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What is job crafting, why does it matter, and how can you do it?

November 7, 2022 - 14 min read

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Job crafting: a basic concept

The different types of job crafting

This is why job crafting is so important

How to “job craft” your work

For the future

Take a moment and think about one thing you’d like to tweak about your job. 

Would it be that you want more collaboration, a better work-life balance, or stronger working relationships with your team members? 

We’re going to let you in on a not-so-secret piece of knowledge: You have the ability to create change so that you do more meaningful work. It’s time to learn what job crafting is and why it does matter if you want greater job satisfaction.

Employees need to feel more engaged at work to enjoy what they do. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found that 60% of people reported being emotionally detached at work, while 19% said they were miserable

And if you think you wouldn’t benefit from job crafting, it’s time to think again. We’ll explain what job crafting is, why it matters, and how to practice it. You’ll leave this article with a better understanding of how you can work to redesign your job so that it’s filled with meaning, satisfaction, and joy.

Job crafting: a basic concept

Let’s start with a definition of job crafting: job crafting is a proactive approach to shaping your job description to better align with your skills, values, and goals. You redesign your position to better align with your interests, boosting your confidence and engagement at work. 

Job crafting thrives with a bottom-up style of management, where employees are empowered to take action, think outside the box, and have greater autonomy at work. It’s the opposite of a top-down approach, where management makes decisions and exercises control over employees’ day-to-day tasks.

Job crafting was first introduced by Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski and Dr. Jane E. Dutton. Wrzesniewski and Dutton use job crafting as a way to explain how to align your work values with your responsibilities and how big-picture thinking helps you craft a fulfilling professional career.

The focus is keeping your needs and interests in the center without sacrificing career development. It’s been a key part of identifying how to find meaning and identity at work ever since. 

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To be clear, job crafting doesn’t mean you toss aside the responsibilities you don’t like doing. You still need to perform everything in your job description and meet job demands with professionalism.

Job crafting means taking the initiative to find ways to enjoy your work more by changing your perception of your job, developing better working relationships, and cultivating a positive attitude.

How easy it is to implement job crafting in your role depends on your workplace. Here are some reasons why job crafting might be difficult to execute:

  • You could have difficulty gaining support within your work environment to alter your day-to-day workflow

  • Your job responsibilities could be quite rigid, meaning there’s not much room for autonomy

  • Your boss may put up some resistance as you try to redesign your work out of fear of change

If you’re meeting resistance as you try to improve your status, explain to your manager how job crafting will benefit your entire team. Offering to take on more responsibility so you can perform more tasks you enjoy shouldn’t harm your productivity — it will increase it.

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The different types of job crafting

One of the wonderful things about job crafting is the many ways to practice it. You could want to deepen your relationships with your coworkers, so you’d like to do more relational job crafting. And at the same time, you might want to focus on limiting stress at work, meaning you’ll focus on well-being crafting.

There are so many examples of job crafting out there that you might get a little overwhelmed. We’ll help you break them all down, so here are five job crafting examples to review:

1. Relationship crafting

How well do you know your coworkers? Relationship crafting is about changing and improving the relationships you have with people in your office. For instance, you might feel like you only talk to your coworkers about work-related topics.

Relationship crafting might look like asking a different coworker to lunch each week and trying to organize more office socials. Talking about your personal lives together will give you greater insight into their character, hobbies, and goals. After these developments, you’ll be closer to having great friends at work

2. Task crafting

This is the most common type of job crafting out there and focuses on changing your responsibilities and trying new things. You’re still responsible for your job, but it’s time to shake things up.

Try volunteering to lead a weekly meeting and completing your tasks with another approach. If you usually work alone, moving into a group setting or adding leadership responsibilities to your weekly duties will freshen your role. 

3. Purpose crafting

Finding purpose isn’t only for your personal life. You deserve to have a job where you feel like you’re fulfilling your life’s purpose, which is what this type of crafting helps you achieve.

Ask yourself if you love what you do. If the answer’s no, then it’s time to pursue something more meaningful to you. Purpose crafting will have you explore various aspects of your job to find what you enjoy the most.

They could be things like writing reports, speaking in front of others, or doing more design work. It mind demand changing jobs, but if you’re lucky, this can lead you to refine your current role with task crafting.  

Male-candidate-giving-his-paperwork-to-human-resource-team-on-a-job-interview-in-the-office-what-is-job-crafting-and-why-does-it-matter

4. Cognitive crafting

What’s your attitude toward your job like? Cognitive crafting focuses on changing your mindset about the tasks you do to reap the benefits of positive thinking in your workplace.

It helps you adopt a perspective that sees the value and meaning in your work rather than a chore or a dreaded part of your day. Think about all the big and small tasks you do and their impact. You might not think that the filing or data entry you do is important, but it actually helps you stay organized and do your job more effectively. 

5. Well-being crafting

Taking care of your well-being should always be your top priority, and this crafting helps you do that. It’ll guide you to a better work-life balance, prioritizing time to enjoy your personal hobbies, recognizing signs of burnout, and putting your mental health first.

You’ll do things like unplugging after work, saying “no” to extra work, or carving out vacation time. Minor changes like upgrading your work-from-home setup or trying to better your social health should improve your well-being, too. 

This is why job crafting is so important

The benefits of job crafting go far beyond just tailoring your job to your interests. It helps you grow as a professional and a person trying to live a purposeful and enjoyable life.

However you choose to practice job crafting, it’s going to help facilitate more positive emotions. Finding meaning has been linked to higher levels of well-being. With job crafting, you’ll do meaningful work with positive outcomes that makes you excited to start work each day, helping your wellness. 

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Job crafting might not go smoothly for you, so you have to be prepared to stay disciplined. It will invite you to face challenges and practice self-accountability.  

If you struggle to find your purpose within your work environment, it’ll demand that you spend time discovering more about yourself to help you with your crafting. You’ll face obstacles, like adopting a growth mindset and work hard to overcome them. Ultimately, all of these things will contribute to greater self-awareness.

Job crafting will also improve your work performance, thanks to the new things you’ll learn. Skills ranging from learning to speak up in meetings, chatting casually with coworkers, or boosting your mood make a difference. 

Here are other benefits of job crafting:

These may seem small or even unrelated to your work, but they still help you grow as a professional. And more than that, all of these improvements will translate into your personal life to help you become a better version of yourself.

How to “job craft” your work

The job crafting process might confuse you. Where do you even begin with your job crafting? How do you keep the process moving forward? It might feel like you’re heading in the right direction before you notice you aren’t progressing.

You could see other job crafters moving quickly with their goals while you feel stuck. These are some signs that you need tips for handling the job crafting process.

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Here are four tips to keep in mind as you do some job crafting:

  1. Practice visualization. Take time to evaluate what you’d like to change, and think about what type of job crafting would best suit your needs by creating a vision board or asking yourself questions about what you want from this process. This way, where to focus your efforts will be clear. 

  2. Stay open-minded. Be open to changing your approach as you go and trying different job crafting exercises to best achieve your goal. You’ll widen your perspective and gain greater insight into yourself and your work environment. 

  3. Seek constructive criticism. Welcome feedback at all stages of your job crafting to see how your actions impact your job performance. It’ll help you keep up with your job demands and know which methods work for you.

  4. Be patient. Understand that it’s not a race to see how fast you can accomplish your goals. Setting realistic goals and staying present will help you avoid burnout and anxiety about your progress.

For the future

Next time someone asks you, “What is job crafting, and why does it matter?” you’ll be ready to explain that it’s a proactive approach to achieving more job satisfaction. You’ll be taking the initiative to redesign your job so that you enjoy it more. That might seem a little daunting, but it’s worth it.

Plus, there isn’t a time limit on when you need to accomplish your job crafting. Your crafting might take a couple weeks and be a short-term goal, or it could be a continuous, long-term goal. How you craft your work is up to you, so ensure you’re honoring your values and needs. Your future self will thank you for it. 

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Published November 7, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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