Insights + Research

Beginning as a spark, a seed, an idea and growing into knowledge. Integrated business partnerships, extensive industry experience and research into current trends all bring unique insights that guide our practice. We investigate, explore and share research and insights from across the globe.

Happiness: The Neglected Role of Job Design

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“People who are given greater variety and independence in their jobs feel both less stressed and more satisfied, according to findings which suggest that several management practices designed to make employees more efficient, also make them happier.”

An article by Wood and de Menezes (2011) has confirmed our opinion that Job Design is an integral part of ensuring an organisation’s success and importantly, its employees’ level of job satisfaction.

The findings from the study show that when people are given greater task variety and autonomy, they report feeling less stressed and more engaged in their role. Furthermore, employees appreciate and respond most to consultative and transparent management styles. The research even showed that performance-related pay did not have an effect on employee satisfaction or stress levels.

Professor Stephen Wood from the University of Leicester who led the research, said: “The way jobs are designed has a huge impact on employees’ sense of happiness at work. But this is in danger of being neglected, at a time when people are worrying about unemployment, job security and the fairness of large salaries.”

Specifically, the research measured anxiety and job satisfaction levels to ascertain employee well-being. They measured well-being across a number of different organisations and looked at the level of involvement that the employees had in their own companies. High levels of involvement were found in companies that gave their employees high levels of autonomy and variety, but were also transparent in the way that they announced changes and kept people informed about overall organisational performance. Further, the author also notes that having a job that is designed to have autonomy and variety is likely to increase opportunities for skill use and development, which in turn makes an employee feel as if they are adding value and play a significant role in the organisation.

So when job design processes are conducted, it should be a priority to make sure that employees have the ability to operate autonomously and enjoy task variety. The benefits to employees feeling as if they have a place in an organisation, and further that they make a substantive positive difference to the organisation, are far reaching.

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