By J S Manoj Koundinya
Senior Vice President — Talent Management, Organization Development, Culture & Wellbeing at DBS India
and Matt Pittman
Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group™
In a dynamic global economy, traditional job roles often do not fully cater to the multifaceted strengths and aspirations of today’s workforce. Job crafting, a term first introduced by Wrzesniewski & Dutton (2001), refers to the proactive adjustments employees make to their job tasks, relationships, and perceptions to better fit their skills and passions. As employees and organizations recognize the value of flexibility, job crafting emerges as an essential tool for career development and satisfaction. Job crafting involves employees redefining and reimagining their tasks, interactions and overall responsibilities to better align with their skills, values and aspirations. We delve into data-driven strategies for employees to effectively engage in job crafting, thereby taking charge of their professional journey.
- Understand the Foundations:
Job crafting is not a spontaneous process; it is rooted in self-awareness and comprehension of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Analyze your skill set, identify areas of expertise and acknowledge weaknesses that could be mitigated through training. This introspective assessment sets the stage for job-crafting strategies that enhance your career. According to a survey conducted by Gallup, employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. This underscores the significance of aligning your role with your strengths.
As you begin to consider how to approach crafting your own role, it is important to maintain open and honest communication with your direct supervisor. Considering that your accountability in your work is to your manager, involving them in your assessment and preferences will help minimize any resistance that may come. This can easily be accomplished in the course of regular, ongoing 1-1 discussions as you gain insights and begin to consider adjustments.
The Three Dimensions of Job Crafting
Task Crafting: Refers to altering the number, type or nature of tasks. Employees might choose to expand their roles, take on additional projects or drop certain tasks to better match their strengths. A study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that when employees were given the autonomy to choose tasks within their roles, their job satisfaction increased by over 20%. The essence of job crafting lies in shaping your tasks and responsibilities to capitalize on your strengths while nurturing your passions. Identify elements within your current role that resonate with your skills and explore ways to amplify these components.
Relational Crafting: Involves modifying the nature and extent of interactions with others. An employee might, for example, seek mentorship or establish cross-functional teams to diversify their work relationships. Job crafting extends beyond individual tasks; it involves reshaping relationships to create a more conducive work environment. Cultivate relationships with colleagues, mentors and supervisors who align with your career aspirations. Research by Harvard Business Review suggests that employees who actively build networks are more likely to receive promotions and opportunities for skill development.
Cognitive Crafting: Focuses on changing perceptions about the job itself. Here, employees might reframe the purpose of their roles, helping them find greater meaning in what they do. A study in the Academy of Management Journal found that employees who participated in goal-setting with their supervisors reported higher job satisfaction and a stronger sense of ownership in their roles. Engaging in job crafting necessitates a dialogue with supervisors about redefining performance metrics to encompass your tailored role. Align your performance goals with the responsibilities you have reshaped to ensure that your contributions are accurately evaluated.
- Embrace a Learning Mindset:
Job crafting is synonymous with continuous growth. Embrace opportunities to learn new skills that complement your role. Seek out training programs, workshops and certifications that enhance your capabilities.
LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report revealed that employees who spend time learning are 47% less likely to be stressed and 39% more likely to feel productive and successful.
This has tangible benefits to your employer as well. Companies who enable and support this level of personalized learning find that to a very high degree (92%) learning of this type improves employee engagement. Employee engagement is proven to improve employee retention.
- Enhance Work-Life Integration:
A survey conducted by FlexJobs in 2022 found that 84% of respondents believed that flexible working options made them a happier person. Job crafting isn’t confined to the office; it extends to work-life balance. Negotiate flexible work arrangements that align with your crafted role, allowing for better integration of personal and professional commitments.
Brandon Hall Group™ research reinforces that flexible work arrangements are a key driver of employee retention. More than 50% of responding companies indicated that the introduction of remote work options has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on their ability to retain top talent. Companies that highlight the strength of their flexible work arrangements policies see a corresponding reduction in unwanted turnover.
- Monitor and Evaluate:
Job crafting is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor your crafted strategies and evaluate their impact on your career trajectory. Stay receptive to feedback from peers and supervisors to refine your approach. Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology indicates that employees who regularly review and adjust their goals have a greater sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction.
According to Brandon Hall Group™ research, truly mature and effective career development empowers individuals to take ownership of their own career paths, but most organizations are not doing it well. In fact, only 36% of companies indicate that employees are enabled to have heavy participation in career development processes. Job crafting done well offers a path to improving this outcome.
As the nature of work continues to change, job crafting serves as a potent tool for employees to proactively define their career trajectories. By recognizing the value in allowing employees to tailor their job roles, organizations can foster environments that promote engagement, satisfaction and overall performance. As for individuals, job crafting presents an opportunity to forge fulfilling careers by aligning their tasks, relationships and perceptions with personal strengths and aspirations.
J S Manoj Koundinya is a Senior Vice President — Talent Management, Organization Development, Culture & Wellbeing at DBS India. Manoj is a HR leader with 18+ years of diverse experience across industries globally in Learning, Talent & Organization Development. He is passionate about delivering business strategy through people practices by strengthening leadership, driving performance and institutionalizing culture. He has driven large-scale transformation through M&As, Ramp-Up, Restructure and Leadership Transition. He is a certified practitioner of psychometric assessments, PROSCI Change Management and Executive Coaching.
Matt Pittman is Principal Analyst at Brandon Hall Group™. Matt brings nearly 30 years of experience developing people and teams in a variety of settings and organizations. As an HR Practitioner, he has sat in nearly every HR seat. A significant part of those roles involved building out functions in organizations and driving large-scale change efforts. As a Principal Analyst at Brandon Hall Group™, Matt leverages this in-depth experience and expertise to provide clients and providers with breakthrough insights and ideas to drive their business forward.