Job Redesign and Workplace Rewards Assessment
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According to Slocum (2004, p.50) the goal of any human resource department is to ensure employee satisfaction and the overall improvement of the employee output. The current human resource theories assert that an organization should get the maximum from an employee while at the same the employee should be satisfied in the workplace. Satisfied employees have been found to be more production than unsatisfied employee. Employee satisfaction also results to low employee turnover in the organization apart from increasing their productivity. However it is not given that always employee will be satisfied with their jobs.
One of the most important factors that lead to overall employee satisfaction is motivation. A motivated workforce can help an organization to create a competitive edge which may be difficult for other organization to replicate. Workplace reward is one of the commonly used method of motivating employees. From time to time, the changing work environment may produce an unsatisfied and unmotivated employee from previously satisfied and maximally productive employee. Change in job design may be one of the factors which lead to change in work environment. Therefore job redesigning is very important in human resource management. This paper will review the overall satisfaction of employees working in the research assistant position in my firm. It will evaluate job redesign and how their working condition can be improved to make them more motivated.
Current components of the research assistant positing
My firm is a large research firm which is involve in different type of research from business to medical and social researches. The firm usually get contract from other business, medical and social industries to conduct researches on their behalf. The research assistants work in the research department which is involved in the day to day data collection and analysis process. The following are the major task and responsibilities of research assistants:
- Designing of the research process in collaboration with principle researchers
- Identification and mapping out of the areas from where the data is to be collected
- Arranging interviewee schedules, laboratory work and preparation of questionnaire as per the guidelines provided by principle researchers
- Carrying out the data collection process in the field or in the laboratory
- Analyzing the collected data
- Presenting the data to the principles researchers
As per the job design of the position, there is so much influence from the principle researchers such that the research assistants don’t have independence to conduct their own work. They don’t have a self-management in their work since every step in their work has to be approved or disapproved by the principle researches. As a result most of them lack a sense of intrinsic motivation. They work under the shadow of principle researchers who have little input in the process except overseeing that all researches are carried out and submitted in time. (Geen 1994, p. 14)
Slocum (2004, p.68) stresses that there are a number of rewards which have been put in place by the company to motivate its employees. With the realization that the success of the company rests on the input from the employees, the company has come with a number of reward schemes which are meant to motivate the workforce. Notably there are bonus plan and one-to-one rewards. For the research assistants, they usually get bonus on the researches which they complete successfully. There are also bonuses to research assistant teams which accomplish more researches. However there are no personal bonus schemes in place since most of the researches are carried out in teams.
The one-to-one reward schemes are meant for the principle research assistants and other senior employees in the company. They usually get recognition for their accomplishment which is mainly evaluated on the response from the research clients and a particular principle researcher will therefore be recognized based on the number of successful researches that have been supervised and elicited a positive comment from the clients. Once recognized there is monetary reward or promotion.
This reward system is best in motivating the employees in their work. However the reward system has failed to recognize the effort of the individual research assistant and the system of rewarding the whole team rather than every individual fails to motivate some individuals in the team. The failure of team is taken as the failure of the individual. At some point the hard working research assistant may be dragged down by the other team members.
Goals for research assistant position
A goal can be considered as a statement which expresses the desired future of the organization or what the job wants to achieve in the future. Goals are important in every work and it maps the way forward to research the desired standards. Goals are an internal source of motivation and help one to become committed to what they want to achieve.
Apart from organization goals which maps where the company wants to be in the future, there are certain goals which are set for each research assistant’s team. These goals are based on the research that they are accomplishing at the moment. Before the team sets out to carry out a certain research, they usually set the goals that are to be accomplished in the research process. The setting of the goals is based on the task at hand. This is usually based on the time frame that research is supposed to be accomplished and the standard of the research that need to be presented. The kind of research that the team is handling acts as the main guideline in the research process. (Cunnigham and Eberle 2000, p. 3)
The goals that are set for the research assistant teams are meant to ensure that they carry out their duties effectively and within the required time. The goals are meant to map the way forward for the research team in a central goals research that they are carrying out at that particular time. Once the research team takes on another research, they usually set out another goal to be achieved.
These goals are important in setting out and mapping the way forward for the research assistant teams. They guide the research assistant team in whatever they are doing and setting the time frame within which they are supposed to accomplish the research task at hand.
Cunnigham and Eberle (2000, p. 3) argue that job design and redesigning are important factors in employee satisfaction in the job productivity and the raising of employee morale. There are many alternatives to job redesigning and job satisfaction. The tradition methods of job design and redesigning have been found to impact negatively on the employee performance in the organization. Currently there are four alternatives to traditional job redesign model including job enrichment, job characteristic model, the Japanese style of management, and the improvement of quality of life approaches. Theories supporting job enrichment and the general characteristics of the job are based on the redesigning of the job content.
Job design can be termed as the deliberate the purposeful planning of the job which includes all the structural and social aspects and the effects that these factors have on the employees. It is a broad concept which encompasses any part of the combination of all parts of the job. Job redesigning therefore involves the aspect of looking into all the aspects of the job. (Geen 1994, p. 21)
There are many ways in which the position of research assistant in the company by can be redesigned to enhance employee satisfaction. These include the content of the job, the reward system, goal setting, and the general improvement of the quality of life of the employee.
Component of the job
There are a number of ways in which the position of research assistant can be improved. Currently the design of the position does not give the research assistants enough freedom to function properly in their job. They are not well motivated to carry out their jobs effectively. According to Geen (1994, p.16) the following are the ways in which the job can be redesigned. The duties of the research assistants can be modified to include the following:
- Research assistants should be given the freedom to choose the partners whom they think they can work with effectively. The research team should comprise of not more than 10 members unlike the present when a team comprise of more than 20 members
- In each tem, individuals are supposed to be given the specific roles that they should play. This will ensure the monitoring of the working of every individual research assistant in the team rather than assessing the working of the whole team.
- The research assistant team should have the freedom to map the research process, and the principle researcher should only be given the duties of supervising the process. Research assistants should have the freedom to carry out research as they wish.
- The field or laboratory data collection process should be carried out in collaboration with the research principles rather than when the research assistants are left in the field alone only to collect data that is later rejected by the principle researchers
The above are the ways in which the job components will be established. In this case the job redesign will ensure that the job will be improved to give the research assistants more independence in their work. It will also ensure that the research assistants work as a team but with individual responsibilities in the team.
The process of goals setting is important in the research process. In order to make the goals setting process in the research teams, there should be individual goals that will be set by the members of the research teams which will at the end add up to the goals of the team in this case individual team members goals should be aligned with the responsibilities that they are taking in the team.
Slocum (2004, p.61) stresses that the member of the team with more independence to set their own goals will have more responsibilities in setting the goals of the team. This means that the work of the principle researcher will be to guide the team in achievement of the goals rather than when the principle researcher sets the goals for the team.
According to Geen (1994, p.30) the reward system as set currently in the department and in the company does not recognize the input of each individual research assistant. The reward system is only favoring the senior employee including the principle researches who are rewarded based on the efforts of the research assistant teams that they supervise. In the current reward system design, individual research assistants are rewarded as a team rather than as individual. There are many members in the team who get rewarded while they have contributed little to the achievement of the team. Therefore the reward system would be based on the way individual accomplish the specific duties that they accomplish in the team. Individual should therefore be rewarded according to the much they have achieved like in pay-for-performance reward scheme. (Cunnigham and Eberle 2000, p. 1)
The above job redesigning is important in ensuring that there is increase satisfaction of the research assistant and the general improvement of their working conditions. It is meant to give the research assistant more freedom to design their work and set their own goals. It will also review the reward scheme to ensure that individual efforts are recognized. The job redesign is expected to raise the performance of the teams in different ways. Apart from making each team members more responsible for their jobs, it will also motivate them through rewards.
Cunnigham, B. & Eberle, T. (2000): A guide to job enrichment and redesign. American Management Association, April 2000
Geen, R. (1994): Human motivation. Wadsworth Publishing
Slocum, W. J. (2004): Job Redesign. Southern Methodist University