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What is job design and why is it so important?

Job design involves defining the roles and responsibilities within your small business, how these are performed, and what resources are needed to ensure they can be completed. It helps with increasing motivation, confidence, productivity, work quality, and job satisfaction.

Good job design also helps reduce absenteeism and turnover. In a small business setting, these factors contribute to the mental health of yourself and your team, which in turn contributes to the success of your small business.

There are several key characteristics which can be applied within your small business, for yourself and your employees:

  • Variety: Performing tasks which require the use of many different skills, rather than something repetitive. This could mean ensuring your tasks are spread across the week, taking on new and challenging work, or keeping an eye out for professional development opportunities to expand your skills.
  • Ownership: It’s rewarding to take responsibility and see a job through from beginning to end. Allowing yourself or others to take full ownership of a task, client, or project will lead to high engagement with work and a strong sense of accomplishment.
  • Significance: It’s important to feel like the work you do is important and meaningful. It can be de-motivating to feel like your work doesn’t matter or goes unnoticed. Try seeking feedback from customers or clients for your work or acknowledging your employees for their efforts.
  • Autonomy: One of the perks of running a small business is having freedom and independence over how and when a job is performed. This helps create a sense of responsibility and pride in your work. It’s also important to give your employees some level autonomy to help motivate them to accomplish goals.
  • Feedback: Communication between you and your team helps work stay on track, improve, and respond to changing requirements. Delivering direct, constructive and respectful feedback to your team individually can help them stay focussed and ensures you are happy with the output. It’s also important to reflect on the quality of your own work, and ensuring you give yourself some credit for a job well done.

Although “quick wins” such as bonuses and incentives might temporarily lift morale, investing in carefully considered and purposeful job design is a fantastic way to increase longer-term job satisfaction in your small business.

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