What’s Trending: Job Enrichment

What’s Trending: Job Enrichment

What’s Trending: Job Enrichment

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Have you ever felt bored at work? Have you ever felt like you’ve been doing the same day in and day out? Well, this is not an uncommon problem for employees, but companies that want to retain their top talent have been implementing job enrichment as a strategy.


In the thorough article on Personio, the author breaks down the meaning of this particular plan of action, how it can be implemented, its pros and cons, and possibly most importantly, how it can help companies prevent burnout for their workers.

Job enrichment is a strategy popularized by Frederick Hertzberg in the decades of 1950 and 1960. This method means “adding extra dimensions to a job to make it more interesting and motivating,” ultimately avoiding the employee from falling into a boring routine. This is achieved by giving them more control over their work, allowing them to find new different ways to do their tasks, all while still reaching the desired goals.

“Employers might introduce various strategies to add variety and interest to each job, to help motivate employees and increase their satisfaction at work.”

Now, they list a series of characteristics of successful job enrichment methods:

  • Autonomy
  • Skill variety
  • Task identity
  • Task significance
  • Feedback & communication

Still, this is not a magic solution. It does not mean that employees will immediately get cured of burnout and will be forever indebted to the company. Just as it has its pros, like increased motivation, lower turnover, improved employee experience, and uncovering potential, it has its own set of drawbacks. These can be from an increased workload, employees not wanting to participate, or even micromanagement.

Mind Tools

As the article penned by the Mind Tools Content Team points out, everyone wants to be challenged and satisfied at work. Job enrichment not only helps companies retain workers, but it can also help employees expand their skills, develop new abilities and find new ways to resolve problems.

“Enriched jobs give you more freedom, independence and responsibility.”

An important part that they note is that for job enrichment to work properly, there must be an environment of fairness and trust in the company, especially if there will be special compensation.

According to Daniel Pink, a writer and business researcher, the autonomy, mastery, and purpose that enrichment brings boosts intrinsic motivation. That is the motivation that comes from inside, rather than looking for the dangling carrot of a bonus or time off or whatever other external motivator.

As a way of action, the article suggests that before setting a company-wide plan, there should be a controlled experiment where you can see if it’s a good option for your company.


According to a survey by Gallup cited in the Factorial article penned by Kat Valier, only 13% of employees are motivated by their work. This is why implementing job enrichment strategies is important to boost employee engagement and motivation.

“It’s about creating a work culture based on psychological safety at work where managers encourage a growth mindset and employees strive to take on more responsibility.”

Now, something that this article goes further into is the original two-factor theory proposed by Frederick Hertzberg. In his original vision, there are two separate dimensions that contribute to the employee’s behavior at work. The first dimension is hygiene factors, meaning their salary, environment, rules, and management. If these are not “clean,” the worker’s motivation falls through. The second focus is the motivators. These can be defined by the things that satisfy a higher need that’s not so easy to define, such as recognition, opportunity for growth, and responsibility.

Satisfying both helps address motivational needs, the basis for job enrichment, and thus increasing motivation and satisfaction.

But there is another concept that tends to make waves when discussing the enrichment method: job enlargement. This is a similar concept, but they have clear and distinct differences that make them unique. If job enrichment is all about adding motivators through variety, job enlargement adds responsibilities to a role.

The “job enlargement vs job enrichment” debacle starts because these concepts can overlap with each other. This happens because job enlargement can feature in job enrichment plans, but not all job enrichment means a job must be enlarged.

The takeaway

There is no perfect solution for certain work problems, but the truth is that companies can help workers and retain them through different strategies. Improving the engagement, motivation, and autonomy each worker has on their own tasks can help boost their commitment to a company.

The job enrichment strategy must be used wisely, though, as it can only work in environments where fairness and trust reign to avoid falling into micromanagement or meaningless job enlargement without proper compensation.

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