Win Your People

Job Crafting: A Game-Winning Guide for Managers

Stop getting in your team’s way and let each player’s talent shine with this no-cost strategy

This guide will help you up your team’s engagement levels. That means higher performance and job satisfaction while lowering chances of burnout.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

• What exactly is Job Crafting? (with examples)

• Why Do People Craft Their Jobs

• Types of Job Crafting

• Benefits of Job Crafting 

• Job Crafting Strategies

• Additional Resources on Job Crafting 

• Frequently Asked Questions

Picture this: you’re the coach of a basketball team. Your players are rocking amazing dribbling skills, wowing the crowd and all. But, when it’s time to score those winning shots, there’s a slight fumble. Something’s missing.

Ever had that nagging feeling of “almost there but not quite”? 

I’ve paced those sidelines, felt the adrenaline of the game, and stumbled upon a game-changing strategy.

It costs nothing but it’s a sure thing that your team will put their hearts into the game. Winning streaks are just a matter of time.

It’s called Job Crafting.

Now, you might wonder, what’s basketball got to do with Job Crafting?

Just like refining plays on the court, Job Crafting is about making adjustments, optimizing strengths, and building a winning team. It’s the art of tweaking roles, fine-tuning interactions, and igniting passion.

Let’s take a deep dive to learn the ropes of this subtle art that has the power to transform average teams into championship contenders.

What is Job Crafting (JC)?

In simple words, Job crafting is when employees proactively make adjustments in their jobs in ways that better suit their skills, strengths, interests, and values.

Employees engage in Job Crafting activities to find meaning, satisfaction, joy, and engagement in their work. While almost everyone modifies their jobs, some are more active crafters than others. 

Job Crafting can only become a success if you, as a leader, provide your people with the right foundation and support system to build on.

And that’s what I will be talking about today – how to reap its benefits for your team.

2 Quick Examples of Job Crafting

Now let’s see two real quick examples from my experience to see Job Crafting in action.

A customer success manager was passionate about delivering training sessions. She reached out to HR and offered her services as a facilitator for relevant in-house workshops. Guess who was rated as the best facilitator on customer care topics that year?

A guy I used to manage hated social interactions. I went to his cubicle one day to find out that he had shuffled the furniture to sit facing the window with his back towards the walkway. This way, he was able to avoid even eye contact with colleagues passing by who could potentially stop for a chat.

Get the idea?

Why Do People Craft Their Jobs?

As their manager, it’s important for you to understand why your team members craft their jobs.

According to Amy & Dutton’s research, people modify their jobs to:

  1. Get better control over their jobs
  2. Derive meaning from their work
  3. Enhance their self-image
  4. Fulfill their need for connecting with other people

 

* I recommend you to flip through this research, especially Figure 1 at P.182

Types of Job Crafting

Now that you know the what and why of Job Crafting, let’s take a look at the ways people do it.

Wrzesniewski and Dutton identified three primary types of Job Crafting behaviors in people: task, cognitive, and relational crafting.

Here is a quick explanation of each along with an example for better understanding.

 

Type of Job Crafting

Example

Task crafting

Changing the boundaries of work and the approaches used to complete tasks.

A graphic designer, passionate about learning new techniques, proposes to her manager to allocate a portion of her time for online courses and experimentation with the latest design software.

Cognitive crafting 

Reframing tasks of one’s job to interpret work that feels meaningful.

A hospital janitor considers her job a crucial one in keeping the patients safe from infectious diseases by keeping the premises clean.

Relational crafting

Altering who to interact with for the completion of assigned tasks.

A sales manager accepts a challenging cross-functional project just to get a chance to work with her mentor who’s from the product team and leading this project.

Benefits of Job Crafting

Instead of tooting an empty horn, I’ll show you the benefits of Job Crafting using three research studies.

Research Study

Findings

The Impact of Job Crafting on Job Demands, Job Resources, and Well-Being

• Higher engagement at work

• Increased job satisfaction

• Lowered chances of burnout

The Longitudinal Impact of a Job Crafting Intervention

• Improved performance in their jobs

• Higher work engagement

The Impact of Personal

Resources and Job Crafting

Interventions on Work

Engagement and Performance

There’s a long list of such pieces of evidence so I’ll stop at three examples only. 

The idea must be clear to you that consciously promoting Job Crafting in your team will boost your team’s performance as well as their well-being. 

Reason enough to go for it. Isn’t it?

 

Job Crafting Strategies

Here are the best strategies that you’ll need to make sure that only good comes out of your Job Crafting efforts.

 

 

Start Small

Take a small start, allowing time for adjustment, testing what works, and gathering feedback before expanding further. Not all staff will instantly embrace increased autonomy or know how to tweak their roles effectively out of the gates. Consider:

  • Offering short-term trial periods where people can experiment with modifying certain tasks. Then check in on what’s going well or needs fine-tuning before formally integrating those changes.
  • Focusing first on parts of jobs that align with people’s skills and passions, then expanding from there based on lessons learned.

Baby steps avoid overwhelming people. As both managers and employees get more comfortable crafting roles together and proving positive outcomes over time, you can gradually increase the scope of changes. But pace yourself early on for maximum adoption and buy-in.

 

Define Clear Boundaries

You’re the manager hence responsible for getting results. And that can’t be compromised. So you’ll need crafting boundaries to make sure the work gets done too.

Be very clear with your people about the aspects of their roles that can be crafted and which ones can’t. Offer autonomy within structured parameters. 

Let’s see an interesting example.

The person managing the flight attendants at Southwest Airlines did an excellent job of setting the boundaries.

Here’s a video where one of their flight attendants sings a rap song to give pre-flight safety instructions.

Yes, you read it right – he’s rapping the instructions! See for yourself in this video.

 

The airline has given them the responsibility of giving the pre-flight instructions. But they’re free to do that in whatever way they want. I can imagine there must be a set of other crafting rules in this case for example:

Every instruction shall be covered

No political, racial, or religious comments

No disrespect to anyone, etc.

Actively Encourage Job Crafting

Don’t just allow your people to tweak their jobs – be their crafting champion!

Explicitly tell them they have room to customize and refine certain processes or play up their strengths.

Ask for input on what’s working and what’s not.

Lead brainstorms allowing teams to reimagine responsibilities.

By vocally championing workers to proactively mold roles, they will feel more empowered to think creatively. 

Whenever you see a good example in the team, make sure to appreciate it in front of other team members. It’ll give them a clear message that crafting is valued here.

The key is striking the right balance between structure and freedom. Employees should never feel 100% stuck following rigid rules. But pure improvisation causes chaos. Clarify the lines, then cheer flexibility within them. If done right, workers thrive and you boost retention by allowing people to craft roles they feel truly invested in.

 

Provide Active Guidance & Support

While you do need to give staff adequate autonomy and space to take the lead in molding their jobs, it’s not a purely hands-off process.

Employees will only be successful in constructively crafting their roles when you’re there for them along the way.  Guiding the process includes:

  • Having an open door policy for coaching them through Job Crafting decisions
  • Checking in regularly to spot and sort out any issues
  • Offering tools and training opportunities that set people up for success
  • Providing them with psychological safety in the team
  • Acting as a soundboard to productively challenge and refine ideas
  • Helping them gauge the effectiveness of customizations based on data

 

Conclusion

As a manager, your role is crucial for enabling Job Crafting among your team members. While employees own the Job Crafting process, leadership sets the stage for it to be adopted successfully. You must walk a fine line between relinquishing control while providing ongoing guidance and support.

Rather than view Job Crafting as giving up control, see it as empowering people. Employees yearn to put their unique stamps on roles – leverage that! With clear expectations set and proper support supplied, your staff will reshape responsibilities better than you ever could alone.

Find that balance.


Want to embark on a Job Crafting endeavor for your team? Not sure where to start?

Drop me a line at syed@winyourpeople.com to have me in your corner and we’ll work together to get you a winning Job Crafting Strategy.


Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Job crafting is when employees proactively make adjustments in their jobs in ways that better suit their skills, strengths, interests, and values.

Three types of Job Crafting behaviors in people include Task crafting, Cognitive crafting, and Relational crafting.

Promoting Job Crafting in your team will boost your team’s performance as well as their well-being. You can then take on bigger challenges and be on the fast lane to leadership success.

Zilch. Nothing. You only need to guide and support your people while they craft their roles for enhanced results. 

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