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Job crafting: How to get people engaged with it – new study
Job crafting has been found to be a productive employee activity, but there are problems with getting people engaged with it. New research looks at how to get employees engaged with job crafting.
The idea of job crafting
One of the more recent ideas in organisational development is that of job crafting. The concept of job crafting really started in the organisational literature in 2001 and has caught on rapidly. Job crafting refers to the ability of employees to change a range of aspects about their own jobs, particularly in terms of the social or network connectivity (i.e. who else their job should connect with, both within and without the organisation), the tasks that are involved within their job, the physical location and ergonomics involved within their job, and a range of other features.
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One of the reasons job crafting has become so popular, not just within the academic research literature, but also within organisations around the world, is that it is often the job incumbent who can best design flows and types of task they engage with. Further, because the job incumbent knows the ins and outs of the job, they are usually the person best placed to innovate and make the job and its tasks more efficient and effective.
Another reason for the interest in job crafting is that, given the rate of change in today’s business, usually by the time organisations get around to changing workflows and job tasks the redesign is already out of date. Job incumbents, when given the authority to craft their own jobs and tasks, have been found to be much more adaptable and flexible. It has been found that, where job incumbents have been given autonomy and responsibility, they can often respond to external and internal changes much more rapidly than the organisation. A 2014 study found that job crafting in the hotel industry was a primary factor for the increase in customer satisfaction and organisational success.
Studies in 2014 and 2016 have discovered that job crafting significantly increases job engagement, person-job fit, job performance and organisational performance.
The three facets of job crafting
There are considered to be three elements that are involved in job crafting:
- The tasks that need to be performed.
- The relationships network required in order to perform that job successfully.
- The way of thinking about the job, its tasks and relationships (cognition) and how it fits with the organisational processes.
Because job crafting is such a relatively new field of interest, the interrelationship between these three elements is still being explored.
The whole intention of job crafting is to ensure that someone’s job, (tasks, relationships and the thinking) achieves better fit with the environment.
A new study
A new study has looked at what the antecedents are for job crafting or what predicts employees’ actually engaging with job crafting at an organisational level. Just offering the opportunity to job craft is usually not enough for most employees to get involved doing it.
The researchers also wanted to know what the consequences are of promoting job crafting in an organisation.
How to engage people in job crafting
- The primary finding from the study is that organisational support is essential if you want people to engage with job crafting. The single most prevailing reason for either a lack of engagement or partial engagement and failure with job crafting is a lack of organisational support. In particular, it was found that people need support with:
- Task crafting – largely knowing and feeling confident about what they can change and how far they can go, initially at least.
- Cognitive crafting. People tend to need help and support with how to think differently about their tasks and job. Often, some coaching support and help are particularly useful here.
- That those employees who engage first with task crafting tend to engage better with both cognitive and relational crafting later. Therefore, it is suggested that the organisation gets and helps the employees to reappraise the tasks they do and find responsibilities that they can drop and take on. Additionally, task crafting is about changing the order tasks are done in and altering the time and duration of tasks to better fit needs, as well as taking on new tasks or disregarding or passing on tasks that are better suited to other people.
- Task crafting then tends to lead to the employee changing their relationships with other people to create and facilitate better work flows, for example.
- It was also found that job crafting across all three domains; cognitive, relational and task crafting, leads to greater levels of creativity and initiative, as well as increasing the level of significance they feel their job has in the overall scheme of things.
- Relational and cognitive crafting increase the level of value employees feel (value congruence) within the organisation.
- People engaging in relational and cognitive crafting were also found to develop a significantly greater level of identification with their organisation than those who don’t engage in these forms of job crafting. Interestingly, task crafting has no significant impact on their identification with their organisation or company.
- People who engage with job crafting tend to feel they have a significantly better person-job (P-J) fit than those that don’t. This effect was greatest for people engaging in job crafting through all three domains (cognitive, task and relational crafting).
- Lastly, the study found that people with a better person-job and person-organisation fit tend to have significantly greater levels of job satisfaction.
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