Happiness And Well Being At The Workplace: The Power Of Job Crafting

by André Gonçalves André Gonçalves

what is job crafting

Many people are unhappy with their job and assume their only option is to leave and find a better one. However, by making simple, yet powerful changes in the way their job is structured and having their inputs valued, they’ll likely feel happier and more engaged. Let’s take a look at what job crafting is.

Most People Aren’t Happy In Their Workplaces

People aren’t really happy with their jobs. In 2017, 85% of employees worldwide were not engaged or were actively disengaged in their jobs. According to a recent survey of 5,000 U.S. households, only 45% of those surveyed were satisfied with their jobs. And the truth is that disengaged employees cost businesses between $450 and $550 billion annually because of productivity losses. Blame it on the economic recession, the rise of digital technology or the huge flood of information that’s drastically changing the workplace and people’s expectations. The truth is that happiness at the workplace is far from being the normal standard.

Some people, like Sir Ken Robinson, argue this is the result of an old-school, industrial shaped, education system that treats students using a one-size-fits-all approach. They’re all taught the same and their unique talents aren’t explored. Therefore, they grow up following the same career paths and only when they start having responsibilities and have explored a little better the world of work and their interests is when then find out what they’re really passionate about. Others say it’s just a matter of improving the way jobs are organized and adapting to the current challenges of the modern workplace. And some say it’s a little of both.

Perhaps more alternative schools using Waldorf’s or Montessori’s education systems would be a problem-solver at an early stage. Yet, other approaches are being developed and applied directly on businesses and they’re having very positive effects. From the rise of positive feedback to leadership courses and the practice of mindfulness or yoga at the workplace, companies are trying to improve their employees’ well-being and, therefore, their own productivity and the business’s overall performance. But what role does job crafting play in all this?

What Is Job Crafting and Why Is It So Powerful?

job crafting happiness

A NY Times article says employees get more satisfied and productive when they have the chance to renew and recharge at work; feel valued and appreciated; have autonomy to decide how and when to deal with their important tasks; and see their spiritual needs attended as they do something enjoyable that connects them to a higher purpose. As well, a recently published Global Happiness and Well-being Policy Report says targeting the key drivers of employee well-being are the first step to improving their productivity. And apart from social relations, feedback systems and improving work-life balance, they speak of making jobs more interesting. And making jobs more interesting is precisely what job crafting is about.

Job crafting is when employees make proactive and lasting changes in their job designs in a way that better suits their skills, interests, and values. By making subtle, yet meaningful changes to the scope and flow of their work and focusing on the purpose behind the job, employees can get more engaged, satisfied, resilient and fulfilled. In simple words, job crafting is the practice of making the most of your job. It’s about being aware and conscious that you should be the one shaping your job so that you feel satisfied and like you’re developing the skills you need to grow professionally. So with an eye on the present moment, you’re also improving your skillset for the experiences you want to have in the future. And making sure that it’s not your job that’s 100% shaping you.

For job crafting to take place, employees need to take a step back from their daily routine and standard behaviors and analyze their jobs from a different and more holistic perspective. Only in this way they’ll be able to reconfigure the elements of their work and make worthwhile changes. Are you curious?

Job Crafting Step-By-Step

job crafting steps

Right, great. But how does job crafting work after all? Well, according to Michigan Ross School of Business, job crafting follows 3 different stages, being the first one about tasks. Here, you can make adjustments to your responsibilities, from taking more or fewer tasks, to changing how they are performed, for how long or where. Spending more time planning to avoid wasting time covering up unexpected outcomes. Stop doing 20 prospect calls and do 8 instead with a personalized pitch. There’s really no limits to how you can change the tasks you’re responsible for.

The second phase is about re-organizing relationships. This means changing the nature or the extent of the interactions with colleagues, managers, clients or suppliers. Engaging in mentoring programmes to teach the newcomers in the company to re-defining the amount of time they spent in meetings is an example. So is giving feedback to your team, choosing to work only with ethical suppliers or becoming client-centric. In the end, it’s above redefining who we’re spending our time and energy with.

Finally, job crafting is also about reframing your purpose and perceptions. This means trying to see the bigger picture of the work you’re doing and the company’s purpose. Developers can think they’re helping to improve a brand’s reputation with the new website or features they are developing, instead of just seeing boring lines of code. Scientists working on R&D can choose to see their job as a way of advancing science rather than just managing projects. And secretaries can think they’re the ones responsible for a client’s first impression when they visit the company. What about you? What’s the contribution behind your job title?

The Pros And Cons Of Job Crafting And Why You Should Give It A Go

job crafting pros cons

As we’ve been discussing, companies and employees are both likely to benefit from the outcomes of job crafting. From the employees’ side, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their job and increase their personal satisfaction. Participating in this process will make them feel more respected and trusted and therefore, they’ll feel happier and more fulfilled. And research has shown happy employees are 12% more productive. Moreover, employees often also get the feeling of being more engaged and connected to the company as a whole, which might increase collaboration, create more synergies and improve the quality of interpersonal interactions.

On the employer side, they get the benefits of having a workforce that’s more engaged and cares more about helping the business grow and achieve its goals. Furthermore, employees are also less likely to move to another company if job crafting allows them to make their job more interesting, decreasing turnover costs. The organizational environment is also likely to get healthier and have lower stress levels as people feel they have a saying in the way they’re job is supposed to work. Also, job crafting can be implemented quickly and without any additional costs apart from some time.

To sum up, it’s definitely important and beneficial if managers leave space for crafting so that employees can make some adjustments in their roles. They’ll get to change to make some changes and work on something that motivates them and develops their strengths while meeting the company’s objectives. However, his balance always needs to be met so that individual job crafters don’t focus too much on something that’s meaningful for them and that’s not a business priority. Ultimately, a shared understanding that job crafting is acceptable and positive should be built, as long as it is aligned with organizational goals. For this, it’s important to maintain open communication lines so that managers can be aware of changes and ensure the outcomes will be positive for both sides.

Image credits to company meeting on Shutterstock, happy workers on Shutterstock, sales team on Shutterstock, engaged team on Shutterstock 

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