One way to improve motivation is to enrich jobs. The “scientific” management school divided work into component parts, at which each worker, by repetition, became proficient – and bored. Aim for variety, multiskilling, and high interest levels.

Raising Interest Levels

The interest in a job depends on the content of the work, its complexity, and the sense of achievement generated by successful completion. You will not raise an assembly line workers’ interest, for example, by adding one more repetitive task.  Instead, put staff in a manufacturing cell with six people, say, each with interchangeable skills, and make that group responsible for an entire subassembly. This will raise interest levels in the same way as giving a wine- shop assistant expertise in the wines carried.  Ideally, give difficult-yet-doable jobs to somebody whose personal drive will be engaged by the task.

Developing Skills

The more varied the job content, the greater the need for new skills. Try to apply multidisciplinary, cross-functional working in teams.  This helps to develop new skills, which may need formal training. Although training may take staff members away from their workloads, it is beneficial in adding to variety and is essentially motivational.

Encourage everyone to think of portable skills as their personal capital. Consider making the acquisition of new skills an element in bonuses and pay rises. With good management, the acquired skills of each staff member will more than justify the extra rewards.

Providing Variety

If you give a whole task to one person, instead of splitting it between several, it will add more variety and responsibility to their job.  It is also a good way of increasing staff involvement and commitment levels as well as developing  otherwise unused skills. Provide variety by giving people new tasks, making them members of quality and other project teams, sending them on customer visits, and so on. The guiding principle is to stimulate enthusiasm.

Asking for Suggestions

Encouraging people to use their initiative to improve efficiency enriches jobs and increases variety.  Ask staff for suggestions and, if possible, act on the answers you receive.  Feeling comfortable making suggestions is enriching in itself.  Constantly looking to see how a task can be improved adds to the variety.  Beware, though, that an atmosphere that has been unresponsive in the past may restrain people from volunteering ideas. 

Points to Remember
  • Real job enrichment produces cost savings as well as increasing motivation.
  • Training is both a means to and a form of job enrichment.
  • Staff members prefer a difficult job to a boring one.
  • Employees like to be considered experts in their jobs, and to be treated accordingly.
  • People who have kept valuable suggestions quiet for years should be helped to “open up”.


  1. Delegate all tasks to improve efficiency and motivation.
  2. Give staff every opportunity to use newly acquired skills once training has finished.
  3. When an idea is accepted, let the creator implement the suggestion.

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Bernard Taiwo

I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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