What is job crafting and why does it matter?
Job crafting enables people to personalise their approach to work – bringing their whole and best self to what they do.
As a society and in business, people embrace opportunities for the personalisation of products and services. We enjoy and value having our own personal style, beliefs and passions reflected in what we do and how we do it.
Job crafting encourages individuals to consider how they act, interact and think about their work and to redesign and personalise aspects of their job in ways that fosters engagement, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving.
Is job crafting new?
Two researchers, Amy Wrzniewski and Jane Dutton, coined Job crafting in 20011 but the benefits of people proactively shaping and redesigning their roles have been around for a long time.
How can you job craft?
There are 3 main ways that people tend to job craft:
- task crafting – tangibly changing aspects of how we undertake our work including designing, adding or removing tasks
- relational crafting – shaping how we relate and engage with others, including building and adapting our relationship with co-workers
- cognitive / perception crafting -reframing how we think about our work in general including the value and significance it brings to us personally and others.
In addition to these core approaches, organisations are exploring how job crafting can be used to help with growth, personal development and career progression.
What are the benefits of job crafting for the individual?
Job crafting benefits, individuals, teams and organisations. Research has consistently shown2 that job crafting is positively associated with engagement, meaning, performance and overall wellbeing.
Why are organisations encouraging job crafting?
If you speak to organisations who encourage job crafting they tend to do it for some, or all, of the following reasons:
- It demonstrates a clear commitment to harnessing diverse strengths and talents
- They want to create more personalised work experiences – and allow people to explore the meaning and purpose of what they do.
- It provides a structured and transparent approach to reviewing and shaping working behaviours – it’s proactive rather than reactive
- It ensures that changes to job roles are being done in a responsible way that benefits the individual and the business – it stops people taking on too many new tasks or changing activities that are vital to the business
Can you give me some examples of job crafting?
There are almost infinite ways to apply job crafting. Job crafting goals have to be set by the individual. It is not something that can be introduced top-down.
Here are 3 small examples, from hundreds, which have been shared through recent workshops:
Task crafting – Paul worked in IT in customer support. He spent most of his time on a help line but had a passion for “testing” and trying to break new software. Through discussions with his manager, Paul joined a group that tested new applications before they were launched in the company. This took up about 3 hours every month.
Whilst Paul’s role did not substantially change through job crafting, he was delighted that his skill and passion for “testing” was being recognised.
Relational crafting – Ria joined a new team following a restructure. Having strong relationships with her colleagues was important to her and something she valued in her previous team. Ria set herself a relational job crafting goal of finding something new about a new team member each day.
After 1 month Ria had learnt a great deal about her colleagues and felt she had settled in well with the team.
Purpose crafting – Beth worked in a call centre. She drove to work. At the start of each day before leaving her car she put a diary on her seat. At the end of the day, before driving home Beth wrote down details of the customer or colleague she helped the most during the day.
After 1 month, Beth had over 20 different stories of positive experiences showing the difference she was making in her job.
Where can I find out more about job crafting?
Further resources and links to job crafting material can be found on Tailored Thinking’s job crafting page.
1 Crafting a Job: Revisioning Employees as Active Crafters of their Work – Amy Wrzesniewski and Jane Dutton (2001)
Additionally, Rob is always happy to be informally contacted about job crafting and approaches to personalize work (firstname.lastname@example.org / @bakerrjm)