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.
Work Isn’t Really Making People Happy
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 just 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 careers and only when they have responsibilities 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.
Perhaps more alternative schools using Waldorf’s or Montessori’s education systems would be a problem-solver at an early stage. Yet, many other approaches have been developing directly on businesses and having very positive effects. From the rise of positive feedback to leadership courses and the practice of mindfulness and yoga at the workplace, companies are trying to improve their employees’ well-being and, therefore, their own productivity. But what role does job crafting play in all this?
What Is Job Crafting?
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 develop the skills you need for the future you’re looking for. 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 this way they’ll be able to reconfigure the elements of their work and make worthwhile changes.
The Steps To Job Crafting
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 instead 10 with a personalized pitch. There’s really no limits to how you can change the tasks you do.
The second things in job crafting is about re-organizing relationships. This means changing the nature or the extent of the interactions with colleagues, managers, clients or suppliers. From engaging in mentoring programmes to teach with the younger people in the company to re-defining the amount of time spent in meetings or giving feedback to these different actors, many changes can take place, too.
Finally, the last variable to consider is about one reframing their purpose and perceptions. It 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 seeing just 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 he visits the company.
The Pros And Cons Of Job Crafting. Why You Should Give It A Go
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 connected to the company as a whole, which might increase collaboration, create more synergies and improve the quality of interpersonal interaction.
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. The organizational environment is also likely to get healthier and have lower stress levels as people feel they have more input in their role. Also, job crafting can be implemented are quickly and without any additional costs apart from time, with many other positive outcomes reasonable to expect.
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.