Job Crafting Exercise

Job Crafting Exercise

BY Michelle McQuaid

Why Use This Tool?

Are you dragging yourself out of bed each morning to reluctantly go off to work? And when you get there do you struggle to see the point of most of what you do? Does it just seem dull, tedious and not at all what you’d dreamed of for your career?

But what if it didn’t need to be this way? What if you could find a way to bring joy, energy and meaning to what you do, without having to quit your job?

The Job Crafting Exercise has been developed by Assistant Professor Justin Berg, Professor Jane Dutton and Professor Amy Wrzesniewski to help you organize your job so it taps into your values, strengths and interests – regardless of what your job description states. It gives you a practical and easy-to-use way to find opportunities to feel more engaged, fulfilled, effective and happy at work.

The tool gives you a flexible set of building blocks to build a visual picture of how you currently spend your time and energy at work – the tasks you do, the interactions and relationships you have with others, and what gives you the most enjoyment and energy. You can then identify the small changes you can make around:

  • Task crafting – changing the mix of activities in your job by increasing or decreasing the scope of tasks or by changing the way you perform the tasks
  • Relational crafting – changing the extent or way your interact with other people in your workplace
  • Cognitive crafting – changing the way you think about the purpose and meaning of your tasks, workplace relationships or the job as a whole.

And throughout the process you’ll be guided with practical examples that illustrate examples that show the possibilities of job crafting.

How To Get The Tool?

The Job Crafting Exercise is available from the Centre for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan.

You can purchase a copy here*.

What Have Researchers Found?

Job crafting has been found to be an effective way of putting employees in the ‘drivers seat’ to proactively create meaning, interest and satisfaction in their work across a broad range of industries, such as health care, childcare, fitness, teaching, hospitality, cleaning, marketing and sales, finance and administration, and engineering. Professor Amy Wrzesniewski in her chapter Engage in Job Crafting in the book How to be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact suggests the Job Crafting exercise benefits employees and organizations in five ways:

  1. Meaningful work – it helps you identify what matters most to you and make changes that align with these values to give your work more meaning. Research has found that using the job crafting tool to make small changes to your daily routine, your interpersonal connections and the way you perceive your work can increase your sense of meaning at work and foster a more positive work identity. Research also indicates that designing your job activities in terms of relationships and ways to care about others can help you find more meaning in your work as well.
  2. Maximizing resources – research suggests job crafting can help you balance the demands of your job with the personal, social and physical resources available to you. If you feel under stimulated or that your talents and strengths aren’t being used it can help you find ways to take the initiative to build more into your role, by adding or emphasizing components of what you do. Or if you are feeling overloaded you may be able to identify where you can seek input and support from others.
  3. Improving performance – rather than just following your list of job tasks and responsibilities, by taking the initiative to proactively find ways to make your job more meaningful you can boost innovativeness, adaptability and performance.
  4. Feeling engaged – finding and implementing changes to your own job design has been found to help you feel more in control of your tasks, and more satisfied, interested, and positive about your work role. You are also more likely to feel engaged at work when you can find ways to create meaningful experiences and use your interests. Research suggests that finding ways to develop your strengths – those things you are good at and enjoy doing- each day can increase your sense of engagement at work.
  5. Feeling happier – connecting with others and enhancing our relationships with others at work has been found to increase our positive emotions, vitality and wellbeing at work. The Job Crafting tool has been found to increase feelings of connections with others, prosocial activity and levels of positive emotions, contentment and enthusiasm for work by helping people spend more time with people they respect and value.

To find out more about job crafting watch my video blog here.

*Please note we receive no commission on this tool, and are sharing it as we believe it is a valuable tool to help you design the best possible fit between you and your job.

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