Organizational Wellness

A Job Enrichment Guide for Human Resource Professionals

Apr 22, 2023
Last Updated May 16, 2024

People want more than a paycheck from work. Everyone has to pay the bills, but a truly competitive talent retention strategy seeks to provide employees with a sense of purpose and opportunities for professional development.

Job enrichment offers just that. By expanding employees' roles, giving them more autonomy, and providing avenues for upskilling, you support employee engagement and satisfaction. 

And your employee’s aren’t the only ones that benefit from job enrichment. Research shows that a better employee experience drives better business results. So whether you are a small business owner or part of a large enterprise, helping employees unlock their full potential can contribute to your organization's long-term success.


What Is Job Enrichment?

Job enrichment, sometimes referred to as job enhancement, gives employees more authority and ownership in their role. This can increase their passion and dedication. It includes actions like:

  • Giving employees new tasks or combining existing ones.
  • Encouraging employees to learn new skills through training, coaching, or job shadowing.
  • Giving and receiving meaningful feedback.
  • Job rotation which gives variety and more experience to employees.

The concept of job enrichment was introduced in the 1900s by Frederick Herzberg, who had a Two-Factor Theory to explain job satisfaction. He theorized that employee motivation and satisfaction are influenced by what he called “hygiene factors” and “motivational factors.” Hygiene factors include working conditions, salary, benefits, relationships with colleagues, and job security. Motivational factors are elements of a job like recognition, responsibility, and meaningful feedback. 

Herzberg found that both hygiene and motivational factors both influence people in different ways. According to his theory, an individual who is satisfied with their employer (thanks to its hygiene factors) may not feel motivated enough to prioritize their career development and reach new goals (due to a lack of motivational factors).

Job enhancement focuses on tying the two together. It helps employees feel engaged and satisfied with your company by motivating them in meaningful ways to enrich their current roles and job responsibilities. 

Examples of Job Enrichment

Job enrichment programs can involve a variety of strategies or techniques. The best job enhancement strategies for your company depend on what your workforce needs in terms of their skill sets and career development goals.

Providing Employees With Job Shadowing Opportunities

A job shadowing program allows employees to gain insight into different roles and learn new competencies from experienced colleagues. When an employee job shadows another team member, it can help them deepen their understanding of the organization and the roles they might like to pursue. 

Offering a New Variety of Tasks Into an Employee’s Workload

Varied tasks can involve assigning employees new responsibilities beyond the scope of their existing role, such as allowing them to assist another department or colleague with a project. By offering employees additional challenges, they can develop new skills and knowledge that can help them progress in their careers. Allowing employees to take on roles outside their comfort zone also demonstrates trust from you, their employer.

Increasing an Employee's Decision-Making Responsibility

Giving employees more autonomy and responsibility over their work can be a great way to enrich their job. Employees trusted to make decisions feel empowered and in control, which can boost their satisfaction. 

Job Enrichment vs. Job Enlargement

Job enrichment and job enlargement are two closely related concepts. Both involve adding more challenging tasks and variety into a role so an employee can expand their knowledge and experience. 

Job enlargement increases the number of tasks assigned to an employee without expanding their level of responsibility or authority. 

Job enrichment, on the other hand, focuses on adding new elements, such as more ownership, authority, responsibility, and variety into a job role so it's more interesting and engaging for employees. 

Benefits of Job Enrichment

Job enrichment makes an employee's job more interesting and engaging, improving employee productivity, engagement, and retention.

Higher Employee Engagement

Job enrichment is an effective way to increase employee engagement. Giving your employees more meaningful work gives them a larger mission and purpose in their careers. It also gives them the opportunity to make important decisions and create a sense of ownership and accountability. As a result, this sense of autonomy can help them stay more engaged with their work and your company. 

Try to encourage problem-solving and creativity through these new opportunities, as this also leads to higher levels of engagement.

Improves Employee Motivation and Performance

In addition to improving employee engagement, job enhancement can also improve employee motivation and performance. Companies with an engaged workforce see 81% less absenteeism than an unengaged workforce, according to Gallup. Unengaged employees are also 61% more likely to feel burnt out from their work, which can negatively affect their performance.

Higher Retention Rates 

Employees who are engaged are less likely to look elsewhere for a new job. Companies with an engaged workforce see between 18-43% less employee turnover. A report from LinkedIn shows that 94% of employees said they would stay with a company longer when the company invests in their careers. 

Since job enrichment promotes increased authority for employees over their own work, it can create a feeling of loyalty and commitment to the company. When employees have trust in an organization and feel like their efforts are appreciated, supported, and valued, they’re more likely to stay loyal to the organization.

Best Practices for Job Enrichment

HR professionals aim to create a company culture of job enrichment to ensure employees feel engaged and motivated to do their best work. Proactively implementing job enrichment techniques to help employees reach their full potential can foster this type of work environment.

  1. Give Employees More Autonomy

Autonomy is the ability of an employee to make decisions on their own, without consulting with higher-ups or following a specific set of procedures. 

Employees want more autonomy. By giving it to them, you stand to increase employee satisfaction and motivation. There are many ways you can give employees autonomy. Try letting them take the lead on tasks and projects, or asking for their input on a new company initiative. You can encourage them to use more creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills as they explore new responsibilities – all without having to seek approval from their superiors. 

Promoting employee autonomy can help you foster an environment where employees feel valued and respected

  1. Offer Upskilling & Reskilling Opportunities

Upskilling is when employees acquire new skills they can apply to their existing role. Reskilling, on the other hand, is when an employee gains new skills or knowledge that can be used in a different role. Providing these opportunities helps empower employees to deepen abilities, contributing to their professional development.

There are many ways to structure these kinds of programs, from offering employees self-paced training courses to having a tuition reimbursement program. However it looks at your organization, this type of support can help employees stay at the leading edge of their field.

  1. Provide Frequent Meaningful Feedback

Frequent, ongoing feedback is an important component of job enrichment as it helps to increase motivation and establish trust among employees. It helps employees identify what they’re doing well, where they can improve, and if they’re on track to reach their objectives. 

This is especially important when employees are taking on new tasks. It’s a good idea to mix positive feedback with constructive feedback to keep employee morale high during any learning curve. One-on-one meetings with supervisors are a great time for these conversations, which are typically most effective when consistent as assessments can be given in a timely manner.

Employee Wellness and Job Enrichment Go Hand-in-Hand

Your employees are the foundation of any organization, so empowering them powers your business. And while professional development like job enrichment contributes, it’s an incomplete picture without tending to your employees’ personal growth. 

Happy, healthy employees call in sick less, run more profitable departments, and have higher job performance. A wellness program enables them to develop as individuals in a way that comes right back to you — nine out of 10 companies that measure their wellness program’s return see a positive ROI.

Wellhub can help your team establish a wellness program that works for your company. Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist today to enrich your employee experience! 

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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