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Why Job Crafting is a Fundamental Part of How We Should Work

by Andy Davies on January 21, 2018

Some of my recent articles have looked at the constituents of the future of work, including flow and check-ins. In this article, I’ll continue the theme of #futureofwork and consider how job crafting is also a fundamental part of how we should work.

“Job crafting involves creating or initiating change to the job, as opposed to reacting or responding to change in the job” (Grant & Ashford, 2008; Griffin, Neal, & Parker, 2007).

So ask yourself, in your career, which job delivered the most happiness and engagement?  Now reflect on how much control you had of the ability to control and affect the work that you did.

Job crafting can be achieved in three ways:

  • Changing the boundaries of jobs – this is task crafting.
  • Changing the relationships when performing their jobs – this is relational crafting.
  • Changing the way they perceive and interpret their jobs – this is cognitive crafting.

There is nothing to stop an employee drawing on all types of job crafting to make their job into a more engaging and rewarding role. This moves away from a static job description, which is normally defined by the manager or HR. In an ever-changing business environment, this may provide the agility to meet changing demands and provide greater job satisfaction/engagement for people.

A one-size-fits-all approach for JDs will develop compliant people and enable a framework for pay scales. This will enable managers to manage people against a strict set of requirements, but it does not support the future of work. In many organisations, it’s already not working.

I was mentoring someone who had worked in a call centre under a very controlled regime. They described their working day and how they grew to hate the auto-dialler that determined what they did, who they spoke to and in what timescales. Eventually, they left their previous employer to move to a new call centre where they could use their existing skills.

What was the point in moving to a new employer who conducted the same business? They had more control of their day. There was no auto-dialler and they could determine who they rang and when. Within the new job, they were able to use task crafting and relationship crafting to increase their job satisfaction and levels of engagement. At their new company, they flourished, gained promotions and completed a professional qualification.

For me, I can easily identify the jobs when I drew on job crafting to alter the course of my roles to build on my skills. Those jobs were full of fun, achievement and making a difference to my colleagues and customers. Not only that, I can now reflect on my managers’ support in each of those jobs and see how they provided the right environment for me take control of my job. Not only could I maximise the use of my skills, but this freed me up to ensure that others around me had the same experience.

There is no point in forcing people to conduct tasks that are not in their natural comfort range when, with a slight change, greater effectiveness can be achieved through job crafting.

There are many surveys and reports freely available to show that employee engagement is a factor that leaders should be aware of and positively take action to increase. According to the CIPD Employee Outlook for Spring 2017, 24% of employees are looking for a job with a new employer. Importantly, 46% are looking to leave because they want increased job satisfaction.

People First believe that job crafting is a fundamental part of the future of work. At a time when employee engagement is low (Gallup recently noted that 52% of employees are not engaged) there is a need to use every available tool to increase this engagement. Building on people’s strengths and sharing tasks within a team to the person with the most relevant skill set should be made a priority.

Ultimately, this could reduce the flight risk of many people who remain dis-engaged and are simply going through the motions. Typical recruitment costs can be 25% of the salary before the opportunity cost of the employee is taken into account. In some companies, losing a key employee with a rare skill set can have a profound impact across a department for many months.

At People First, we have constructed a new Alliance approach for both the employee and employer. This sits within the Employment Contract as a set of principles; think of it as the unwritten psychological contract that we have now written. One of the employer's elements states that ‘We will create an environment where you can be absorbed in the best of your work’.  This provides the scope for job crafting for users of People First.

Still not convinced about job crafting? There remains a great body of professionals and academics who have produced more research and collateral.  The flowing resources may help:

Job Crafting – Amy Wrzesniewski on creating meaning in your own work Rarely are jobs designed to match the talents, preferences, and aspirations of the individual. Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, discusses the art and science of job crafting.

What is Job Crafting and Why Does It Matter?  (2007) Job crafting captures the active changes employees make to their own job designs in ways that can bring about numerous positive outcomes, including engagement, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving.

#jobcrafting #hr #futureofwork #peoplefirst