How Job Crafting Can Make Work More Satisfying

A four-step framework can empower workers to transform the jobs they have into the jobs they want.

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It’s difficult to overstate the importance of employee engagement for organizations. Disengagement results in lost productivity that costs employers an estimated $500 million annually. According to Gallup research, over 65% of workers don’t consider themselves engaged and want their jobs and current roles to be more satisfying, meaningful, and fulfilling. These alarming revelations are consistent with a series of recent studies, which concluded that employees are switching off because their skills aren’t fully utilized; they’re not challenged or stimulated, and they feel that they lack flexibility and autonomy.

For managers, then, determining how to improve engagement and satisfaction is a mission-critical priority, particularly in a post-pandemic working world where uncertainty is rife. Job crafting is one approach being used to do so in the wake of COVID-19.

Job crafting is a proactive, often unsupervised, modern take on job redesign that empowers workers to transform the jobs they have into the jobs they want, by becoming design agents instead of passive recipients of job titles, responsibilities, and roles. Research on job crafting, which typically focuses on employees, already highlights considerable positive outcomes, including improvements in well-being, organizational commitment, perceptions of meaning and purpose of work, self and colleague ratings of performance, and adaptation to organizational change.

Given the significance of these findings, we recently interviewed 1,000 business leaders and 2,000 of their workers around the world (67.1% from North America, and 32.9% from the U.K. and Australia) to provide compelling evidence and guidance for managers who wish to encourage their team members to craft their roles. Our questions assessed each organization’s readiness for the practice to commence and identified the culture, process, and people factors that make or break good-natured efforts to implement job crafting successfully. Because it’s a bottom-up approach, job crafting can be fully successful only if it’s supported and encouraged by all levels of management. Where instances of such commitment existed, we found that job crafting did the following:

  • Improved well-being: Ninety-two percent of our participants who engaged in job crafting post-pandemic experienced a more satisfying work life and increased personal satisfaction. This improved sense of well-being led to a 29% decrease in stress levels.

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