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Job Enrichment and Job Rotation

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The purpose of this paper is to examine job enrichment and job rotation – how these programs can motivate employees to do their jobs better and the ways that managers use job enrichment and rotation to motivate employees. In it I will examine how employee job satisfaction is affected by job enrichment and job rotation, the benefits and disadvantages of both for the employee and the organization.

Job rotation is a job design technique in which employees are moved between two or more jobs during the working day in order to add variety to a job during the working day. The objective is to expose the employees to different experiences and wider variety of skills to enhance job satisfaction, increase interest and motivation, and to cross-train them. Job rotation is often used in assembly line work where there is a uniform process with highly repetitive tasks that can become boring to employees doing the same tasks over and over again. Job enrichment is the process of making a job more interesting, challenging and satisfying by adding more meaningful tasks and duties.

Typically, job enrichment involves combining various existing and new tasks into one job that gives the employee an increase in responsibilities and the scope of their job. In the 1959, behavioral scientist Frederick Herzberg first introduced the two factor theory or the motivation hygiene theory that proposed that there are some job factors that lead to job satisfaction. He stated that management ought to focus on rearranging work to promote motivation factors and suggested that job rotation and job enrichment are two of the factors that can lead to job satisfaction and more motivated employees. These factors are said to help improve productivity at the same time as increasing job satisfaction.

The Theory Behind Job Enrichment and Job Rotation
There are a few approaches to make the workplace and workers happier and hopefully motivate them to be more productive but it’s all up to the employees to buy into whatever system managers may employ. Job enrichment and job rotation are two of the ways that employers try to motivate employees to do a better job. They are different in some ways but at the same time they are very alike in many ways. To better understand attitudes about their jobs and what motivates them American psychologists Frederick Herzberg, Bernard Mausner and Barbara Bloch Snyderman published the book, “The Motivation to Work”. Herzberg conducted surveys on 200 engineers and accountants from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area that challenged the notion that workers are only satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs. Herzberg proposed a system to better understand employee motivation and satisfaction. He called it the motivation-hygiene theory, with the job satisfaction results being the motivators or intrinsic motivators and the dissatisfaction results called the hygiene factors or extrinsic factors. The hygiene factors help to prevent dissatisfaction but they do not lead to higher levels of motivation.

They include: company policies and administration, the quality of supervision, working conditions, interpersonal relations with co-workers, status within the company, job security and employees’ salary. The motivation factors that lead to job satisfaction and higher levels of motivation are: achievement, recognition, the work itself, job responsibility and the opportunity for advancement. Herzberg stated that the two approaches must be carried out at the same time, treating people so they obtain a minimum of dissatisfaction and using them so they achieve, get recognition, grow and achieve in their careers.(Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, more specifically the need for self-actualization, (Figure 1) Herzberg proposed that the factors that motivate workers or are likely to satisfy their needs, can lead to positive job attitudes and that managers should focus on rearranging work to promote motivation in the workplace.

Figure 1 – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Two of the three ways they suggested to improve motivation are job enrichment and job rotation, with job enlargement being the third. In order to implement job enrichment and job rotation managers must first understand what it is that employees need or desire and how they can incorporate these needs into job enrichment and job rotation. What works for one employee will not necessarily work for another and managers need to be cognizant of the inherent differences in their employees.

Designing Jobs that Motivate
The first thing to do before looking at ways to implement job enrichment is to look at your work environment. Is it good and fair? Are there discrepancies in the way employees are compensated for the work they do? Is the supervision of employees fair? What are the expectations that are placed on them? Are all employees treated fairly? If these things are not addressed before implementing a job enrichment plan, the probability of increasing job satisfaction and motivating employees will be greatly decreased. In 1976, J.R. Hackman and G.R. Oldham identified five factors of job design that typically contribute to employee’s job satisfaction and enjoyment. (Hackman & Oldham, 1976) They are as follows:

* Skill Variety – The degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work, which involve the use of a number of different skills and talents of the person. * Task Identity – The degree to which the job requires a completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work; that is doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome. Enabling people to perform a job from start to finish. * Task Significance – The degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people, whether in the immediate organization or in the external environment. Providing work that has a direct impact on the organization or its stakeholders. * Autonomy – The degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, independence and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out. * Feedback – The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the individual obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance. (Hackman & Oldham, 1976) If the work has a good level of skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback, employees are more likely to be satisfied and motivated

So how do you implement a job enrichment program? Start by finding out what areas of their jobs that employees are dissatisfied with. It makes no sense to change the work environment and make the wrong changes. This can be done by using employee surveys of what they like and don’t like. This information can help you in implementing a job enrichment program that will have a better chance of success.

Secondly, you have to figure out what employee suggestions you can use. Keep in mind that have you have to balance employee satisfaction with your operational needs. If the suggestions you receive are too drastic or significant, consider establishing a committee to decide which of the options make the most sense operationally.

The next step is designing the program and communicating it to employees. You don’t want to catch employees off guard with any changes that you decide on. Let them know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Get them involved in the process, if possible and let them know that their opinions about the program matter. Don’t forget to monitor what you are doing, evaluate what the results are and fine tune the program when you figure out what is working and what does not work.

The theory of job enrichment as stated by Herzberg has eight characteristics. They are: Direct Feedback: Direct feedback can mean an immediate response from a supervisor regarding a job done by the employee or the chance for the employee to verify the results of a job by themselves. This can result in improved morale for the employee. (Herzberg F. , 1974)

Client Relationship: The relationship to a specific client gives the employee the opportunity to better understand the needs and problems of his or her customer and participate in their solution. Herzberg (1974) recommends to organise internal supplier-client relationships for back office employees in order to increase their interest in the overall work processes. Serving the clients either externally or internally can enhance the job

Scheduling own work: Self scheduling can give employees the option of how to structure their job and the order they do it in. Deadlines for work completion are still put in place by the manager or supervisor but the employee is free to set their own pace. This can help to increase the creativity of employees.

Direct Communication Authority: It allows communicating directly with the employees, which helps in increasing the results and the output.
Personal Accountability: After receiving direct feedback an employee can easily figure out where they stand in the company. If they are viewed as an asset or not.
Unique Expertise: Unique expertise aims at giving each employee a more or less individual field of competence in order to increase his or her identification with the task.
Control Over Resources: Control over resources is meant to allocate the means for a project to the lowest possible level of hierarchy in order to increase the responsibility of the lower ranks.
Personal Responsibility: Personal accountability finally frees the employee from doing single in itself meaningless tasks and provides responsibility for a coherent set of tasks with which the employee can identify. Job enrichment is a necessary part of attracting, motivating and retaining talented employees, especially, if the work is boring or repetitive. To implement a good quality job enrichment program there has to be synergy between the way you design the jobs and the skills and interests of your employees. .

Job rotation involves the movement of employees through a range of jobs with the goal of increasing employee interest and motivation. It means that employees get trained how to do various jobs in the organization without getting bored by having to do routine jobs over and over. Before implementing a job rotation program you first have to know the reasons behind the decision. Why do you need one? The reasons are as follows: * Reducing the monotony of the job: Reducing monotony allows employees to experience different types of jobs and may help to motivate them to perform their job better. * Replacement of workers. If you have employees who are cross-trained in other jobs it can make it easier for the organization to deal with absenteeism, employees leaving their jobs due to retirement or resignations, etc. The goal is to have someone in place that can do the work of another employee without having to be retrained.

* Creating the right employee job fit: The success of any organization is dependent on the productivity of their employees. If the employee is matched with the right job for their skill level they should be more productive and therefore more of an asset to the organization.

* Exposing employees to different operational area of the organization: One more aspect of job rotation is exposing employees to other areas of operations. This helps to make them more aware of how the organization operates and how other tasks are performed and the different issues that may arise when work is being done. * Testing the skills and abilities of employees: Testing employee skills and analyzing their abilities enables employers to assign them to jobs that they will excel at, is one of the major benefits of job rotation. Testing them on different jobs and finding out what jobs they are proficient at helps to increase employee productivity and give the employee a feeling of satisfaction about doing a job well.

* Helping employees to develop a wider range of skills and experience: When employees are shown how to do other jobs they develop different skills and abilities. Acquiring new skills and abilities also helps in the development of the employee as well. As with job enrichment, you cannot just say that you want to implement a job rotation program without planning it first. In order for a job rotation program to be effective is must be implemented in the proper manner to avoid any potential problems. Although there is no set formula for doing this these guidelines can be helpful in ensuring a smoother process. Identify the operational divisions or the particular work groups that could benefit from a job-rotation program. Determine the specific knowledge and tasks that must be shared during the rotation. Specify the employees who’ll be allowed to participate in the program and any requirements for participating. Identify if employees will be allowed to select from company-wide rotation assignments or from those within a certain work group or division or if management will assign the rotations. Decide whether employees will be allowed to rotate through jobs at a higher level than their current classification.

Clarify if the program is an optional, voluntary program, such as something that employees must apply for, or if it’ll be mandatory and imposed by the organization on a particular work group. Write a formal job-rotation policy to clarify all the parameters of the program in a single reference document. Inform employees in clear, concise language about the expectations of the rotation program and the requirements that must be met. Obtain a signature from each employee before the start of the program, indicating they have read and understood the policy and will adhere to its guidelines. Survey employees before the implementation of the rotation program, during the assignment and after each rotation has been completed. Ask employees which aspects of the program were particularly helpful and what changes could be made to improve the experience. Implement the suggestions in the next rotation, and repeat the survey to see if the changes resulted in overall improvement to the program. (Heathfield, 2012)

By training your workers to do everyone’s job you are enriching the workers job knowledge and benefitting the company. Because job rotations see the immediate results of their learning, they are more likely to develop a passion for learning about the job. Job rotation may be especially valuable for organizations that require firm-specific skills because it provides an incentive to organizations to promote from within because that is when they are most likely to find the needed skill sets. Job Rotation must start with an end goal. The goal of the job rotation determines the job changes. If a department in which every employee is cross-trained to do every job is the goal, a careful structuring of the rotation must occur. If the development of individual employees, for eventual promotion, to advance the employees career options, to avoid job boredom, or to create backup help for vacation times, is the goal, the job rotation plans will differ. Effective job rotation specifies the goal. Job rotation must be carefully planned.

An optimum training plan helps the employee build upon the skills learned at each step of a job rotation. So, the plan involves the employee participating in a series of jobs on a path that other employees have followed that resulted in a fully trained employee, or the accomplishment of the goal. Employees are able to assess whether the job rotation is achieving the goals. Consequently the steps in a job rotation should be measurable and build upon each other. Both the employee and the organization need to benefit from the job rotation. Constantly teaching employees new job skills is time consuming and saps organizational energy. If the employee sees nothing in it for him, after he puts forth the effort necessary to learn new jobs, job rotation work or motivate employees. Additional compensation is often provided as employees learn new or more difficult jobs in a job rotation.

Or, employees who are cross-trained to do more jobs are paid more because of the employer’s increased flexibility that results from their learning. A mentor, internal trainer, or supervisor/trainer is provided at each step of the job rotation plan. As an employee moves to each new job, he or she is assigned to another employee who has the responsibility to teach, answer questions, and mentor during the training. Written documentation, an employee manual, or online resource enhances employee learning. Written documentation about various aspects of each job is helpful to reduce the employee learning curve in job rotation.

Benefits and Disadvantages
Job rotation provides a career path for employees when promotions are not available, or when the employee does not want a promotion or management responsibilities. Job rotation provides advantages for an employee. In a job rotation, the employee should gain new knowledge and skills by learning different jobs that require new skills and provide different responsibilities. Job rotation helps employees to overcome potential boredom and job dissatisfaction by having a new and different job to do. By exposing employees to a wider range of operations the manager is able to discover what their strengths and weaknesses are and maybe find any hidden talents the employee may have. Job rotation can help employees to explore their interests. Sometimes employees may not be aware of what they would like to do until they are given a chance to try another job. If they are shown how to do a different job they may discover a task that they enjoy and are good at. It can help to identify knowledge, skills and attitudes. This can help managers to determine which employees may need to upgrade their skills to perform better and allow managers to analyze training and development needs to increase productivity. Job rotation can motivate employees to deal with new challenges.

It can encourage them to perform better against their peers and even create a healthy competition within the organization. For employees the benefits of job enrichment are many. Employees can demonstrate initiative, willingness, and the ability to learn new skills and show their supervisor what they can do and how quickly they can learn. Job enrichment may also afford employees the chance of getting a pay increase with any new duties or responsibilities they take on. They Employees also gain valuable on-the job experience, which may help them with their plans for career advancement. Managers can gain more flexibility in staffing because employees will have better skills and be more of an asset to the company. High performers can be rewarded with pay raises for completing company career development. It also allows may decrease the rate of absenteeism and turnover in the workforce.

It can also mean an improvement in productivity and the quality of the product or service. Some of the disadvantages of job rotation include the fact that it can be expensive to implement and may not produce the desired results. Some employees look at job in negative terms and may resist it. Job rotation can make too many changes in the workplace and some employees may be resistant to the kind of change associated with it. Job rotation may mean an increased workload for some employees. The costs of job rotation may outweigh the benefits received by the organization (retraining employees and the time it involves). Job enrichment can be unfavourable for some organization. Jobs that are highly technical can be difficult to enrich and with specialized equipment and assembly line techniques it may not be possible to implement such a program. It has limited use for highly skilled managers and professionals. This is because their jobs are already challenging. Some employees believe that enriched jobs can provide too many opportunities for mistakes. Employees may also believe that their increased productivity may lead to a loss of jobs because of ther added responsibility and wider job scope they take on. Conclusion

Job enrichment may be better for employees that have a strong need for growth and they may respond more favorably to jobs that have enriched characteristics more so than employees who have a lower need for growth and self-actualization. Simply put, some employees may want to have the added responsibility of a job enrichment program while others may not embrace it as fervently. If programs are not implemented properly then they are doomed to fail. Support from management, supervisors and employees is imperative. All of the stakeholders involved should have a say in ther planning of these programs. Any benefits that are gained from the cost of implementing these types of programs should outweigh the costs of introducing them in the workplace. While job rotation and job enrichment programs may work for some organizations, they may not work for others because of the types of work. Job enrichment may not work as well in jobs that require high levels of skill and technical ability and it may be best used or jobs that require a lower level of skill because the employees in highly skilled jobs already feel that they are challenged enough by their present jobs.


Hackman, J., & Oldham, G. (1976). Motivation Through The Design Of Work: Test Of A Theory. Organizatiinal Behaviour and Human Perfomance Vol. 16. Heathfield, S. M. (2012, November 30). Human Resources. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from About.com: www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/research/…/managingperformance.html Herzberg, F. (1974). The Wise Old Turk. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 52, No.1, 70-80. Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1959). The Motivation To Work. New York, NY: Wiley.

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