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3 mistakes managers make when designing jobs

A key role of management is to design jobs that not only meet the organisation’s goals, but also support the well-being of employees. However, we know that managers – even with the best of intentions – can sometimes make common mistakes when designing jobs.

Let’s explore three of these pitfalls - and more importantly, how to avoid them:

1: Limiting growth opportunities

  • When failing to incorporate the potential for new challenges and development into a role, employees may feel stagnated and seek opportunities elsewhere. This will increase employee turnover and a loss of valuable talent. Boring work can be harmful and may lead to negative effects like depression or burnout. Research shows that those who frequently experienced boredom at work were 2.5 times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who were not.

  • Solution: Create work that is stimulating, with a wide variety of tasks, skills, interactions and opportunities.

Mistake 2: Micromanagement

  • A high level of management control can discourage teams from contributing ideas and reduce their ownership of tasks. And constant monitoring of performance can undermine trust.

  • Solution: Most people thrive on having an element of freedom over how, when and where they work. Engage with your team to help them have some control over these factors and get their input into key decisions.

Mistake 3: Assuming that one-size-fits-all

  • Treating everyone the same, regardless of their strengths or interests, can lead to decreased motivation and less engagement at work.

  • Solution: When creating or reviewing a role, consider developing tailored solutions to fit the organisation, individuals and situation. For example, some people want more work variety than others, and people also vary in how much social interaction they prefer.

There is a set of key principles that can be applied to help you to design good work, which will have significant benefits for both employees and employers.

Want to learn more? We are pleased to be offering the next instalment of the SMART Work Design Curtin Credential course this year, commencing 18 September 2023. This fully online, self-paced, eight-week course gives you the understanding and the tools to redesign your own and others’ work based on the SMART Work Design principles. The SMART framework covers five key themes – Stimulating, Mastery, Agency, Relational and Tolerable Demands.

You will explore the SMART framework to create and redesign jobs to increase satisfaction, reduce stress and lead to a flourishing organisation.

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