Job crafting is a concept that’s been around since 2001. It’s “proactive behaviour that employees use when they feel that changes in their job are necessary”, according to one definition.
Essentially, it involves making small incremental changes or tweaks to your current role to make it ‘fit’ you better, explains Leah Lambart, career coach at Relaunch Me. These slight changes to your role are made to ensure it uses more of your strengths and removes aspects that require you overcome weaknesses.
“Job crafting can help you find more fulfilment in your work and also get more longevity out of your role,” says Lambart. “By making some small changes, you can find work more satisfying without feeling the need to look for another role. You’ll find the work more energising and, as a result, feel more engaged in it.”
Examples of job crafting include:
- An employee with creative tendencies finding some big-picture thinking projects to work on outside their business-as-usual tasks,
- An employee with strong writing skills finding some additional writing tasks that allow them to better use this skill, and
- An employee working an internal-facing role, but with good social skills, requesting they have more opportunities to attend client meetings and contact clients directly.
So, how do you go about job crafting? Well, you can do it in three possible ways: task crafting, relationship crafting and cognitive crafting — each ‘behaviours’ employees can use to become ‘crafters’.
Task crafting may involve changing tasks, re-ordering them or finding a different way to complete them, explains Lambart.
“An example of where an employee may change tasks could involve a review of their current tasks to see which of them are energising and which of them are de-energising,” she says. “By finding opportunities to do more of the energising tasks and less of the draining tasks, the employees may feel more satisfaction in their current role.”
Another example is an employee who has more focus in the morning and finds it easier to complete work that requires deep concentration and critical thinking then, changing the order of their daily tasks. Yet another example is an employee delegating some less satisfying tasks to another employee or even switching tasks with someone else who has strength in different areas — all with support from a manager or mentor, of course.
Relationship crafting relates to how an employee navigates relationships in the workplace, says Lambart.
“For example, if an employee is finding a particular colleague incredibly difficult to work with, relational crafting might involve finding a workaround such as building a relationship with someone else in that team in order to still be able to achieve their goal,” she says.
Another example is an outgoing employee who feels dissatisfied at work because they are lacking social opportunities crafting their role to allow for more face-to-face communication. They might go into the office more frequently, organise team building activities and find ways to build meaningful relationships with like-minded colleagues.
Lastly, cognitive crafting is all about re-framing how you think about some of your job responsibilities so that they become more appealing and purposeful, says Lambart.
“An employee who has to make regular presentations may think of this task as ‘public speaking’ and become quite anxious about completing this task,” she says. “If they can re-frame this task to be more aligned to a strength, such as ‘educating people’ then this may allow an employee who fears the spotlight to view this task in a more positive way.”
Likewise, an employee may reframe why they are doing a task by thinking about the greater purpose. For example, someone working in hospital administration who finds their job repetitive and tedious might think about their role more favourably if they instead focused on the end goal. That is, if they re-framed it to be ‘helping patients achieve better health outcomes’.