What Is Job Crafting

Are you bored at work? Do you do too many things that you feel just don’t matter to anyone? Are you looking to spice up the job? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then job crafting might be for you. But what is job crafting and why do companies allow employees to do it?

What Is Job Crafting

Job crafting is when an employee is allowed to modify the tasks on a job and how they spend work time. It requires that the employer provides some autonomy and latitude, at least within reasonable limits. Most jobs come with a job description that lists the tasks that must be done. Job crafting allows people to add tasks and design the job that better fits their interests and talents.

There are a number of specific ways in which people can craft their jobs.

  • Attend or organize social activities at work.
  • Choose to take on new tasks that need to be done.
  • Find better ways to do the job, in other words, innovate.
  • Learn new things at work, for example, by taking extra training classes.
  • Mentor a new employee.
  • Network with others in your organization or profession.
  • Spend more time on tasks that fit your interests and skills.
  • Start new projects when you have spare time at work.
  • Trade tasks with coworkers.
  • Volunteer for interesting projects.

Management Support

Many managers will be only too happy to have employees who are willing to expand their job through job crafting, but others are resistant to delegation. In some jobs managers just want their direct reports to do the job the way it is designed and not to deviate. But it is a rare job where there isn’t some room for additional activities. Perhaps there isn’t latitude for employees to do the job differently or to take on new projects. There is almost always room for mentoring of new employees and for people on the front lines to make suggestions to improve things.

Why Should Managers Allow Job Crafting?

If you are a manager, you might be asking yourself why you should allow your direct reports to job craft. Won’t it create chaos and make more work for you? The short answer is no—not if it is managed appropriately. Job crafting is not telling your people that they can do whatever they want, and it doesn’t mean they can ignore their core tasks. Rather job crafting allows employees to go beyond their job description in making additional contributions. This might mean finding better ways to do the job or volunteering to take on extra responsibilities. Crafting activities can take a burden off the supervisor when a direct report asks for permission to fix a problem that the manager would otherwise have to address.

Job crafting requires a manager who is willing to give up some degree of control and trust direct reports will use their latitude to benefit the employer as well as themselves. Many job crafting activities contribute to the development of employee talent by taking on special projects and learning new things. Job crafting can be a vital management tool for building the capabilities of direct reports and entire teams by allowing flexibility to employees to innovate, learn, and go the extra mile.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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2 Replies to “What Is Job Crafting”

  1. I wrote in the concluding chapter of my book, “What is attractive about the idea of job crafting is that it connects with a fundamental idea in psychology. Jean Piaget (1947/1976), the biologist and father of developmental psychology, regarded adaptation as the foundation of intelligence. He posited that adaptation embraces the twin features of accommodation and assimilation. Accommodation refers to how an organism, a human being in this instance, has to change in order to adjust to the environment. A person in the workplace must follow rules and procedures, report on time, follow the supervisor’s instructions, and so on. Assimilation, on the other hand, concerns how the person imposes changes on the environment and on how he or she cognizes the environment. Much of what happens at work reflects accommodation; job crafting, however, reflects the assimilation aspect of adaptation” (Schonfeld & Chang, 2017, p. 321). And as Paul indicates, ability to engage in job crafting depends upon how much latitude the worker is given.

    PS: I love the photograph. It looks like my desk.


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