I’ve written a few times about the important role job descriptions play in the creation of a social business, and with that the valuable part job crafting can play in the process. The general gist is that when employees are encouraged to collaborate across the organisation, it’s imperative that they have the flexibility to roam about and apply their skills where best suited, and that a rigid job description often fails to empower that.
A new study has explored job crafting in more detail, and in particular the demand and resource aspects of it. The demands tend to fall into two categories. The first is the unhelpful and costly obstacles such as emotionally draining activities. The second includes challenges such as high workload.
The resource aspect by contrast tends to be helpful, and often falls into either structural or social categories. The structural includes the kind of organisational support offered by training and development, whilst the social involves the support and help we receive from our peers.
The study looked at the job descriptions of 288 employees, with each of them receiving feedback on how they scored in each of the demand and resource areas, together with some advice on how they could improve. The employees were revisited a month later to have their scores measured again.
The researchers found that those employees that had re-crafted their job in resource related ways showed improvements in areas such as work engagement, lower burnout and job satisfaction. These improvements could be manifested in simple ways such as trying new things at work.
Whilst the employees appeared particularly active when crafting their jobs in resource related areas, they were much less so in the demand field. What’s more, any changes that were made failed to show any significant improvements in employee engagement or job satisfaction, with the only real gain being in lower burnout scores.
The findings suggest that when undertaking job crafting it’s generally easier to increase and develop your resources than it is to reduce the demands the organisation places on you. As such, the researchers recommend that management should focus more on the way demands on our time effects our well being, as these are more difficult to shift from the bottom up.