Aligning People with Jobs
Aligning people with their jobs is not a new or revolutionary idea. Today, most employees fantasize about the possibility of exceptional job alignment, where employees skip to work each day as if in a fairy tale. If you ask U.S. employees how satisfied or fulfilled they are at work, only 30% would say they are to a large extent and to a very large extent. And only 32% would say that their job aligns to their personal values and what motivates them to a large extent and to a very large extent (MAGNA Leadership Solutions, 2008).
It is sad to say that more than two-thirds of the U.S. workforce goes to work each day feeling under utilized, dissatisfied, unfulfilled, and unmotivated. Today, there is an organizational crisis occurring as workers’ desired tasks are being mismatched with the actual work being performed. Recent research has shown that it is not only the tasks, but the variety of different task types which contribute to job satisfaction. Attaining the variety of tasks that matches the preferred (ideal) mixture of routine, trouble-shooting and project tasks can improve the alignment to the job. Here are three steps that can be taken today to initiate change in task variety. These steps have shown to create positive quantifiable results. Two of the steps below are from projects on which I have worked.
- Strive to attain the ideal mixture of tasks – Putting together an individual’s actual mixture of task types that approaches his or her ideal mixture can raise his or her job satisfaction, motivation, empowerment and engagement in the range of 3.7% to 4.2% almost instantaneously (Martin, 2006).
- Hire to the job – Identifying and hiring an individual whose preferred task mixture is more closely aligned to the job’s actual task mixture will optimize or improve the actual job 99% of the time (Gazzara, 2008).
- Increase the amount of project work – The project tasks contribute to predicting positive change in leadership practices, organizational performance and business results. The reduction of the routine and trouble-shooting tasks that individuals perform, will allow additional time for project work, which in-turn increases the probability of contribution at a more significant level. Identified improved contributions have included: leadership of 5.2%, organizational performance of 3.2% and business results of 2.6%. (Gazzara and Lakhani, 2008)
People whose ideal task mixtures align to their actual jobs are 200% more likely to optimize and improve their jobs. Those who are misaligned in their job tasks sub optimize their jobs. We can initiate the change as managers or individual contributors by identifying, understanding, creating and seeking an environment that matches the ideal task mixture to become more job aligned. Task alignment holds one of the important keys for organizational change to increase job satisfaction, motivation, empowerment and engagement.
Gazzara, K. D. (2001). The relationships among the mixture of task types, performance, satisfaction and the implications for flow. D.M. dissertation, University of Phoenix, United States–Arizona. (Publication No. AAT 3082002). Retrieved April 6, 2009, from Dissertations & Theses at University of Phoenix database.
Martin, H. G. (2006). The effect of task type mixture awareness on individual perceptions of job satisfaction, employee involvement, and employee empowerment: A survey analysis. PhD dissertation, Capella University, United States–Minnesota. (Publication No. AAT 3206579). Retrieved April 6, 2009, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text database.