Over the years, Human Resource practitioners have devised ways of improving workers’ experiences. They have come up with different methods to enhance the work experience for employees. Some of these methods include job enlargement, job rotation, job enrichment, and job specialization. This paper deeply looks into these methods, compares, and contrasts them. Additionally, the paper will look into the unique aspects of each method as well as a few benefits and disadvantages of each. Finally, the paper will study real life examples of the use of these methods.
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Job Specialization is a HR strategy that involves ensuring that a worker focuses on one specific job and perfects the skill associated with that job. The worker’s scope is limited and they become experts in this area which produces high efficiency, cost and time saving as well. HR uses Job Specialization mostly in production facilities where line workers specialize in one part of the production line. Such workers cannot operate any other part of the line apart from their specialized area, which is the major downfall of this method. Over time, there is no challenge in the current jobs, workers master their jobs and end up getting bored at work.
Job Rotation is a HR strategy that involves moving a worker from one job to several others systematically for pre-determined periods. The worker gets to learn and acquire different sets of skills. Such workers can operate well in very dynamic organizations. They are also extremely useful during seasons of head count cut as they can adapt to different jobs quite fast1. On the up side, workers participating in job rotation schemes rarely get bored at work as they change roles often. However, the employees may end up losing their specialized skills.
Job enlargement is another HR strategy, which involves including additional tasks to a worker’s job. This means that the worker will carry out a variety of tasks during the workday, which is also done gradually. Initially, the worker carries out fewer tasks but over time, they are increased. The major disadvantage of this is that if the manager is not careful, there is a possibility of overloading the worker at some point. Tasks can pile up and become too many for one worker2. If this happens, the worker’s efficiency reduces drastically as he tries to go through all the tasks in a limited amount of time mechanically3.
Job Enrichment is a HR motivation strategy that involves increasing the scope and difficulty of an employee’s work. In this method, all tasks added should add up to a meaningful job. In addition, they need to have different difficulty levels, which ensure that the employee is constantly mentally challenged in their job. They also get to grow their skill set by taking up more challenging tasks4.
The advantage of this method is that the employee also gets more authority and autonomy. If this method is employed, the worker is likely to feel that they are more in control of their job. The manager also constantly gives feedback-enabling improvement.
Job enrichment, rotation, and enlargement all help to reduce boredom and monotony at work. The worker keeps changing tasks or responsibilities, which creates variation and excitement for workers. It is difficult to find bored workers in a constantly changing environment. Secondly, in job rotation, enlargement, and enrichment, the time span between the changes of tasks is pre-determined and carefully computed. Within this time, a worker is assumed to have completed the learning curve for the relevant task or job.
Job rotation and job enrichment allow workers to acquire different skills while on the job. They also encourage flexibility. Such workers cope very well in dynamic environments, which is quite an important survival quality in today’s changing job environment. Job descriptions are constantly changing and organizations expect much more from their workers. Job specialization and job enlargement both encourage a worker to focus on one job type. They do not acquire different skills rather enhance a few specific ones that they possess. Though job enlargement increases tasks to a worker’s job, but the skills set remains the same.
Job specialization only allows workers to focus on one task while job rotation allows exposure to different tasks. Thus, job specialization is used mostly in manufacturing facilities where efficiency is crucial to reduce cost of production.
Job enlargement only increases the number of tasks in a workers job whereas job enrichment increases the level of difficulty as well. Hence, job enrichment is more challenging than job enlargement. In job enlargement, a worker’s authority over their job also increases with time unlike job enlargement. Job enlargement maintains only the same level of authority all through. Thus, job enrichment results in more satisfaction than job enlargement. Job enrichment and job rotation result in more responsibility and diversity than job specialization and enlargement because of the different skills required for these strategies. The responsibility and diversity associated with it results in job satisfaction5.
Job Rotation is used a lot in the medical profession where intern doctors work in surgery for a specific time, then move to pediatrics, physiotherapy ward rounds and other areas as well. The reason is that they need to be exposed to many different areas of work before graduation. Job Specialization is common in the science field e.g. engineering where workers focus a lot on one area until they become experts6. For example, an aeronautical engineer only deals with airplanes, which is necessary because such jobs require high-level accuracy, which takes time to develop.
Job enlargement can be used in accounting, where a management accountant assigned one branch of a company can be assigned a second branch to work on simultaneously. The work is of the same level as the first branch but the accountant now has an increased scope. The challenge for the accountant will be to fit both responsibilities in his working hours7. Job enrichment is common in management trainee programs where the graduates get additional responsibilities of challenging nature as time goes by. Within two years of such a program, the graduates should be ready for top management.
Bien, M, Property Investing All-in-One for Dummies, Prentice Hall, New York, 2007. Web.
Hoesli, M, & B Macgregor, Property Investment: Principles and Practice of Portfolio Management, Wiley and sons, New York, 2000. Web.
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Hsieh, A, & H Chao, ‘A reassessment of the relationship between job specialization, job rotation and job burnout’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 15, no. 6, 2004, pp. 1108-1123. Web.
Jaturanonda, C, & S Nanthavanij, ‘A survey study on weights of decision criteria for job rotation: Comparison between public and private sectors’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 17, no. 10, 2006, pp. 1834-1851. Web.
Stone, R, Human Resource Management, Wiley, Brisbane Valley, 2014. Web.
Zutshi, S, Property Magic 2010: How to Buy Property Using Other People’s Time, Money, and Experience, Wiley, London, 2010. Web.
1 A Hsieh & H Chao, ‘A reassessment of the relationship between job specialization, job rotation and job burnout’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 15, no. 6, 2004, pp. 1108-1123.
2 M Hoesli & B Macgregor, Property Investment: Principles and Practice of Portfolio Management, Wiley and sons, New York, 2000.
3 R Stone, Human Resource Management, Wiley, Brisbane Valley, 2014.
4 R Stone, Human Resource Management, Wiley, Brisbane Valley, 2014.
5 M Bien, Property Investing All-in-One for Dummies, Prentice Hall, New York, 2007.
6 S Zutshi, Property Magic 2010: How to Buy Property Using Other People’s Time, Money and Experience, Wiley, London, 2010.
7 C Jaturanonda & S Nanthavanij, ‘A survey study on weights of decision criteria for job rotation: Comparison between public and private sectors’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 17, no. 10, 2006, pp. 1834-1851.