by Dr Valeria Lo Iacono

Job crafting and why it's important

If we want to have happy, engaged, and motivated employees, then they need to enjoy their work and be committed to what they do. So the question becomes, how can we create a workplace where we facilitate employees being able to help shape, cultivate, and craft their own roles to improve their passion for their roles and to improve team unity?

What Is Job Crafting?

Job crafting is a transformative approach to work that empowers employees to take an active role in shaping their roles and responsibilities.

Instead of merely accepting predefined job descriptions, individuals can reshape their tasks, relationships, and perceptions to better align with their strengths, passions, and personal objectives.

In essence, job crafting is a personalized approach to work design, allowing employees to tailor their job experiences to better suit their needs and aspirations.

By offering employees more control over their work experiences, job crafting not only enhances job satisfaction but also leads to higher levels of intrinsic motivation, improved engagement, and increased well-being.

Benefits and Why Is Job Crafting Important for Employee Engagement and Motivation?

Benefits of Job Crafting

When employees actively modify their tasks to align with their skills, preferences, and passions, several noteworthy benefits emerge, including the following:

1. Increased Intrinsic Motivation

By allowing employees to choose tasks that resonate with their interests and strengths, task crafting taps into their intrinsic motivation.

When individuals find their work more personally meaningful and fulfilling, they become more driven and enthusiastic about their responsibilities.

2. Job Satisfaction

Greater motivation, and the opportunity to match their skills and interests to their work, leads to greater satisfaction with their roles, creating a positive feedback loop that reinforces motivation and engagement.

3. Higher Productivity

When an employee is able to help shape their own job role, the employee is naturally likely to be more productive because they have more interest in the role and buy into their work more.

They are motivated to excel in areas that genuinely interest them, and this dedication to their work often translates into increased productivity and a higher quality of output.

4. Adaptive Skills Development

Job structuring and job design give employees the chance to stretch and grow their skills by taking on tasks that challenge them in constructive ways.

This constant learning and skill development can contribute to their overall motivation, as they see tangible progress and development in their careers.

5. Reduced Stress and Burnout

When employees have the ability to adjust their workload and task distribution, they can better manage their stress levels and prevent burnout.

This flexibility contributes to a healthier work-life balance, which, in turn, fosters higher motivation and engagement as employees feel more in control of their professional lives.

Case Studies and Examples of Job Crafting in Practice

Task crafting examples that help employee satisfaction

1. Marketing Coordinator Case Study

Problem: A marketing coordinator, Laila, was feeling overwhelmed with her daily tasks and she lacked motivation due to the repetitive nature of her work.

Solution: Laila discussed her concerns with her manager and proposed a task-crafting plan. She suggested taking on more responsibilities related to social media management, which she’s passionate about and believes will benefit the company.

Outcome: Laila’s manager approved the plan, and Laila started focusing on social media management. She became more engaged, creative, and motivated. As a result, her company’s social media presence improved, and Laila’s job satisfaction increased.

2. Software Developer Case Study

Problem: Lucia, a software developer, felt disengaged because she was stuck working on a specific project she found uninteresting.

Solution: Lucia talked to her team lead about her passion for mobile app development and suggested a task-crafting approach. She proposed taking on more app-related tasks while balancing her current project.

Outcome: The team lead agreed, and Lucia got involved in app development. Her motivation and enthusiasm increased significantly. Her contributions led to the successful launch of a new mobile app for the company, showcasing her talent and benefiting the company.

3. Sales Rep Case Study

Problem: Karim, a sales representative, was struggling with his high-pressure sales targets and he felt stressed.

Solution: Karim spoke to his manager about his interest in eco-friendly products and his belief that he could better serve clients with this focus. He suggested creating a sub-niche within the company’s product offerings for eco-friendly solutions.

Outcome: The manager supported Karim’s idea, and he became the eco-friendly products specialist. His job satisfaction increased, and he excelled in this niche, leading to a significant boost in sales for eco-friendly products and increased engagement among clients.

4. HR Manager Example

Problem: Alex, an HR manager, was becoming less motivated because of the repetitive nature of hiring people and having to train new employees during the onboarding process and for the departure interviews.

Solution: Alex discussed his concerns with the HR director and he proposed a job crafting approach that involved shifting his focus to employee development and training programs.

Outcome: The HR director approves the plan, and Alex starts implementing training initiatives. He becomes more engaged and proactive in fostering employee growth. This leads to improved retention rates and skill development among employees at Global Innovations.

5. Financial Analyst Example

Problem: Kayleigh, a financial analyst, felt that her job lacked strategic impact. She believed that the company should have been investing more in emerging technologies, but her current role involved routine financial reporting.

Solution: Kayleigh discussed her concerns with her manager and proposed a job crafting plan that combined her financial skills with a strategic thinking perspective. She suggested becoming a technology-focused financial analyst responsible for identifying investment opportunities in the tech sector.

Outcome: The manager supported Kayleigh’s idea, and she began analyzing potential tech investments. Laura’s insights led to successful tech investments and significantly improved the company’s portfolio and its positioning in the market.

3 Key Components of Job Crafting

The terms Relational, Cognitive, and Task Crafting are often used in discussions on job crafting. These three terms were first mentioned by Wrzesniewski and Dutton (2001) and are often still used today as the three dimensions of job crafting:

  1. Task Crafting: This involves modifying the specific tasks and activities that your job is composed of. Employees may take on new tasks that they find more interesting, delegate tasks they dislike, or find ways to add variety to their jobs.
  2. Relational Crafting: Involves altering one’s relationships and interactions at work. Employees can build stronger connections with colleagues or managers, seek out mentors, or change the way they collaborate with others.
  3. Cognitive Crafting: Refers to changing one’s mindset and how one perceives their work. This might involve finding more meaning in one’s tasks, redefining one’s role, or adjusting one’s approach to challenges and setbacks.

8 Steps for How to Implement Job Crafting as an Employee

Task crafting in the office

Embracing job crafting can be a pivotal step in shaping your work experience to ensure that it matches your strengths, passions, and career aspirations. Begin by thinking carefully about what truly motivates you.

1. Unearth Your Motivations

What aspects of your job energize you, and when do you find yourself in the zone and truly happy in your work?

Identifying these sources of inspiration can help guide you in your job crafting plan.

2. Visualize Your Ideal Role

Imagine your perfect job, where your interests and skills are utilized.

This ideal scenario serves as a compass and can be used to guide you and shape your job-crafting efforts.

3. Craft a Personal Mission Statement

Articulate a mission statement that embodies your career goals and purpose.

This will not only clarify your intentions but also help you explain your job-crafting vision to your superiors.

4. Dialogue with Your Manager

Initiate a candid conversation with your manager about your job crafting aspirations.

You will of course need to ensure that your proposal to your boss includes an explanation of the benefits for the company.

Try and include an explanation of how your suggestions fit in with the company’s goals and mission (if you do not know the company’s mission statement then check their website or Google it and you might soon find it).

Likewise, if you can explain how it might benefit your colleagues and your manager then your case will be even stronger.

5. Propose a Trial Phase

Suggest implementing your job crafting changes in a trial phase.

This minimizes risks and gives everyone a chance to assess the feasibility and impact of the modifications.

6. Sculpt Incremental Adjustments

Rather than drastic overhauls, consider making small, incremental adjustments in the beginning.

Test the waters, and fine-tune your role accordingly.

7. Forge Alliances

Collaborate with colleagues, especially those who might be affected by your job crafting endeavors.

Discuss how your changes can enhance teamwork and productivity and actively seek their input.

8. Collect Data

Monitor and collect data on the outcomes of your job crafting efforts.

Measure the impact on your job satisfaction, productivity, and your contribution to the company’s strategic goals.

Job and Task Crafting Challenges

Job crafting is a powerful tool for enhancing job satisfaction and engagement, but it’s not without its challenges.

Here are some common obstacles employees might encounter while job crafting:

Challenges and Issues

1. Resistance from Management

As an employee, you may face resistance or reluctance from managers when proposing changes to your role, especially if these changes disrupt existing processes or responsibilities.

2. Workload and Time Constraints

Attempting to modify one’s job may lead to concerns about increased workload or time constraints, which can be daunting.

3. Lack of Skills or Training

You might identify tasks you want to take on but lack the necessary skills or training in, making the transition challenging.

4. Organizational Policies and Constraints

Some organizations have strict policies or job descriptions that limit the extent to which you as an employee can modify your role.

Solutions and Strategies to Overcome the Issues

To successfully overcome these challenges and maintain motivation while job crafting, consider the following strategies:

1. Effective Communication

When proposing changes, communicate openly with managers. Explain how the modifications benefit the organization, and be receptive to feedback and compromises.

2. Prioritization and Time Management

To manage workload and time constraints, prioritize tasks, delegate, or reorganize your work schedule to accommodate the changes effectively.

3. Continuous Learning

Invest in training and development to acquire the necessary skills for the new tasks you wish to take on. Seek out mentorship or online courses to bridge any knowledge gaps.

4. Incremental Changes

Instead of drastic overhauls, start with small and simple changes.

This is a technique that can be highly effective and one that I have seen work very well. The old adage that taking baby steps towards a bigger goal can work really well for job and task crafting.

With baby steps, you have the chance for your manager and colleagues to gradually see and buy into the benefits that they also gain.

5. Policy Awareness and Negotiation

Familiarize yourself with organizational policies and explore opportunities for negotiation or adaptation. Some policies may be open to change if they match the company’s goals.

Overcoming challenges and maintaining motivation during the job crafting process requires resilience, effective communication, and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

Additional Resources

Teaching emotional intelligence materials
>> See the Emotional Intelligence training materials
Dr Valeria Lo Iacono