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FOWI Guide

What is job crafting?

Job crafting involves an employee themselves shaping the way they do their work, in a way that makes their job more engaging and meaningful1.

Job crafting occurs when an individual alters aspects of their own tasks in order to improve the fit between their work and their individual preferences.

Job Crafting Practices

In every job there are two types of job characteristics: job demands and job resource2. Job characteristics that require a large amount of effort, time or resources and are therefore associated with a cost are known as job demands. For example, time pressures, physical and cognitive demands and unclear goals are considered job demands. Conversely, job characteristics that assist employees in achieving goals, whilst also reducing associated costs are known as job resources. These include relevant training courses, support from colleagues and autonomy. These demands and resources are present in every type of job, manifesting in a number of different ways.

Job crafting practices focus on changing the job-demands and resources present in a job and fall into one of four categories related to the way they increase or decrease these:

  • Increasing structural resources: Structural resources relate to the content of the work, and the way that the work is done3. An employee exercising autonomy in the way they do their tasks and the processes involved in completing their tasks are examples of increasing structural resources.
  • Increasing social resources: Social resources relate to the amount of support an employee feels they have, and the quality of feedback they receive4. Adding more meaningful social interaction into work or seeking additional feedback are examples of increasing social resources.
  • Increasing challenging demands: Challenging demands relate to stimulating and novel tasks and appropriate time pressure and workload and are classed as positive as they lead to personal growth5. Adding stimulating tasks to a job or actively seeking out training to widen skillsets are examples of increasing challenging job demands.
  • Decreasing hindering demands: Hindering demands relate to those pressures that hinder an employee’s ability to function optimally and achieve goals, thereby preventing personal growth6. Reducing hindering demands includes actions such as removing difficult or unenjoyable tasks or altering unrealistic time demands.

Tips to craft your own job

  1. Evaluate Current State. Write a list of all the major tasks you do, how important they are, how often you do them and how time consuming they are. You should also consider how much of your job is individual and how much is collaborative. It may also be useful to analyse your own strengths and weaknesses as well as your current position within any team you are involved in at work.
  2. Set Goals. This step mainly involves you determining how your job would look if it were a good fit for you. Think about what you enjoy doing, what you do not enjoy doing, what your strengths are and how your job would look if it were to fit in with your preferences. However, make sure to keep the scope of your position in mind; you will still have your current responsibilities and tasks to complete. The change will come in any extra tasks you may have, how you do your tasks and the way you interact with others around you. Once you have determined what your desired job looks like, set some concrete goals. These goals should speak directly to specific changes in your work design that you wish to make. Try to ensure that your goals, should they be achieved, are not going to adversely affect anyone in your team. In the setting of goals, it is also important to keep in mind that one’s motivation to complete that goal is determined by: the likelihood to the goal being achieved, the importance of the goal and the level of support in achieving the goal7. Therefore, it is important that goals are realistic, relevant to the needs of the individual and likely to be supported by colleagues.
  3. Make a Plan. This stage is concerned with the development of a detailed plan to achieve the goals that have been set. Keeping this is mind, consider how you may engage in job crafting practices to achieve your goals. For example, how might you recruit more social resources or add some challenging tasks to your job in order to transform a task that you find disorganised into one that is more efficient? Again, it is important to consider how your actions may affect other people in your workplace. For example, research has demonstrated that the benefits from engaging in job crafting to reduce hindering demands may be minimal and may actually place further pressure on team members8. Therefore, it is recommended that your plan is focussed around increasing resources and challenging job demands. This does not mean that issues you are facing at work should not be challenged. Instead, focus on increasing resources so that you can fix these issues rather than simply ignoring or passing them along.
  4. Engage in Job Crafting. This step involves simply enacting the plan and attempting to craft the job toward your desired state. Remember, you should execute your plan in a way that is respectful of your colleagues. For example, ensure you ask supervisors to endorse important changes you may wish to make.
  5. Evaluate New State. You should endeavour to evaluate any job crafting interventions you completed in the workplace. It is important for you to know if an intervention worked and why or if it did not work and why. Whether your intervention was successful or not also relates to how close the new state of your work is to your desired state. Therefore, it may be useful for you to look at the ways your job and motivations have been altered. This new work state will also have implications for the next time you wish to engage in job crafting. Finally, you may want to think about you can sustain changes moving into the future, and how future job crafting attempts can be supported.

References

  1. Wrzesniewski, A., & Dutton, J. E. (2001). Crafting a job: Revisioning employees as active crafters of their work. Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 179–201.
  2. Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2007). The job demands-resources model: State of the art. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22(3), 309–328.
  3. Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The Impact of Job Crafting on Job Demands, Job Resources, and Well-Being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 230–240.
  4. Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The Impact of Job Crafting on Job Demands, Job Resources, and Well-Being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 230–240.
  5. Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The Impact of Job Crafting on Job Demands, Job Resources, and Well-Being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 230–240.
  6. LePine, J. A., Podsakoff, N. P., & LePine, M. A. (2005). A meta-analytic test of the challenge stressor–hindrance stressor framework: An explanation for inconsistent relationships among stressors and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 48(5), 764-775.
  7. Parker, S., Strauss, K., & Bindl, U. (2010). Making things happen: a model of proactive motivation. Journal of Management, 36(4), 827-857.
  8. Tims, M., Bakker, A., & Derks, D. (2015). Examining Job Crafting from an Interpersonal Perspective: Is Employee Job Crafting Related to the Well‐Being of Colleagues? Applied Psychology, 64(4), 727-753.