Skill no. 8: Designing motivating jobs

As a manager, it’s likely you’re going to have to design or redesign jobs at some point. How will you ensure that these jobs are motivating? What can you do regarding job design that will maximize you employees’ motivation and performance? The job characteristics model, which defines the five core job dimensions (skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback) and their relationships to employee motivation, provides a basis for designing motivating jobs.

The following five suggestions, based on the job characteristics model, specify the types of changes in jobs that are most likely to lead to improving the motivating potential for employees.

  • Combine tasks

As a manager, you should put existing specialized and divided tasks back together to form a new, larger module of work. This step will increase skill variety and task identity.

  • Create natural works units

You should design work task that form and identifiable and meaningful whole. This step will increase “ownership” of the work and will encourage employees to view their work as meaningful and important rather than as irrelevant and boring.

  • Establish client relationships

The client is the user of the product or service that is the basis for an employee’s work. Whenever possible, you should establish direct relationships between your workers and your clients. This step increases skill variety, autonomy, and feedback for the employees.

  • Expand jobs vertically

Vertical expansion of a job means giving employees responsibilities and controls that were formerly the manager’s. It partially closes the gap between the “doing” and “controlling” aspects of the job. This step increases employee autonomy.

  • Open feedback channels

By increasing feedback, employees not only learn how well they are performing their jobs but also whether their performance is improving, deteriorating, or remaining at a constant level. Ideally, this feedback should be received directly as the employee does the job, rather than from his or her manager on an occasional basis.


Author: bd


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