexibility in performing the job role.
  • Employee replacement: - This technique saves the organization from the loss that it would be bearing when any of the employees suddenly leaves. Rotating employees in that role can help the organization for an immediate period. Here, the job rotation method becomes the savior.
  1. Job Enlargement

Job enlargement as the name suggests is about adding more responsibilities or activities in the same job of the employee. This means that employees will do different activities in the job that eliminates the boredom that the employee was going through, and it also eliminated the monotonous work of the employee. The benefits that the employee and the organization can yield from job enlargement are:-

  • Earn a higher wage: - Employees can earn higher wages after getting more responsibilities being added to their role.
  • Give more autonomy: - Along with autonomy comes accountability and responsibility. As the person is now handling more responsibility, they are given autonomy to do their job and they are more accountable for the result that they are extracting.
  • Career growth: - When additional responsibility is given to the employees they are also given the training so that they carry out the duties successfully. This helps the employee in learning new skills that can help in their further career. When employees realize that the organization is considering their individual growth, then there is less attrition rate in the country leading to the benefit of the organization.
  1. Job Enrichment

This is the method where the motivators are added to the existing job. Like adding skill variety, extra tasks, giving feedback, meaning to the job, and increasing autonomy. Through this method, the job is made more meaningful for the employee.

If you are getting confused between job enlargement and job enrichment here is the difference:- job enlargement makes the job more motivating by broadening the job of the employees, whereas job enrichment is when we are adding motivators in the existing job of the employee.

Benefits for job enrichment are:-

  • Increase satisfaction: - when the meaning of the job is enhanced then the employee is more satisfied with the job. As the intensity and scope of the work has been increased, employees feel happier with the job.
  • Better psychological states: - It leads to increased meaningfulness for the work which leads to high-quality results from the employee. And increased employee experience.
  1. Job Simplification

It is the process where few tasks are removed from the job to make the job more focused on the main job. The aim behind this method is to initiate improved work methods that can maximize the output along with minimizing the expenses and costs.

  • Obviating unnecessary work: - as we studied earlier that 34 % of the employees said they wasted time because of long hours. These long hour sare taken by work that is unnecessary and that do not fetch any output or profit. Hence, removing such  work will help the employee do the important required work
  • Make employee more focused: - when the extra work is removed employee is left with important and output-driven work, which brings more profit and minimizes the cost of the employee.

Till now you have got a lot of information about the job design, what is job design definition, what are the steps to plan job design and what are the methods of job design. This information is imperative for not only Human Resource professionals but for every working professional as it is planned for them they should know about why is it being done or what is the benefit of Job design.

Tips for Job Design 

For Successful planning and implementation of the Job design, you should follow the following tips:-

  1. Keep the management and the employees on the same page about what you are planning, that is, you need to keep your communication clear and transparent. Use a mode of communication through which you can easily communicate the plan to both the players and make sure there is no distortion in the meaning that you are planning to put across.
  2. Understand the need: - you may be required to carry out Training Need Analysis (TNA) to identify what type of training the employee needs. According to which HR can go ahead with deciding the type of Job design method. If you plan to execute Job design without identifying the need of the employee, you might be forcing the plan on the employee which may result in employee resistance.
  3. Involving managers and the employee at every step for a better result, involving them in the decision making process yields a better result. The players who will be affected the most, have to be involved for successful execution.
  4. Support the employee in the execution stage: - Taking feedback from the employee during the implementation stage. As their job satisfaction has to be the priority of the management, because the job design is being carried out to benefit the employees, which will eventually benefit the organization as a whole.

Use of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in Job Design

Intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation is imperative for employee’s productivity. When the Motivation level goes down you will see the quality of the work yield by an employee is not up to the mark. A job design plan brings the motivation level of employees back to the place. Everybody is familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs which has two versions one which is dedicated to a layman and the other includes the stages of needs for an employee. These needs are the motivating factor for an employee to work. Job design should be made after identifying the current need of the employee and then planning job design in such a way that the employee moves up the ladder of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of need.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of need:-

For Example:- If you identify that the employee is on the second stage, that is, on the safety and security needs then the employee is looking for a more secure and stable role in the organization. You will need to plan a job design method that is not very deviant from the current role to make the employee believe that organization is looking for a long-term relationship with her/him like Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment.

To better understand this theory of motivation, HR needs to understand the job characteristics and link the two in an aligned manner to have a job design plan which is successful for a longer duration.

HR can also communicate these elements to managers and employees so that they can work on an individual level.