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Make it Easy for People to Work Published: Sunday, June 18, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Let us face an interesting paradox. One of the realities of contemporary work and organizational life is that the attention span of many people is considerably reduced when the time necessary to complete a job is very extensive. The contemporary condition is that the longer it takes to complete a task, the less likelihood there is that the person will be energized toward the realization of the goal. People want to have the expectation that they will conclude something important. In the same manner, if the time required for the completion of a task is too short, completion of the task itself becomes a meaningless goal. The short-range type of tasks does not invite the sense of significant accomplishment that people will like to obtain from their jobs. The point is that tasks have to be of a optimum size. The challenge is that considering limiting or building upon job assignments where the employee and the professional can have more of a sense of completion and favorable job satisfaction.

Structuring larger assignments allow for the establishment of larger incentive systems than those set for the smaller and more routine types of jobs. This is not of giving away the store or killing the bottom line. It is about rearranging the incentive systems to be more meaningful as a real incentive. These days people are looking for the dollars instead of the pennies. Apart from the fact that the reduction of monotony lead to improved quality consciousness, there is another big factor. Job diversification draws from people greater satisfaction from work. The individual can feel more satisfaction from a complete job. That attempt at satisfaction leads to improved quality performance. The employee`s understanding and contribution to the end product instead to a smaller or insignificant step in production or service delivery can make a huge performance difference. The purpose is that of making people feel more responsible for the quality of their execution.

Here are some intelligent steps aiming at a better work re-design.

  • Review the production or service delivery techniques.
  • Combine small and insignificant tasks.
  • Define optimum size jobs.
  • Re-engineer the process and the workflow around bite size jobs.
  • Devise new incentives scales based on optimum jobs rather than on production or service steps.
  • Constantly, educate and train people to increase their competencies and skills for larger tasks.
  • Improve equipment and technologies to be more multi-functional.

There will always be some resistance to changing occupational requirements and the key to this conditions is involving participants of these processes. When people realize that his or her job is being expanded and that they will acquire new and useful skills it becomes more easy coming to a constructive agreement. In the long run, improvements in productivity increase job security and mobility. Leaders have to teach employees that by engaging in such undertakings, their organizations can more readily compete with other organizations that have already improved their quality, performance and productivity. Without needed productivity improvements, there will be no jobs and organizational growth. When productivity cannot be improved doors are closed because of a lack of cost effectiveness. Organizations, leaders and employees have to overcome the warning that much of what we call traditional management consists in making it difficult for people to work…


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