Job Enlargement: Definition, Benefits, & Examples
As an employee finds satisfaction in doing the same job and following the same routine for a long time, how sure are you that they aren’t bored of the monotonicity? Let’s consider management’s perspective here. When there is a requirement for a resource, why would you hire an extra person when you can split the work within the current employees?
Monotony seems possible, maybe you have already seen that. And the possibility of splitting the job within the current employees seems easier than the pain of hiring an extra person and training them for the job. The above mentioned instances can be addressed under the topic: Job Enlargement.
This article will explain what job enlargement is, the advantages, disadvantages, and examples of it.
What is Job Enlargement?
Job enlargement is an effective strategy to add extra roles and responsibilities to the current job level in an intention to add benefit to the company, as well as to the employees.
Job enlargement is a great way to gain trust among your employees because, when the responsibilities are added, they may feel their work in the company is valued and recognized. Most employees find this as an opportunity to upskill themselves by doing additional tasks and taking more training.
However, job enlargement is often confused with job enrichment, the following topic will help you get a clear understanding about both.
The Difference Between Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment
Job enlargement as we’ve discussed, it’s a job technique to add additional tasks to the employee in the same level. This is not a job promotion. Simply put, when there’s a resource that’s required for the company, employees with relevant skills are listed and assigned with the tasks.
Meanwhile, job enrichment almost means the same as job enlargement; additional tasks to the current role to make the job more motivating. Job enrichment involves an increase in pay for adding more tasks to the existing job.
Advantages of Job Enlargement
Job enlargement comes in as a benefit to both parties involved: employees and managers. The following are a few note-worthy advantages of job enlargement:
Increased Employee Engagement
The more tasks on the plate of an employee, the more enthusiastic they will feel. Because they know they have their daily tasks to complete into additional tasks. The switch of tasks helps them beat the boredom and concentrate more on their work.
In addition to the enthusiasm of working on different tasks, the job enlargement helps you to gain their trust. This is a ray of hope for them to grow and the longevity in the company is an assurance.
Let’s say an employee has a set of tasks assigned for a job role and they get to do the same routine every single day. In this instance, from the employee’s point of view, the chances of them learning something everyday is zero. Though a well-known task is a comfort zone to many, boredom can kick in super quickly.
The biggest advantage of job enlargement is that it reduces boredom. Job enlargement shifts gears from narrow lanes to a multi path where the employee gets to explore and learn more.
Upskills the Employees
Nothing should stop an employee from upskilling if they want. If they get to know their company provides training and hands on experience for upskilling, the longevity curve reaches the peak.
When you add additional tasks, though the pay hasn’t changed, your current employees will surely think of this as an area of improvement within the organisation. Training your employees is a win-win because they can upskill and your jobs are done.
An Opportunity to Work on Different Activities
You know that job enlargement involves combining more tasks to the current role. This is an opportunity for you to check your employees’ capacity in handling additional tasks. Not all can handle extra work than their daily tasks. You can easily find the more capable one for the next promotion.
On the other hand, an employee will be more than interested in getting their hands dirty in exploring different tasks within the company. In addition to reducing the monotony, the exciting and curious factors in learning and doing extra tasks are high.
Adds More Accountability, Responsibility, and Autonomy
Job enlargement is the most rewarding experience an employee can go through. Job enlargement focuses on reducing the micromanaging part in a company. With the added responsibilities employees are held accountable for the tasks they are assigned to.
The ups and downs in their tasks are handled solely by them (with minimal support or micro managing). Simply put, they are not told what to do. But they decide how to carry out their tasks, manage their time, and get the job done. The so-called autonomy gives them a sense of responsibility and accountability in your company.
Disadvantages of Job Enlargement
The main reason for implementing job enlargement is to reduce boredom. However, though this method is considered an effective strategy in retaining employees it does come with a few drawbacks. The following are the few drawbacks of job enlargement:
Lower Efficiency and Quality
Let’s exclude the curiosity and excitement in taking on additional tasks for a moment, the question of if the employees will be able to handle the extra tasks without compromising the quality is a huge one.
Another possible drawback you may need to pay attention to is that your employees have experienced all the areas in your company and the part of specialisation takes the hit here. Being a pro in a single field and excelling in it is different. But handling everything and not being able to specialise in it could be worse at times.
The biggest downside is that job enlargement requires an employee to perform all the tasks. Once the employee passes the curiosity stage, these additional tasks can eventually lead to stress and burnout. The additional tasks may make the employees feel that the job is overwhelming and unrealistic.
Training Levels and Cost Increases
Just when you start giving tasks, employees cannot just start working on it. They require proper training to carry out the tasks properly. Hence this is going to cost the company.
Your company is costly in terms of money and time. Employees would require a certain time to understand and upskill themselves to match the productivity you have in mind.
Examples of Job Enlargement
Now that you are aware of job enlargement, its advantages and disadvantages, let’s take a look at the examples to understand it better.
Job enlargement also includes asking your employees to train fellow employees. Let’s consider an employee who has mastered their current role. You can assign them to help the new employees by training them for the role.
This is more like a buddy training, this way job enlargement is done also the new employee has a chance to get along with his/her peers.
Horizontal Job Enlargement
Horizontal job loading or enlargement means, if an employee resolves 20 tickets a day, it will get increased to 40 tickets a day. This way you can see how the work is done, or if the quality is compromised or not. Addition of such tasks on an everyday basis helps the employees improve their skills.
Assessing the tasks assigned you can consider the particular employee for a raise in salary or promotion.
Job enlargement is solely introduced to reduce the redundancy and boredom in the workplace. Though it is an effective workplace strategy, it has its drawbacks. Keeping your work environment and work nature in mind, you can come up with efficient changes to work on the possible drawbacks we discussed. With additional tasks assigned to your employees, you enrich their skills and increase your company’s productivity.
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