Why does job design matter? 

In a knowledge economy, successful workplaces are likely to be those which use and develop the skills, knowledge and creativity of employees at all levels to the fullest possible extent. Employee talent and insight can drive productivity, improvement and innovation, and this is at the heart of the engagement agenda.

Job Design should be placed as a high priority issue

Yet job design barely exists in management vocabulary in the UK, though its importance is widely recognised elsewhere in Northern Europe. Job design is a wasted resource in the struggle to improve competitiveness and employee wellbeing. For example the UK Commission for Skills and Employment argues that there is a necessary shift in policy focus towards ensuring that skills are effectively used as well as developed in the workplace. This long overdue recognition that many of our workplaces are characterised by a waste of employee talent should place job design as a high priority issue for managers and policymakers alike.

This paper (download from the link, bottom right) explains what job design is with some discussion of conceptual underpinnings and the principle dimensions of job design, summarised under seven headings.

What should managers do?

The evidence is clear that job design plays an important role not just in engagement but in critical measures such as productivity, quality, innovation and wellbeing.

The seven job design indicators outlined in the report can provide a starting point for self assessment, and for inclusive dialogue and reflection involving teams, line managers, HR and union representatives.

Content provided by Peter Totterdill of UK Work Organisation Network

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