Work or job simplification refers to eliminating tasks from existing roles for an individual to focus on a specific role. It aims to create better work methods that maximize output while minimizing expenditure and cost.
In this post, we’ll zero in on the job simplification, from definition to the best practices for going about it. Furthermore, I’ll walk you through some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic. So hopefully, you’ll learn everything in the end, so let’s get started.
- What is Job Simplification?
- An Overview of Job Simplification
- 5 Job Simplification Techniques
- Job Simplification Vs. Job Rotation Vs. Job Enlargement Vs. Job Enrichment
- Job Simplification Advantages
- Job Simplification Disadvantages
- Related Questions
- Bottom Line
What is Job Simplification?
Job simplification is a common practice in many organizations. In layman’s terms, job simplification involves breaking down a complex task into several simpler parts. It is intended to enhance an individual’s productivity by reducing the amount of work he has to do. Work pressure consists of intense physical activity, mental stress, and psychological stress associated with systemic jobs.
A complex job is appraised, then subdivided into more straightforward bits. Employees are then assigned to these simpler jobs. The work is repetitive, which increases the employee’s expertise on them, leading to the increment of the company’s productivity. It’s an aspect of job design, along with job rotation and job enlargement.
In job simplification, an organization saves money on preparation because the adjusted jobs require only a low level of proficiency. Furthermore, the activity level increases as the individual perform a small portion of the previously more extensive and more complex activity.
Initially, this persuasive methodology was preferred over the building approach. It focused on making work more appealing to do—especially for information workers. However, work simplification has fallen out of favor thanks to increased automation and familiarity with working conditions among representatives.
An Overview of Job Simplification
Frederick Taylor was the first to endorse this approach. He proposed breaking down complex tasks into simple components, which are simple to learn and implement. The benefit is that a low skill level is required, it is less expensive for the organization, plus less error expectancy due to specialization.
According to Taylor, workers become specialists in their respective fields. This strategy was pioneered by Henry Ford, who could mass-produce cars at a lower cost than his competitors.
An additional benefit for employers is that you can easily replace even competent employees whose skills are simple to learn. Employees are, therefore, swappable cogs in the manufacturing machine. This method was dubbed ‘the engineering approach’ because the output is its primary criterion for making design decisions.
Job simplification has declined in popularity due to increased automation and employee awareness of working conditions—the motivational approach was spearheaded over it. This strategy centered on making jobs more appealing to work on, particularly for knowledge workers.
Despite decreasing, job simplification is still one of the four critical approaches to job design. Furthermore, a case could be made to bring back job simplification as a strategy to enhance jobs when extreme work pressure can lead to stress and health issues.
5 Job Simplification Techniques
1. Identify the Job
The first process in job simplification is defining or choosing which job to simplify. And the best way to spot such a job is by identifying the one that is the most tedious or the least productive one. If the knowledge of the job is insufficient, you can conduct interviews with experienced people to have a deeper understanding.
2. Collecting Relevant Data
Then collect all vital data on the job that you intend to simplify. This entails information on the total time spent, the steps in the job, the productivity level of the job, and so on.
3. Analyse the Collected Data
After collecting job-related data, it’s time to analyze them. All questions are asked here, and analysis is done to determine which alternatives should be investigated further.
4. Finding Alternate Solutions
At this stage, all options and alternatives for job simplification are developed. This is an essential process in job simplification. For the jobs to be simplified, four criteria are used—elimination, combination, re-arranging, and simplification. The intention is to make the current job safer and more accessible and enhance effectiveness.
Various tools can simplify the job in this stage—newer technology, automation, digitalization, and physical instruments. And after streamlining the job, the outcome should be documented, and a new method should be discussed.
5. Evaluation of Such Solutions
The implementation and maximization of the final simplified job are the final steps. Here, the latest finding is used to try out the new prototype. It is now optimized and adjusted. This step entails primarily managing stakeholders and persuading superiors to pass the final implementation of job simplification.
Job Simplification Vs. Job Rotation Vs. Job Enlargement Vs. Job Enrichment
Jobs are simplified or specialized here. A specific job is split up into small parts, with each piece assigned to a different person.
Job simplification entails:
- Work mechanical processing
- Repeating work operations
- Working on one part of the production
- Early identification of tools and skills
- Few skills required
Job rotation is among the job designs that address the issue of boredom. It refers to the movement of an employee from one job to another with no change in the job. In job rotation, an individual employee takes a variety of jobs that are, in most cases, similar.
Job enlargement entails increasing the number of functions or duties assigned to a specific job. This is the process of expanding the range of a job through increasing tasks to it—related tasks are combined.
Job enlargement, by definition, is opposed to working simplification. Adding more tasks/duties to a job does not necessitate the acquisition of new skills and abilities. Only a horizontal expansion is present.
It entails designing a job to give the worker greater independence in planning and managing their performance. Job enrichment strives to optimize responsibilities, efficiency, and human satisfaction by incorporating more personal achievement and recognition opportunities, more progressive organization work, and more opportunities for individual advancement into people’s jobs.
Job Simplification Advantages
- Breaking down jobs makes the complex ones a lot easier and tasks completed within a short time.
- The skills and productivity of employees increase after a short while since they continuously engage in a narrow line of jobs.
- More simple and easy jobs decrease different physical and mental stress associated with complex tasks.
- The job simplicity makes training staff an easy task.
- Replacing unproductive employees is easy since the skills requirements are low.
- Job simplification is a cheap approach as the expenses that the organization incurs is negligible after the implementation process.
- There are high chances for employees working under this approach to earn higher rewards.
Job Simplification Disadvantages
Job simplification comes with some shortcomings, and that’s why alternatives to job simplification have been preferred in recent years. Although it has numerous benefits, on closer examination, it reveals some limitations to the organization. Employees are not left out as well as you must address multiple issues. The following are the drawbacks of job simplification:
- Job simplification affects employees’ quality eventually, thanks to job repetition.
- The same job creates monotony
- Can increase slowness in employees
- While productivity increases at the beginning, it significantly reduces later on due to repetition.
- Absenteeism problem among employees
- Skilled workers will compel the organization to increase wages to retain their skilled workers.
- Although the approach decreases the complexity of the job, it can also increase frustration among employees.
1. What Is An Example Of Job Simplification?
One technique for simplifying work ranges from low-tech (like using no-scrub cleaners) to high-tech (like voice recognition software for typing). Here are more examples: Using an automated can opener rather than a manual can opener, increasing the length of a dustpan’s short handle to avoid bending.
2. How Important Is Job Simplification?
Work simplification is an effective tool for increasing operational efficiency, improving productivity, shortening cycle or lead time, and increasing customer satisfaction. If you haven’t used work simplification before, choose a narrow scope of work for your trial endeavor.
3. What Is a Job Enlargement Example?
Job enlargement is adding extra activities on the same scale to an existing role. This implies that an individual’s current job will include more and different activities—for example, an employee who manages their planning, which her manager previously handled ranges from.
4. How Does Work Simplification Promote Productivity?
During job simplification, the following steps are taken: avoiding unnecessary jobs, combining jobs wherever possible, reconfiguring the sequence of operations to optimize results, and streamlining the process.
5. What Is Dovetailing In Work Simplification?
Dovetailing techniques involve scheduling and accomplishing two or more tasks simultaneously. Because of the nature of each job, you can shift your attention from one to another.
Overall, you can best use job simplification to achieve short-term objectives. However, it can cause more harm than good if implemented for a long-term goal. However, the short-term benefits in productivity and cost-effectiveness are overshadowed by long-term declines in productivity and employee tardiness.
As a result, several alternatives to job simplification should be explored. Despite it being a component of job design, other components such as job rotation and job design have more significant benefits and fewer drawbacks to all parties involved.