Job-crafting: What is it and how can it help you find meaning in your work?
Updated: Jan 16
You’ve got a good job but something’s missing. You spend most of your day feeling uninspired, bored, wondering if this is it? But you don’t want to change jobs. You like your organisation, your team and colleagues. You just want to feel more motivated, doing more of what energises you and less of what drains you.
Well, there is a way to make this happen – Job-crafting.
What is job-crafting?
Job-crafting is when you make changes in what you do, how you do something, who you do it with, or even just how you think about your work.
You stay in your job and find a way to enjoy it more.
It often involves using your strengths and will result in you feeling more engaged with your work and probably performing better than you do now.
Job crafting is:
“an employee-initiated approach which enables employees to shape their own work environment such that it fits their individual needs by adjusting the prevailing job demands and resources”
(Tims & Bakker, 2010)
There are different ways to craft your job so you find your work more satisfying.
This is when you make some changes to what you do. For example:
You’re great at seeing how to improve ways of working, so you take responsibility in your team for reviewing processes and proposing how they can be improved.
You love enabling others to learn so you take responsibility for coaching others in your team.
You enjoy planning so agree with your manager that you own the quarterly planning for the team.
You don’t enjoy speaking in groups so you agree with your team that others will give presentations when needed.
You love working with different people, collaborating and building relationships, so you find ways to do this. For example:
You volunteer for a cross-functional project.
You talk with another team about their work to find common themes you can collaborate on.
You develop an external network to learn from and bring ideas into your organisation.
You take on the role of social / activity organiser within your team.
This is where you change your perspective, your mindset, about your work so you gain more fulfilment from it. This usually involves digging into the purpose of what you do.
What difference are you making to the business, its customers, your colleagues, your team, your community, society?
How does your work contribute to the business goals?
How job-crafting can help you
Job-crafting can help you find meaning in your work, resulting in you feeling more engaged. This in turn can improve your wellbeing and reduce the risk of burnout occurring.
When you’re engaged with your work, you’re more motivated, you have more energy and your performance improves. This will be noticed by others and often, more of the work you enjoy will flow your way.
You’ll start to look forward to your Mondays, rather than dreading the week ahead because you know you’re going to be bored and unfulfilled.
Along the way you’ll learn new things, develop new skills, broaden your professional network – all valuable assets in your career development.
How do you go about job-crafting?
Start by understanding what’s missing for you in your role (my Career Audit free download can help you get started).
Then think about how you can best fill the gap. What strengths do you want to use? (Strengths Profile coaching will enable you to identify your Unrealised Strengths, where you’ll find the biggest potential to make a difference.)
Will task, relationship or cognitive-crafting be most useful to you?
Next think about the opportunities available to enable you find more meaning in your work. Here’s where a conversation with your manager can be really useful. How can they help you to find those opportunities? A good manager will want to enable you to use your strengths and develop within your role.
A case study
Kerry* was bored in her role. She enjoyed what she did and was really good at it, but felt she’d learned as much as she could. Her days had become routine, waiting for an opportunity to progress within the team but not seeing when that would happen.
We looked at Kerry’s Strengths Profile and her Unrealised Strengths included Enabler, Explainer and Improver. We then explored what these meant to Kerry and how she would love to use them in her work.
Kerry identified some opportunities:
There were a couple of less experienced people in the team who could benefit from Kerry’s experience – she could act as their coach and mentor to enable them to learn and progress faster (using Enabler).
She could see ways to improve how the team developed its services, by speaking with stakeholders and users to generate new ideas (using Improver).
She identified that some other teams did not fully understand what her team did, so she could present to them at their team meetings (using Explainer) which would lead to greater support and collaboration.
Kerry had a conversation with her manager where she outlined her ideas and the benefits to the team. Her manager agreed and gave Kerry the green light to go ahead.
Within three months Kerry had implemented all of these ideas (task-crafting and relationship-crafting). She enjoyed her work so much more and could see the difference she was making for her team and her colleagues. She was finding meaning in her work (resulting from cognitive-crafting) and looking forward to her Mondays.
If you'd love some help to understand how job-crafting can help you get in touch.
About Karen Felton
Karen is a career mentor and coach, enabling people to thrive in their career through understanding their strengths.
She has over 25 years’ experience in HR and Financial Services, leading teams, coaching and mentoring people, developing leaders and enabling people to achieve their career goals. She is passionate about enabling people to be their best selves so they can perform at their best in work and in life.