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Work Redesign


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Work Redesign

  1. 1. What is work redesign? Work redesign encourages companies to review their current work processes and organizational human resource policies to ensure that these operations and practices support the overall strategic mission of the company. It is important to note that work redesign is more than continuous improvement. It is more than doing things better - it is also about doing things differently. Work redesign starts from the top, the company vision. It implores companies to revisit the fundamentals of their existence. Companies are encouraged to re-think assumptions and seek renewal within the company. With work redesign, companies start to think from their customers' point of view and examine if their operations and policies allow them to satisfy customers' needs. The way things are done and the way people work are scrutinized and improved upon; sometimes totally changed, so as to better meet customer needs and support the company's mission. There are many ways to redesign work and for whatever method employed, the people element is important to ensure the success of the transformation. Companies, like the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) and the Westin Hotels, understand this importance and have adopted a total approach to work redesign. They have made work more challenging for staff. For staff at the Westin Hotels, the redesign of the housekeeping department into self-organised teams has granted them more decision making power. Work redesign has allowed them to develop in more than one job area and skill. Westin has since observed significantly higher quality of work from their staff and speedier response to customer needs, and received more compliments from hotel guests. Work redesign critical success factors As with any business solution, it is essential to understand the dynamics of work redesign - the pitfalls and critical success factors for achieving genuine quantum improvements for the long term. All too often, companies embark on work redesign before truly understanding what it takes to get there. Such attempts often result in less than ideal results and staff being increasingly sceptical about the company's ability to implement meaningful improvements.
  2. 2. To ensure success for your work redesign, the following are essential: • Employ a total approach to work redesign. • Recognise that business needs. Work redesign comprises process and job redesigns and will lead to the need to review job assignments, training plans and compensation structures. work redesign should be driven by Select processes to redesign based on their value to the bottomline, urgency to business, level of complexity and probability of work redesign success. It is useless to make dramatic improvements in processes that do not significantly add value or improve bottom-line results. • Think boldly and do not be constrained by preconceived notions - imagine designing the process from scratch; new process designs should be innovative and feasible. • Never neglect the importance of people in work redesign. Failure to address people issues resulting from work redesign, such as job changes, will result in disgruntlement. • Involve senior management, stakeholders and those directly impacted to gain buy-in and commitment, and access to resources needed for work redesign. • Appoint the best people • A focus on eliminating work, not people • Manage change effectively. • Empower line managers and workers. • Plan the implementation and phase it out. to serve on the project team and elect a champion to drive the work redesign. The team should have a combination of process design and human resource development expertise and experience. is the key to long-term benefits. Reconsider every activity in the process and determine the purpose it serves and its value. The change due to work redesign will be drastic in terms of culture, paradigm, mindset, systems, jobs, etc. Prepare people for change and address resistance to change. Maintain open communication channels at all times. Planning for the work redesign should generally be top-down, however, the implementation works best bottom-up. Do not underestimate the effort needed to execute the work redesign. Establish effective relationships between work redesign teams and stakeholders by creating a shared vision for change. Develop a thorough step-by-step implementation plan and formulate milestones. Built in a pilot phase if necessary. Establish monitoring system, institutionalise results and reinforce them. Is work redesign for you? Work redesign can work miracles for your company. However, before embarking on work redesign, it is important to determine if work redesign is indeed the solution for your problems.
  3. 3. CHECK THAT: Root problems of the process are examined. There is a strong tendency to jump into work redesign without spending enough time assessing the problems. Be careful to not just examine symptoms but look deeper for root problems. Only by identifying root problems can you then determine whether work redesign is your proper solution. Without first systematically analysing business processes to sort out symptoms and develop a thorough understanding of the problems, work redesign is not likely to resolve much.