Job Characteristics Model: A Comprehensive Guide

Job Characteristics Model

Employee satisfaction is a crucial attribute in fostering growth in any organization. If your employees are content with their jobs, your business is bound to flourish, irrespective of its industry. Multiple global Corporate giants like Salesforce, Accenture, and American Express testify to this.

Perhaps this is why modern HRs take the subject of job satisfaction seriously. Thanks to their constant efforts, a 2022 study revealed that globally, around 74% of employees are happy with their jobs. But while this revelation is incredible, when it comes to your organization’s personal success, it all boils down to how satisfied your employees are.

So, read this blog and discover everything about the best HRM model for employee satisfaction: the Job Characteristics Model (JCM). Learn about its characteristics and advantages, and find out how to implement it in your organization.

What Is the Job Characteristics Model?

To understand the Job Characteristics Model (JCM), you first need to familiarise yourself with the Job Characteristics Theory (JCT). So, let’s talk about it.

Most HRs believe salary is the only way to keep an employee engaged and motivated. However, a study by Tim Judge defies this view. It states that the correlation between remuneration and job satisfaction is poor, with less than a 2% overlap between both.

So the question remains the same – what makes a job engaging? Well, here’s where the theory of Job Characteristics comes into play.

In 1975, Greg R. Oldham and J. Richard Hackman developed an approach called Job Characteristics. It was created with the singular aim of discovering the actual incentives behind work satisfaction. This theory is an enhanced version of two previous works by Hackman and Lawler and Turner and Lawrence. With these two studies as the base, Oldham and Hackman continued to study more employees and their jobs. Eventually, they developed the Job Characteristics Theory.

According to it, job design is the key stimulator of job satisfaction. A job that’s challenging yet rewarding by nature provides maximum employee satisfaction and engagement.

Oldham and Hackman developed the JCM based on this theory. It basically enlists a set of aspects businesses should introduce in their job designs to enhance motivation and engagement at work. It’s one of the most largely adopted job design models across sectors and is considered a bible for achieving job satisfaction and, thus, maximum productivity.

The 5 Core Characteristics of the Job Characteristics Model

The Job Characteristics Model consists of 5 design characteristics – skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback.

Skill Variety

The first pillar of the JCM is skill variety. It mainly means introducing an array of varied activities in a job to make it more exciting and engaging for the employee.

Task Identity

The second pillar of the Job Characteristics Model is task identity. It refers to entrusting an employee with every aspect of an identifiable job rather than just a fraction of it. It makes them feel more worthy.

Task Significance

The third important facet of the Job Characteristics Model is task significance. It translates to identifying the intensity of meaningfulness attached to a job. In other words, it is important to assess how much the job positively impacts other people’s lives.


The fourth foundation of the JCM is autonomy. It means allowing a certain degree of freedom and accountability to the employees to give them a feeling of personal meaning and control.


The last core characteristic of the Job Characteristics Model is feedback. This involves giving constructive feedback and appraisal to the employees to make them feel confident, seen, and valuable.

Job Characteristics Approach in HRM

The Job Characteristics approach is popular for fueling employee satisfaction and engagement. Although HRM basically revolves around implementing the features of the Job Characteristics Model for achieving the same, in the following ways:

Introducing Skill Variety

Before the introduction of the Job Characteristics Model, organizations simplified jobs in an attempt to increase efficiency. Eventually, it was observed that this kind of repetitive work decreased employees’ enthusiasm and negatively impacted their productivity. Thus, skill variety was introduced in the JCM.

This model challenges employees to master new skills by presenting various tasks in a job. As a result, it eradicates monotony and fuels enthusiasm. It also inspires employees to keep learning and take on more challenging tasks in the future.

Encouraging Task Identity

In multi-dimensional projects, HR assigns a part of the project to an employee. However, the JCM states that this practice causes them to lose interest in the job, which, in turn, mars the overall output quality. So, HRMs should entirely entrust an employee with a project—from start to finish—rather than allotting them a chunk of it.

Watching their hard work come to life and produce results boosts employee morale in several ways. It also helps them learn new things, overcome challenges, and feel accomplished. Most importantly, it enables them to gauge the outcome of their work and understand how valuable it is for the organization to achieve its goals.

Offering Task Significance

Recent research found that employees who find their work impactful perform 33% better than the rest. The Job Characteristics Model also advocates this. It emphasizes that HRs should strive to construct jobs that not only help the company attain its financial goals but also have some degree of deeper meaning associated with them.

This implies designing jobs that promote not only the organization’s but also others’ well-being. When employees are engaged in a job whose significance is profound and meaningful, the acknowledgment gushes a sense of positive superiority and achievement in them, thus encouraging satisfaction.

Allowing Autonomy

Autonomy is one of the few aspects of a job that directly affects an employee’s level of satisfaction. A work culture where accountability and responsibility are concentrated eventually starts to restrict employees’ creativity and problem-solving abilities, which affects their psychology and work attitude.

So, in JCM, HRs are always advised to allow a certain level of flexibility to their employees. By handing over some part of the liability to the employees themselves, companies can better ensure employee engagement. In fact, according to data, as many as 79% of employees feel more engaged and enthusiastic about their work when they receive autonomy!

Providing Feedback

Most job designs aim to sustain employee engagement only throughout the different phases of the job cycle, i.e., from initiation to completion. But JCM goes a step ahead by including feedback—an after-output element—as one of the core attributes in its model framework.

By providing regular constructive feedback to employees, HRs highlight that their hard work is not going in vain. This kindles the feeling of being seen and recognized in the employees’ minds. Additionally, it encourages them to take on new challenges and stay loyal to the organization, all while enjoying their work and being productive.

The Job Characteristics Model Turnover

The pros of the Job Characteristics Model (JCM) aren’t limited to improving employee engagement and satisfaction. Its utilization also reduces the employee turnover rate in a company. Here’s how:

Establishing a Positive Work Environment

Each Job Characteristics Model job characteristic aims to ensure employees’ psychological welfare. So, applying it in a company is synonymous with prioritizing employees’ interests. It creates a positive work atmosphere that motivates the workforce to stay loyal and committed to their jobs.

Encouraging Recognition

Anyone likes working in an organization where their hard work and toil are recognized and appreciated. The JCM design acknowledges this. Under it, employees are not only entrusted with critical tasks. They are also provided feedback and equally rewarding benefits. This recognition-reward framework, in return, induces them to stick with the organization for a long time.

By Fostering Self-Initiative

Statistics say that employees are 49% less likely to resign when they like what they do. And the JCM does exactly that. By providing them with a sense of autonomy over their work, this job design model makes employees feel contented and satisfied, thereby reducing resignations.

By Offering Job Flexibility

The JCM model allows employees to take charge of their own work. This gives them a sense of independence and offers them unparalleled flexibility, which reduces the employee turnover rate by a considerable margin.

Enforcing Work-Life Balance

Attaining the right work-life balance is a major concern for most employees. In fact, the crisis of a healthy personal-professional equilibrium often triggers most of them to resign. However, while other job characteristics models fail to improve this situation, the JCM does. This model enhances the employees’ work-life balance through increased flexibility, thus reducing turnover.

Job Characteristics Theory: Summary and Application

The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) is a thesis that unfolds what components add up to provide maximum job satisfaction to an employee. Based on this very theory, the JCM was created. It involves helping an organization achieve the same through changes in its job design. Now, let’s understand how you can implement it;

Conduct a Survey

A survey will help you identify the loopholes in your job design that lead to employee dissatisfaction. So, first of all, conduct a thorough intra-organizational survey with your employees. Talk to them, ask them questions, understand which aspects of their jobs they despise, how they like to work, what changes they would like to incorporate, etc. All this information will give you a firm idea of refabricating the jobs to achieve employee satisfaction.

Modify Job Roles

After you successfully arrive at an estimation of what the employees seek, the next step is to modify job roles according to that. Make sure you add the element of skill variety in every job that you redesign. Additionally, create jobs that allow employees to take initiative and exercise autonomy. This will ensure they are engaged in their jobs in the healthiest, most flexible way possible.

Encourage Teamwork

An organization must promote collaboration. Apart from uncomplicating day-to-day tasks and improving efficiency, it also helps establish a positive team spirit at the workplace. It also involves the task identity feature of the JCM, where employees get to see tangible results of their performance. All in all, teamwork fosters a friendly environment while providing personal meaning and gratification to the employees.

Evaluate Performance

Finally, don’t forget to put the “recognition-reward” framework in place. And the only way you can do that is by assessing jobs and providing occasional employee feedback. Evaluate the tasks the employees do against the set standards and reward those who exceed them. This way, you do not encourage healthy competition in the organization. This system also challenges employees to do better, learn new skills, and, thereby, stay engaged in their jobs.

By following this, HRMs can administer the JCT and better enable themselves to increase employee engagement and productivity in organizations.


The Job Characteristics Model is a far-sighted job design framework. Through its five attributes, it ensures employee satisfaction and engagement, enhances the organization’s productivity level, and minimizes employee turnover. This job design model is a win-win for both and is suitable for any business, regardless of size, nature, or sector.

So, if your organization is struggling with the cons of poor employee engagement and satisfaction, implement the Job Characteristics Model right now. For seamless implementation and monitoring, consider using factoHR HRMS software to streamline your HR processes and maximize the benefits of this effective model.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Job Characteristics Theory (JCT)?

It is the theory that serves as a foundation for the JCM. It implies that the design of a job is crucial because it plays a big role in shaping employee satisfaction. In other words, when jobs are more challenging and significant and allow employees to be in charge of their work, and after assignments provide additional opportunities, employees may be more satisfied and invested.

How Can I Implement the JCM in My Organization?

Conduct a survey: Investigate employee discontent and see what they need.

Modify job roles: Consider job designs in terms of skill variety, autonomy, and task identity.

Encourage teamwork: Get employees to accept accountability and commit to the results of the entire project work.

Evaluate performance: Provide a space for regular feedback applicable to daily work rewards for a job well done.

What Are the Benefits of Using the JCM?

  • Increased employee satisfaction and engagement
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Improved productivity
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving

Is the JCM Applicable to All Organizations?

Yes, the JCM is a versatile framework that can be applied to organizations of all sizes and industries. However, depending on the specific nature of the work, some adaptation may be required.

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