Specifying task priorities in the job description further helps managers determine how to distribute performance-based rewards along different task dimensions. Below are several ways to clarify job expectations and motivate your employees.
Refer to the job description when there are questions about what the job involves. It describes for your workers what your organization expects of them. Duty statements give direction and, through priorities and time percentages, the job description indicates the magnitude of effort required for successful performance in various areas. When employees know what is expected, they tend to feel the efforts they exert will pay off, resulting in achievement. This is motivation. When people feel that effort will be worthwhile, they are likely to exert that effort and be motivated to generate results.
The job description inspires employee commitment, demonstrating to employees that the organization understands the nature and value of their role in the organization. The very existence of the job description gives the job meaning. Also, when employees have job descriptions to follow they tend to feel more secure because they more vividly see how the organization needs them. Further, job descriptions help employees avoid missing or forgetting about tasks. Morale is boosted by reducing employee uncertainty about what is expected.
For analyzing a job's potential for providing intrinsic satisfactions, the job description will alert the analyst to such variables as the degree of task depth, the amount of task challenge, the diversity of skill levels required, learning and growth opportunities at work, opportunities to exercise creativity through work, task wholeness, task meaningfulness, task variety, and so on. All these variables can significantly affect worker satisfaction with employment. By studying an employee's job description, a manager can spot ways to enhance worker satisfaction by altering one or more of these factors.
By studying a job description one can gain knowledge about the social and physical contexts of a job. Task statements, statements about administrative relations, and explicit descriptions of the physical and social environments of the job are among some of the data that indicate the variety and depth of social relations in a workplace. For example, if the job requires that the worker perform a considerable amount of work within a group or small team setting, the job description should indicate this. Such information suggests a great deal about the social satisfactions likely to be derived from the work experience itself. If a job is performed in a comfortable, well-decorated room with soft music playing, the job description should indicate this. Such data tell the analyst that a significant part of the rewards on this job are provided by the physical surroundings.
Employees often take on assignments, either self-initiated or requested, that go beyond the requirements of the job--beyond what they were hired to do. This happens as employees grow in their positions and are able to contribute positively to the organization in ways not specified by the original job description. By reviewing the job description and comparing its demands with the extra accomplishments of the worker, management has a sound basis for providing recognition for outstanding contribution.
Job descriptions for higher level positions tell employees at other levels what they must learn and become proficient at in order to do quality work upon promotion. By studying the job description for a position into which one has a chance to be promoted, one can establish skill development goals that are meaningful and begin working to develop needed skills prior to promotion. For employees looking for promotions, this could be a potential motivator.
Job descriptions define work requirements. For example, they are useful to refer to during counseling sessions when a subordinate is being reprimanded for non-execution or poor execution of agreed-to assignments. The job description gives the manager support in attempting to convince employees of their (potentially neglected) responsibilities. It provides clear evidence of what types of behavior the organization expects of the employee and, therefore, serves as a standard. Non-compliance can mean the legitimate application of disciplinary measures or penalties (negative rewards). The job description can, for example, help management prove that a discharge from the organization for non-performance of duties is for just cause.
Employees often resist exerting high levels of effort on their jobs because of anticipated high levels of boredom, fatigue, stress, or frustration, associated with high effort. By analyzing the job description one can identify and appreciate those tasks that may be the source of such costs. Once identified, action can be taken to redesign the work to reduce these costs. Better work scheduling, work breaks, better tools, and so forth can be introduced to ease costs. Any such action, in effect, boosts one's willingness to increase energy levels, thus increasing motivation.
By carefully analyzing and considering the function of job descriptions, jobs that are similar in their psychological and/or physical impact on workers can be identified and grouped together. All jobs in such a group can be treated somewhat identically during an organization's efforts to improve the quality of work life (QWL). Any organization attempting to upgrade the QWL can make its efforts more efficient and, indeed, can more validly assess the results of its efforts by operating on a number of jobs simultaneously. By applying the same QWL improvement strategies to a number of jobs rather than singling out different jobs for different treatment, management also avoids those charges of unfair or preferential treatment.
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