Job crafting: The concept and the benefits

Job crafting: The concept and the benefits

According to a 2009 Gallup survey, the majority of Australian workers (82%) are not engaged with their work. This is obviously a problem from both an employee and a company perspective. The post on recruitment website Destination Talent, called The majority of Australians don’t like their jobs, goes on to say that this lack of engagement costs Australian companies between $33-42 billion each year.

Surveys of employees from the most junior to the most senior within companies show that employees value good leadership, having career development opportunities and working for a company that has a good culture and values aligned with their own.

Clearly there is some disconnect between what companies are offering and what employees are experiencing. Most people don’t go to work to do a bad job and be disengaged. They want to experience challenges, achievements and a sense of purpose in their work, yet companies need to consider how to better facilitate this, particularly in a tough economic climate where funds may be limited for further training and development, promotions or pay increases.

One way to create a more connected workforce is via the concept of ‘job crafting’. According to the paper What is job crafting and why does it matter? by Justin Berg, Jane Dutton and Amy Wrzesniewski: “Job crafting captures the active changes employees make to their own job designs in ways that can bring about numerous positive outcomes, including engagement, job satisfaction, resilience and thriving.”

Job crafting is a concept that is not readily discussed, however is certainly one worth learning more about if you company is looking to increase employee engagement.

What is job crafting and why does it matter? offers a comprehensive insight into the concept, including how the process benefits employees, managers and companies alike.  It also includes some of the drawbacks, if the process is not managed correctly. One of the interesting points the paper makes is that employees are often job-crafting their roles, without their managers being aware. They do so via assessing the most viable options available to them with the purpose of achieving a more satisfying worklife for themselves. It’s not necessarily to benefit the company – though companies can leverage this by having more formal job-crafting processes in place.

An example of an employee job crafting is if a manager at a manufacturing plant expands her job to include 15 minutes working on the shop floor alongside her employees every day. This small change could improve her relationships with many of her employees, enable her to evaluate her employees more accurately, and enhance her own job satisfaction and engagement.

Ultimately, employees engage in job crafting for career or personal satisfaction that can often result in them feeling more engaged in their work and benefiting their current employer – if the job crafting is aligned with both the employee’s and the organisation’s goals.

For this to occur it is best for managers to create an environment where job crafting is openly embraced and supported by all levels of the company. The paper makes a very pertinent point: “Job crafting theory does not devalue the importance of job designs assigned by managers; it simply values the opportunities employees have to change them.”

Having a sense of purpose and meaning in the job is incredibly important to most employees. Job crafting is one of the many things that companies can readily implement for little cost to increase employee engagement.


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