Job crafting is reimagining one’s job to find a greater purpose. It typically involves stretching the boundaries of the job description to fit what a person finds meaningful.

People who define their roles to encompass their values find more job satisfaction and deliver better results at work.

An example of job crafting would be the hospital cleaning staff member who, when asked about their work, describes their work as including more than what’s strictly spelled out in the job description. They may, for example, make it a point to interact with patients or visitors every day.

One job crafter interviewed during Yale professor Amy Wrzesniewski’s research into social value at work described changing pictures on patient room walls even though patients were unconscious or comatose, in the belief that changing the atmosphere could indirectly benefit those patients. Whether it works or doesn’t work, the sentiment matters, does it not?

Job crafting can take place in any role, any industry, and any profession, and it benefits not only the individual but also the organization in which they work.

Job Crafting and Employee Engagement Closely Linked

As you may expect, job crafting behavior is closely linked to employee engagement. Research recently published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology shows that this is indeed the case. Employees who were encouraged in their job crafting efforts showed higher levels of employee engagement. They were likelier to seek challenges and seek resources, performing their tasks better and enjoying greater career satisfaction. Furthermore, the researchers found that the resource-seeking behavior of job crafters actually created a more motivating work environment.

Empowering Leaders Increase Employee Engagement

Of course, job crafting depends on a person feeling empowered to do more than what is strictly described in their job description. Empowering leaders are those who do more than delegate tasks. They empower their team members to tackle their work in the ways that their expertise and experience lead them.

Leaders who empower team members to use their skills and talents to accomplish tasks in the way they believe is best improve employee engagement.

Empowering leaders have high levels of mutual trust between themselves and those they lead. They avoid micromanaging yet set clear expectations and provide team members with the resources they need. They both give constructive feedback and listen to employee ideas for doing things differently. And they recognize team members for their excellence.

Job Crafting Employees Deliver Organizational Benefits

Job crafting employees led by empowering leaders are not the only beneficiaries of their job crafting behavior. The organization benefits too. When leaders ensure their team members have sufficient autonomy, resources, and encouragement to engage in job crafting behavior, they strengthen employee engagement. And strong employee engagement leads to benefits like:

  • Higher productivity – which shows up in employees going the proverbial extra mile, and having lower absenteeism
  • Stronger job retention – which can save companies the significant costs associated with hiring and training new people
  • More innovative thinking – because of a strong sense of ownership of their work
  • Better customer service – because they’re typically happy at work, positive and proactive, and customers seeking service pick up on those attitudes
  • Higher profits – 26% higher revenue per employee, according to a Wyatt Watson study!

Leadership coaching can help clients become empowering leaders by working on leadership skills like communication, delegation, and empowerment of team members. With the help of a leadership coach, leaders can learn how to encourage job crafting behavior and why it doesn’t lead to chaos, but actually boosts productivity.

And leadership coaching can help leaders do their own job crafting – reimagining their own roles to fit with their values and stretch the boundaries of their work. If you’re interested in learning more about empowering leadership, I encourage you to check out my books as well as my leadership speaking and training services.

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