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Job Design: Process, Benefits or Objectives, Methods in HRM

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What is Job Design in HRM?

Job design is the process of formation of structure to work activities. This is a systematic process of organizing specific job. It is thus, the logical sequence of job analysis which provides the job related data and skill requirement of the incumbent. It is the management function of organizing tasks, duties and responsibilities into a unit of work. It helps to set the purpose, fix and task characteristics and duties. Job design is another words, can be defined as the integration of job content and the method of doing the job. This combines the qualification, skills and experience required for the job intrinsic and extrinsic rewards associated with job, and the basic relationship between organizational needs and employee needs.

Also read: Characteristics and Steps of Human Resource Strategy

Job design affects the productivity of employees and hence organization. Scientifically designed job becomes the basis of employee motivation. Poorly designed job decreases the productivity or organization as they discourage employees.

Job design is the subject matter to change. It may be affected by so many factors like job factors, organizational factors, behavioral factors, technological factors and environmental factors. So, it should be changed or modified from time to time.

Also read: Importance of Human Resource Information System, HR Inventory

The main purpose of job design is to increase the productivity of organization. Some of the major purpose of job design is to improve quality and quantity of goods/services, reduce operation costs and reduce turnover and training costs.

For our purpose, job design is the process of collecting job related information and grouping them in such a way that a manageable job can be created with sufficient motivational reward system. This prepares not only the job package but also the qualification, skills, experience and additional qualities required for the job. Job design, in this way, prepare the job description (What to do?), job specifications (what are required to accomplish the job?) and the job evaluation (whether the jobs are ranked or structured properly?). In broader sense, job design is the process of creating organizational structure so that the basis of evaluation of job and hierarchy is estimated. It is the basis of functional relationship between various areas of functions.

Also read: Job Analysis: Purpose, Process, Methods, Techniques, Outcomes in HRM 

Job Design Process in HRM:

Job design is the process of creating identical jobs with sufficient information regarding work activities to be carried out including the skills, experience and qualification required to conduct the job more efficiently and effectively. It designs the sufficient intrinsic and extrinsic reward system associated with the job. A typical job design process consists of following parts:

1. Specification of individual tasks:

At beginning, all the tasks to be conducted are identified. On the basis of nature, special skills or abilities required  to perform the tasks, relation and interdependency with other tasks, complexities etc. of tasks need to be classified. In this step, individual tasks are simplified as far as possible.

2. Combination of task into jobs:

Job is the group of similar tasks in terms of nature and responsibilities as well as skills combined together to form different jobs. Jobs need to be simple in the sense that they need to be scientific systematic. In this step, jobs are prepared and assigned to the concerned department and employees.

Also read: Recruitment: Sources, Process, Methods in HRM 

3. Specification of methods:

After designing jobs, specific methods to conduct these are identified. Specification of methods not only provides the basic guidelines to perform the job but also helps to get the similar jobs done uniformly. This can be changed with the change in technology as well as advancement in the methods.

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Benefits or Objectives of Job Design in HRM:

Job design is the basis of motivation to employees. Scientifically designed job increase the productivity of the organization. This is the very first condition to perform the organizational activities in an effective and efficient way to attain the organizational goals. Following major benefits can be attained because of job design:

1. Organizational structure:

Job design collects the similar activities into a package i.e. job. This helps to prepare the logical relation between different job responsibilities. Job design designs different position in the organization. This ultimately helps to prepare the organizational structure. Job design provides the basic information for designing the organizational structure.

Also read: Interview: Importance, Types, Process, Methods in HRM 

2. Help in HR Planning:

Human resource planning requires some fundamental information regarding the job. Job design not only prepares the jobs but it estimates the minimum skills qualification and experience required to different jobs. It determines the number of jobs available in an organization. This helps to plan regarding the human resource acquisition, development, utilization and maintenance.

3. Human resource acquisition and selection:

Getting right man at the right job is another important purpose of job design. It prepares the information regarding skills, qualification, experience and the expertise required to accomplish the job in best possible way. This determines the things to be done as well as its specification. This helps to search and select right man at the right job. Perfect job design reduces the risk of selecting wrong employees to the job.

Also read: Socialization: Purpose or Importance and Process in HRM

4. Employee motivation and commitment:

Job design helps to allocate job responsibilities according to interest, skills, and expertise of employees. This limits the job responsibilities upto skills and expertise. Job design makes the job more interesting and challenging. It provides the avenue of personal growth. All these things provide the motivation to employees and increase the level of satisfaction too. Motivated employees commit for best performance. Productivity and efficiency of such motivated and committed employees remains the maximum level.

5. Good industrial relation:

Industrial relation is being vital in modern business age. Success or failure of organization largely depends upon the relation between management, employees and government. Properly designed job increases the job satisfaction in employees. There will be no conflict in responsibilities and goals in between jobs if they are designed scientifically. Such job decreases the employees grievances, indisciplinary actions, employees and management. This ensures the success of organization.

Also read: Learning: Principles, Process, Elements in HRM 

6. Better quality of life:

Quality of work life indicates the state of working condition. This is one of the most important indicators to increase the job satisfaction. Quality of work life is the relationship between employees and working environment. Better quality work life increases the job satisfaction and helps to create harmonious relationship between employees and management. Properly designed job increases the quality of work life. It provides the interrelationship between different jobs, makes the area of responsibility clear, provides clear schedule of work, creates group of employee right for the appropriate job. All these things help to improve the quality of work life. Positive changes in job design also help to change the attitude and belief of employees to make them favorable for organizational benefits.

Also read: Human Resource Development: Features, Importance, Mechanisms 

7. Easy supervision:

Properly designed jobs become scientific for responsibility distribution, skills requirement and inter job relationship. Job design helps to select right man at right job. Employee job satisfaction and commitment in such case become high. Self motivated and directed employees need less supervision. This helps to reduce supervision cost.

8. Environment adaptation:

Business environment is ever changing. With the change in technology, market segment customer's expectations, organizational objectives etc. jobs need to be changed. To grab the business opportunities from the competitive market, organizations must change their products, technology, way of doing things, etc. So, job once created may not be effective forever. They need to be improved and empowered. Such activities in job are done through job design and hence organization creates goods and products with greater customer expectation. So, job design helps to adopt the changing environment.

9. Organizational goal attainment:

Job designed scientifically will motivate employees for job commitment. Such jobs reduce the absenteeism, turnover, grievance, frustration and lower productivity. Committed employees pay their total effort for organizational betterment. These things help to attain organizational goal as per planning.

Also read: Training in HRM: Importance, Process, Methods, Essentials 

Methods of Job Design in HRM:

Job should be designed in such a way that job requirement and job specification should be balanced. Organizations should conduct variety of jobs ranging from simple to complex. Job should not be over loaded as well as under loaded. They need to balance the responsibility and authority. Jobs need to be linked vertically and horizontally. There are different methods or techniques available for job design. Some of them are classical approach, socio-technical system approach and Behavioral approach. Here is a brief description about these methods:

1. Classical approach/Methods:

Classical approach of job design is initiated by F.W Taylor with his well known Scientific Management Theory. He focused in the balance among work, motion and time at work. Taylor focused to design the jobs in such a way that the productivity can be increased significantly. Scientific management theory believes in excessive use of scientific tools, techniques and materials. Main focus of this approach is to increase the organizational productivity by effective planning for improving human efforts and skills. Classical approach of job design popularly uses the following methods:

i. Work Simplification:

This is the method in which complex job is first divided into number of small simple activities or units. Similar activities need to be grouped into a work unit and each work unit is assigned to a worker. Jobs and assigned to employees on the basis of specialization so that the productivity can be improved through work specialization. Work units into a job are estimated to be repetitive. This further increases the work efficiency. This method is appropriate to the lower level employees.
Merits of Work Simplification:
  • Jobs are made more simple therefore no need to have training and development expenses. 
  • This method focuses on job specialization so that the productivity can be improved. 
  • Less supervision can be sufficient to supervision employees. 
Demerits of Work Simplification:
  • There will be high chance of over specialization of skills. 
  • Repetitive job create boredom in workers. 
  • Monotony at work may increase absenteeism, turnover and accidents. 

ii. Job Rotation:

Job rotation is the most popular method of job design in which employees working in one responsibility or job will be transferred to other job. This means, under this method, jobs are created in such a way that employee should work all the responsibility one after another at certain interval of time. But level or position of employees remains same. Main purpose of this method is to remove monotony or boredom due to repetitive jobs of employees. This methods provides the opportunity to work in different jobs of similar job description at different working station with different people. Employees can handle their job with the same skills, knowledge and experience.
Merits of Job Rotation Method:
  • It reduces monotony and boredom among workers. 
  • It provides opportunity to work in different situations so that employees can enhance their social relationship. 
  • Employees can handle varieties of tasks without adding new knowledge, skills and expertise. 
  • It helps to fulfill the vacancies at different places through internal source. 
  • It helps to handle employee grievances. 
 Demerits of Job Rotation method:
  • Tendency of seeking transfer because of personal reason can be increased. 
  • Employees need to time to adjust in new environment which may interrupt regular performance. 
  • Orientation, socialization and training cost will be increased. 
Also read: Human Resource Planning:  Need and Importance, Characteristic/Features 

    iii. Job enlargement:

    Job enlargement is the process of expanding the job responsibilities within the same job. This means, under this method, different tasks or activities having similar nature and characteristics should be added to create new job. In another words, job enlargement is the horizontal expansion of job. For example, an accountant responsible to collect cash can be assigned to deposit cash in bank, preparing salary sheet, etc. as additional task.
    Merits of Job enlargement method:
    • Additional taks motivate employees for better efforts:
    • It reduces monotony and boredom among workers. 
    • It increases job satisfaction with extended scope of job. 
    • It provides greater opportunity of personal growth. 
    • It reduces operation cost by reducing employees. 
     Demerits of Job Enlargement method:
    • Training is essential for additional responsibility which increase the cost. 
    • Already monotonous job will be more monotonous with additional tasks. 
    • This is substituting one zero with the another zero - Herzberg. This means one more boring job to another. 
    • Additional task at same job without additional pay and benefits may reduce the motivation of employees. 
    • Additional task may extend the completion time. 
    • There may be chance of shifting responsibility. 

    Socio-Technical System Approach:

    Employer's motivation is the most important factor in organizational productivity. Various researches have found that employee motivation is the function of socio-factor. There needs guide them for the better result. In this ground, jobs can be designed to the employee's individual needs and technical requirements i.e. according to individual needs and organizational requirements. This approach thus, considers the social aspects and technical system of the job. Peer supervisor relationship, need of group work and creation of supportive environment are some key elements of socio-cultural approach of job design. Jobs are created to deal with the situational demand of technical and social needs.
    Merits of Socio-Technical system approach:
    • Jobs designed under this approach provide greater employee job satisfaction because of fulfilling social needs of employees.
    • This method gives more emphasis in participation of employees. So, the overall productivity of organization is expected to be increased.
    • Employees can relate their output and social benefits. This helps to increase the tenure of employees.
    • Jobs create learning environment. So, employees will be more skillful.
    Demerits of Socio-Technical system approach:
    • Jobs give more emphasis on employee needs rather than on organizational needs. 
    • Most of operating level employees may not be efficient for the decision making. So, decision made by employees may sometimes mislead the organizational objectives. 
    • Employee union for sake of union only may influence overall planning of organization. 

    Behavioral Approach:

    Effectiveness of jobs depends on the behavior of employees toward that job. Job itself should be sufficient to motivate employees. So, the behavioral aspects of the employees should be included while designing jobs. This approach of job design is called behavioral approach. This means, behavioral approach of job design analyzes the considers some behavioral aspects of employees like autonomy, variety, task identity, task significance, feedback mechanism, etc. Behavioral approach of job design includes following popular method:

    i. Job enrichment method:

    Job enrichment is the method of job design in which some higher order responsibilities are added in the job. This means, under this method, jobs are designed including task demanding higher order skills, greater experience and better expertise. Job enrichment method integrates the task or activities vertically. Therefore, this method can also be said as vertical expansion of job. Specially, to those employees who desire opportunities of personal growth, jobs need to be designed with enrichment method. Enriched jobs motivate employees by adding challenging and interesting features in the job. 
    Enriched jobs provide not only the challenging jobs but greater authority to accomplish jobs. With such practices, organization can prepare employees for the upper positions required to fulfill in the future. Such jobs reduce monotony among employees. 
    Merits of Job enrichment method:
    • Employees with high ambition and seeking greater personal growth can satisfied and motivated. 
    • This will be beneficial for succession planning. 
    • Absenteeism and turnover rate can be reduced. 
    • Productivity can be easily improved. 
     Demerits of Job Enrichment method:
    • This method is not appropriate to the employees with low self esteem, confidence and pessimistic employees. 
    • This method is not suitable for complex job consisting of many production processes. 
    • This is risky to assign higher order responsibilities to the employees without training. 
    • Employees may reject the additional responsibilities because of resistivity toward change. 
    • Manager may be unwilling to delegate authority with responsibilities which creates problems in decision making. 
    • Decision made by lower level employees under enrichment may be risky.  

    ii. Autonomous team:

    Autonomous work teams are the groups of self directed, self managed and self motivated employees who work for inter related and interdependent works. Such groups set the standard for output, set the working procedure, take actions, evaluate the outputs and take full responsibility of outputs. They select the team members, prepare the team norms and values, fix responsibility, plan and carryout the activities, evaluate the performance, and take corrective actions if necessary.

    Jobs can be designed for the autonomous team. Normally, if the nature of job demands to be conducted in a group and employees are self motivated, this method becomes fruitful. In this method, area of job performance is given to group in bulks; the group sets the group goal, fixes responsibility to each member, sets the working procedure and schedule, conducts activities and evaluates the outputs. Such jobs can be designed only to those employees who have strong feeling of group goal, and are self motivated for higher level performance.
    Merits of Autonomous team method:
    • Team spirit can be developed. 
    • With self motivated and self directed team members, management achieves goal with less supervision. 
    • Team productivity becomes greater than the individual productivity. 
    • Employees become self responsible. So, administrative cost becomes low. 
    • This method provides the opportunity for personal growth. 
    • Reward is tied with team performance. So, all the team members perform for team. 
     Demerits of Autonomous team method:
    • This method is not suitable to the normal employees with no personal growth objectives. 
    • Team conflict may reduce the productivity of team. 
    • Dominating tendency of employees negatively affects on the team productivity. 
    • In general, managers become reluctant to form team of employees in organization. 
    • Independent jobs cannot be conducted in teams. So, this method can be applied only to the interrelated and interdependent jobs. 
    • Personal traits of employees play significant role to the group productivity where by the method may not be suitable. 
    • There can be the possibility of responsibility shift in case of mistake. 
    • It is very difficult to find self motivated and self directed employees. Termination of one employee can also affect the team performance significantly. 

    iii. Job Characteristics:

    Job characteristics method considers three psychological aspects i.e. experienced meaningfulness, experience determine the level of motivation, satisfaction and performance on the job. Following characteristics are suggested to include in the job:
    Skill variety:
    Different talents and skills required to conduct different activities. 
    Task identity:
    Identifiable work unit is supposed to do by applying different skills and talents. 
    Task significance:
    Impact of job on work and lives of other employees. 
    Autonomy:
    Degree of freedom, independence and discretion to the individual in planning and performing job. 
    Feedback:
    Clear and direct information to individual regarding job performance.
    Merits of job Characteristics method:
    • This method gives focus to job characteristics. So, jobs become distinct from one another. 
    • Feedback system provides information regarding job performance. This helps to improve performance timely. 
    • Autonomy for planning and performing the job motivates employees. 
    • Clearly distinguishable jobs do not create conflict in role. 
    Demerits of job characteristics method: 
    • Autonomy of planning and conducting jobs may create disciplinary problems. 
    • Job cannot be made clear with clearly distinguishable job characteristics only. 
    • Redesigning the job time to time may demotivate the employees. 

    iv. Modified work schedule method:

    Modified work schedule method is the one in which work schedule, timing, shift, or routine of the work is rescheduled as per the convenience or demand of workers. Normally, the jobs which need to be conducted in different shifts in regular basis can be designed under this method. Shorter work week, flex time, job sharing, home work, etc. are common methods of job design under this method. Some of them are discussed briefly as under:
    Shorter work week:
    In this method, number of working days in a week can be reduced. But total working hours remain same. For example, job of an employee working 40 hours in 5 days a week working 8 hours a day can be rescheduled as a 40 hours in 4 days working 10 hours a day. This helps to reduce administrative cost as well as one day release to the worker.
    Flex time:
    In this method, different working shifts are prepared and employees are given option to choose to work in their convenient time shift. Hotels, hospitals, telecommunication office, etc. need to operate 24 hours a day. In such organizations work shifts are prepared like morning shift, day shift and night shifts having 8 hours in each shift. Employees are given freedom to chose their convenient shift to work.
    Job sharing:
    In this method, a particular full time job is shared between two or more part time employees. Full work or job is here, divided into number of jobs.
    Home work:
    In this method, employees are not required to come to the organization or work place for accomplishing their duty. They can complete their tasks at their home or any convenient place as well. Typing writing, painting, etc. jobs can be done in this way. Nowadays, this method is being popular for tele center jobs. Employees get reward or remuneration on the basis of the volume or unit of work done by them.
    Merits of modified work schedule method:
    • Employees can work at their convenient time and place. So, this method gives full employee motivation. 
    • Time and space can be utilized at maximum limit. So, there will be no space and time limitation for work. 
    • Employee can give time for their personal work. So, they will be more productive. 
    • Non-human resources can be utilized at the maximum extent. So, organization can attain maximum profitability with less resource. 
     Demerits of modified work schedule method:
    • Control and supervision becomes less effective. 
    • In case of mistake or problem, there may be chance of shifting the responsibility. 
    • All the employees try to work in their convenient time so there may be problem of getting job done at regular basis. 
    • Job sharing has low degree of job accountability. 


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