Well-designed jobs minimise the negatives, demands and hazards and enhance the positive in the work, workplace or worker.
Well-designed jobs generate efficiencies, enable better use of skills, promote learning, confidence, and creativity, and enhance job performance.
The most powerful elements of work-design for the manufacturing sector can be categorised under the following framework:
Learn more about the 10 key framework attributes of good job design
Strong visible leadership commitment
Clear roles & responsibilities
Strong visible commitment and action from senior management is crucial to create a thriving psychosocially safe and productive workplace. All levels of management, senior leaders, manager & supervisors, authentically modelling the desired behaviours.
The tone is set from the top by senior management and put into action by supervisors and direct managers who have the greatest influencer of worker wellbeing.
Confusion or conflict over a workers’ tasks, responsibilities and reporting lines, or group conflict in teamwork leads to increased work-related stress.
Workers that understand and have ownership of their role, have the right skills and are working in collaboration, not competition, with others experience less work-related stress and perform better.
Realistic job demands
Social connection & support
All work involves demands. Demands become problematic when the level of the demand be it physical, mental/cognitive or emotional exceeds the worker’s ability to meet those demands. It takes extra effort to work in an environment with high job demands leading to strain, exhaustion and burnout. Common examples of job demands include work overload, and role conflict.
Highly demanding jobs can be tolerated or even positive for some workers in highly supportive working environments. It is about getting the balance between demands and resources right at the individual and organisational level through good job-design and organisational leadership. Excessive job demands have negative outcomes for workers and workplaces. Workers are at risk of increased fatigue, stress and injury and have increased error rates and poorer work quality. Workplaces see higher rates of absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover and poor performance outcomes as compared to workplaces with balanced job demands.
Is more than positive workplace relationships and support from managers and co-workers.
It is about taking a genuine interest in your workers and who they are as people outside of work.
Is important in creating a thriving and psychosocially safe and productive workplace. However, it is less likely to be sought out by manufacturing/your workers as a way to manage stress as opposed to workers in other industries. Making it important that the workplace creates opportunities to build social connection between workers.
Aim for authenticity. Be real, genuine & honest. Work environments where workers feel comfortable to express themselves and their emotions as well as complimenting and joking with teammates.
Job variety, enlargement & opportunity for mastery
Task identity & purpose
Job variety is work that involves lots of different and appropriately challenging tasks to do, and the use of a range of different skills.
Challenging work that requires the use of a variety of skills and abilities is more meaningful, and workers feel they are contributing and are valued by the workplace.
Jobs with high variety and opportunities for enlargement prevent worker boredom, and support skill development.
Task variety is more attractive to younger workers, and skill variety are more appealing to older workers as it enables them to draw upon accumulated skills.
Skill mastery is an important intrinsic (internal individual) motivator leading directly to increased productivity. Skill mastery is achieved when a worker has the time, opportunity and support to develop their skills.
Completing a job from beginning to end creates a sense of purpose and ownership of the task and its outcomes.
Workers who have task identity in their work have a higher sense of accomplishment and understanding of the whole picture. This results in greater commitment, engagement and job satisfaction and higher performance outcomes compared to workers who only work on small sections or components in a larger product.
Shiftwork increases the risk of worker fatigue, harms performance and increases the chance of workplace injuries. Workers report that this is a significant challenge – it is one of the highest causes of workplace stress with nights shifts being the most difficult. The biggest impact is on the workers' sleep quality and social life. The impact can be minimised through work scaling, scheduling and appropriate rostering. Fatigued workers are more likely to be stressed and get injured. Due to the nature of your work - your workm8tes are at a high risk of fatigue. Shiftwork, long work hours, highly demanding jobs, and wearing PPE increase the risk of fatigue.
Describes how much a worker feels that their work is important and positively benefits others, both inside the workplace and more broadly to outside the workplace to society as a whole.
Task significance leads to (is the strongest predictor of) meaningful work. Being engaged in meaningful work improves worker wellbeing, performance, commitment, engagement, and job satisfaction.
Autonomy, job control & accountability
Workers who have high autonomy, job control and accountability, have the ability to decide how and when they complete their work and tasks, and are held responsible for delivering the outcome.
Worker accountability gives a worker greater control and freedom, and when done right increases workers’ skills and confidence and they feel more valued. When workers are not held to account it damages the performance of the entire team, damages the workplace culture and leads to mistrust, low morale, devalued and disengaged workers and poor performance outcomes.
Workplaces with high autonomy job control, and accountability have higher levels of trust, leading to workers that are happier, more committed and loyal, have better work-life balance. They are more engaged and productive at work, and are less likely to leave their role than workers with low autonomy, job control and accountability.
Micromanaging is a common example of a work environment with a low autonomy and low job control.
Feedback, both positive and negative is essential to building productive workplace relationships. Giving genuine, honest feedback shows workers that they are important and is essential to development and wellbeing.
Feedback should happen on a regular basis – as part of your one-on-one check ins – not just when performance reviews come around or if there is a problem.
Make giving feedback part of your everyday actions, creating thriving and productive workers.
Find out more about how good job design combats work-related stress
Want to know more about good job design, job demands and other work-related factors can cause stress for your workm8tes?
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