Job enrichment is a method of motivating employees where a job is designed to have interesting and challenging tasks which can require more skill and can increase pay.


Frederick Herzberg, an American psychologist, originally developed the concept of 'job enrichment' in 1968, in an article that he published on pioneering studies at AT&T.[1] The concept stemmed from Herzberg's motivator-hygiene theory, which is based on the premise that job attitude is a construct of two independent factors, namely job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction.[1] Job satisfaction encompasses intrinsic factors which arise from the work itself, including achievement and advancement, whilst job dissatisfaction stems from factors external to the actual work, including company policy and the quality of supervision.[1]

He came up with this term while he was working on his "two factor theory" which states that both satisfaction (e.g. job satisfaction) and dissatisfaction are driven by separate factors that are completely independent of each other. To this effect he implies that just because an individual experiences a decrease in dissatisfaction, does not mean that the result is also an increase in satisfaction.

Advantages and disadvantages




Job enrichment, as a managerial activity, includes a three-step technique:[2]

  1. Turn employees' effort into performance:
    • Ensuring that objectives are well-defined and understood by everyone. The overall corporate mission statement should be communicated to all. Individuals' goals should also be clear: each employee should know exactly how he/she fits into the overall process and be aware of how important their contribution is to the organization and its customers.
    • Providing adequate resources for each employee to perform well. This includes support functions like information technology, communication technology, and personnel training and development.
    • Creating a supportive corporate culture. This includes peer support networks, supportive management, and removing elements that foster mistrust and politicking.
    • Free flow of information. Eliminate secrecy.
    • Provide enough freedom to facilitate job excellence. Encourage and reward employee initiative. Flextime or compressed hours could be offered.
    • Provide adequate recognition, appreciation, and other motivators.
    • Provide skill improvement opportunities. This could include paid education at universities or on the job training.
    • Provide job variety. This can be done by job sharing or job rotation programmes.
    • It may be necessary to re-engineer the job process. This could involve redesigning the physical facility, redesign processes, change technologies, simplification of procedures, elimination of repetitiveness, redesigning authority structures.
  2. Link employees performance directly to reward:
    • Clear definition of the reward is a must
    • Explanation of the link between performance and reward is important
    • Make sure the employee gets the right reward if performs well
    • If reward is not given, explanation is needed
  3. Make sure the employee wants the reward. How to find out?
    • Ask them
    • Use surveys (checklist, listing, questions). Once you know what the employees want, give them the tools they need to earn it and follow through on your word.

Versus job enlargement

Job enrichment can be contrasted to job enlargement which simply increases the number of tasks without changing the challenge. Job enrichment is seen as a vertical job restructuring technique where the focus is on giving the employee more authority, independence, and control over the manner the activity is completed. On the other hand, job enlargement is seen as a horizontal restructuring technique where the focus is merely increasing the number of assignments but does not change the overall authority, autonomy, and control of the projects. Job enlargements impact on the work environment is not always the most positive due to the fact that it is largely just an increase in work for the employee and not really a step up in responsibility. Job enrichment on the other hand is a very motivational technique in the management world. The act of enriching an employee's job not only is a sign of respect but it also shows that the employer actually cares about the employee as a person. This creates a desire for the employee to want to pay the employer back in the form of hard work, loyalty, and dedication the company.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Frederick Herzberg, HBR Jan 2003, One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees? Retrieved from
  2. ^ "Job enrichment". 7 November 2021.