Most organisations still tell their people how to do their jobs, what hours to work, even what values to have. But in his new book, Personalization At Work, Rob Baker explains how organisations may be better off asking employees to craft their own approach to jobs.
To mark the book’s publication, we asked Rob to join our very own Director of People Science, Ryan, and an expert panel for a job crafting enlightenment session.
What is job crafting?
We should all know what our purpose at work is. Well, job crafting is about empowering employees to influence how they achieve that purpose. According to Rob, it’s like giving someone a semi-tailored suit; the structure and colour are already there, but they can fit it around themselves.
What are the benefits?
There are two beneficiaries to job crafting: the business, and for the employee.
Job crafting is a form of empowerment—which is closely linked to engagement. In fact, during the webinar, Julia Smith, Founder and Director of People Science Consulting, claimed that after a job crafting pilot at Virgin Money, job satisfaction increased by 34%.
When it’s successful, it becomes a virtuous cycle:
- When someone is given the licence to work in the way that best suits them, they naturally play to their strengths—working smarter and more efficiently.
- And because they’re deciding how best to go about their job, they’ll feel responsible for making sure that it goes well, so they’ll be more likely to be successful.
- When they are successful, the organisation benefits and then recognises the employee’s efforts—which will make them want to keep working smarter and more efficiently… and the cycle repeats.
So by empowering an employee, they become more likely to feel motivated and happy—and thrive at work.
How can I bring job crafting into my workplace?
Job crafting can’t be prescriptive. By its very nature, it has to be driven by the individual. So it’s a bottom-up initiative to be done with employees, rather than for them.
A lot of it will come down to managers, who play a key role as the link between leadership and more junior employees. Providing them with a framework for job crafting, built on specific questions around certain parts of employees’ roles, can be a big help for them in guiding conversations with their direct reports.
And some organisations are taking it one step further, by encouraging job crafting before someone has even been hired. Job ads that state what outcomes a role must achieve, but then give the applicant the chance to explain how they’d fulfil that requirement are springing up more and more often.
How can I craft my own job?
According to Rob, it’s best to do it in small steps:
- Start thinking about how you currently craft your job, without even knowing.
- Then, each week, start deliberately doing something different to slightly change how you approach certain tasks.
- If you’re a manager, ask your people to think about what they can do to make their roles that 1% better.
Hopefully that’s whetted your appetite—but there’s so much more left to explore. In the webinar, Ryan, Rob and co. delve into how it’s proving particularly useful within the context of coronavirus, some real-life examples of job crafting in action, and how wellbeing features as a key component.
Panel for the discussion:
- Ryan Tahmassebi, People Science Director, Hive HR
- Rob Baker, Founder and Chief Positive Deviant, Tailored Thinking
- Jules Smith, Founder and Director, People Science
- Andy Dodman, Chief People Officer, Leeds City Council
- Vicky Elsey, Principal Lecturer, Occupational Psychology, Northumbria University
- Sarah Dewar, Director of People, Connect Health
Just put your feet up and enjoy…
Watch 'Job Crafting Webinar' video:
Job Crafting Webinar Contents
- Welcome and introduction to job crafting: 0:00–6:38
- What does the research tell us about the impact of job crafting?: 6:38–9:13
- Who should be responsible for job crafting?: 9:13–11:27
- Approaching job crafting from a leadership perspective in the public sector: 11:27–16:36
- The potential for job crafting during the Covid-19 pandemic: 16:36–18:58
- Practitioner perspective on job crafting;how and why to job craft: 18:58–34:11
- Wellbeing crafting in the workplace: 34:22–36:25
- Job crafting in different roles and in different sectors: 37:05–39:08
- Getting the right balance: 39:49–42:32
- The role of job crafting in recruitment: 42:35–49:11
- How can we introduce job crafting in a widespread way?: 50:08–53:04
- Job crafting in a post Covid-19 world: 53:49–54:49
- Will job crafting influence who future leaders are?: 54:51–57:43
- Learning more and how to introduce job crafting into your business: 58:07–59:58