Can you remember a time when your own job went from challenging to ho-hum? Your…
By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Can you remember when your job went from challenging to ho-hum? When your attention drifted, and you started looking around? Why would you let that happen to your people?
Ironically, your most valuable people fall victim to this vague discontent most quickly. They’re savvy, creative, and energetic. They need stimulating work, opportunities that challenge them, and a contributing stake in organizational action.
When they don’t find that, some of them quit and leave. Worse yet, they quit and stay. Absenteeism and mediocre performance can be symptoms of this disease. Employees start to think, “What’s the point, anyway?”
Attack this problem by focusing on job enrichment. How do you know what that might be? Ask your staff!
- Do you know how important your job is to the company?
- What skills do you use? What talents do you have that you don’t use?
- What about your job do you find challenging? Rewarding?
- Where would you like to take increased responsibility in your current assignments?
- Anything else about your job that you’d like to change?
Answers will vary among your employees, though their responses will reflect an interest in the following:
- Greater autonomy
- Increased feedback from clients, co-workers, and you
- Increased variety in tasks
- Increased client contact
- Participation in decisions about work processes before they’re cast in stone
- New challenges and learning beyond current levels
There’s no need to rush this process. Make it collaborative with your employee and take time for creative conversation. Many job enrichment possibilities are in your control and don’t require significant changes or big bucks.
Take employees on client sales calls. Engage them in a “how’d we do?” conversation afterward. Assign pre-visit research, if appropriate.
Rotate assignments. Suggest the idea and let your employees propose the “who” and “how” part. You might be surprised at how smoothly it happens.
Build in feedback. Go beyond annual reviews to develop peer and client review opportunities. Continual feedback allows employees to be their own quality-control agents.
Connect to the end product. Structure employee input on decisions that impact their work, such as budgeting and hiring or organizing work and schedules. Employees who see how their work connects to the whole get the ‘big picture.’
Include enrichment during goal-setting. As you work with employees on personal goals, include a discussion of enrichment-related goals. In the process, your employees will tell you exactly what it would take to keep them.
Retention is a big enough problem. You don’t need to risk losing your best people over something you could have fixed. Job enrichment isn’t tricky. But it does require being alert to the many ways you can do it.