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Learning Organization

Job Crafting

What is Job Crafting

Job crafting allows professionals and managers to ‘shape’ their own job so it fully utilizes their talents, competencies, interests and energy and at the same time enables them to optimize their added value for internal customers and improves their overall contribution to business and organizational performance.  Effective Job crafting leads to engagement, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving.  It is an interesting alternative for standard job descriptions and a form of social contracting between internal customers and suppliers. Team managers could also use the process to adapt their role in the team to the needs of their team members and to conditions the team works in. Job-crafting has different dimensions.  As job-holder you can ‘reshape’ :

  • Your responsibilities, tasks, priorities…  : TASK CRAFTING
  • Your relationships with internal and external stakeholders : how, when, with whom, to do what …. : RELATIONAL CRAFTING
  • Your own vision, perception, definition of your role and impact in the organization : “do you sell tickets ?” or “do you offer people a nice evening out in the theatre ?” : COGNITIVE CRAFTING
  • The physical context of your work : when, where, with what kind of resources, … : CONTEXT CRAFTING

Job crafting is not an ‘individual activity’ where you can decide what you are going to do and what not.  Key is to relate to your internal customers and stakeholders and define how you can best contribute to the performance of the organization.  That makes it a social contracting exercise an will strengthen collaboration, developing shared purpose, an ethic of contribution and sense of belonging.

Job crafting can bring several benefits to your organization :

  • Professionals will develop an accrued sense of ownership for their job and role in the organization
  • More powerful linkage between internal customers and suppliers (better knowledge of their needs, better understanding of impact on each other, etc…)
  • Accrued focus on ‘contributing to overall performance of the organization’ rather than focusing on ‘my tasks or my objectives’
  • Increased engagement and job-satisfaction
  • Better performance and collaboration (through a better fit of each other’s activities and roles)
  • Improved ‘work – life’ balance

Read more on the impact of Job Crafting

Why would you do that ?

Stress, burnout, absenteeism, turnover etc… can not just be blamed on ‘high job demands’.  Research shows us that challenging job demands in combination with autonomy and self-regulation to the contrary trigger engagement, job-satisfaction and form a guarantee for sustainable employability.  We also know that challenging job demands in combination with structural and social support such as autonomy, feedback, coaching, constructive collaboration, trust,  etc… lead to employee engagement and job satisfaction. (Self Determination TheoryKarasekBakkerDemerouti, Schaufeli and others).  Job Crafting helps in that respect, because it places the job-holder in the drivers’ seat :

  • Enlarge or Enrich my job to create challenges so can really do what I’m good at, use my expertise, experience, talent and energy to contribute to the success of ‘My Club’.
  • Agree with my internal customers/colleagues on how I can add value in working with them and shape what I do and how I do it accordingly.  Making a difference is making me happy.
  • Organize all by myself the support I need : join a Community of Practice or Intervision Group, get coaching or mentoring support, extra training on certain issues, get involved with the work of other teams, etc…

It’s a huge misunderstanding that through Job Crafting you can ‘do what you like’.  That is not what it is about.  It is about trusting professionals that they can, in collaboration with their internal customers and stakeholders, decide on how can best fill in their role and what priorities to pursue.  They are best placed to find out how to contribute best to the organization.  There is no conflict of interest between ‘performing well’ and ‘feel good and enthused’, or between the organization and the individual. Healthy work, sustainable employability and sustainable organizational performance go hand in hand.  You need an engaged and enthused professional to produce the innovation you need for performance in a VUCA world.

Job Crafting is impacting on an individual, team and organizational level :

When to use it ?

Job crafting can be used in different situations as a useful instrument for learning, engaging, developing ownership, wellbeing and organizational performance.

  • As a part of a re-engineered performance management process much more in line with a learning organization.
  • Job-crafting exercises can be easily build in in function talks, coaching discussions with the supervisor, etc…
  • Job Crafting can help older employees and managers keep their job ‘doable’, create new ambitions and learning opportunities and make sure people keep a positive perspective on ‘working in the organization’.
  • Generally it can be used to optimize the contribution of every single employee and manager in the organization
  • It helps to keep your jobs fresh, new, spontaneous and challenging
  • As part of ‘Health & Safety’ policies in the prevention of stress, burn-out, absenteeism due to illness, etc…
  • As part of a team exercise focusing on Life Long Learning
  • As an instrument to improve collaboration between teams or departments (social contracting)
  • To allow people to include the use of all their talents in what they do for the organization (I am the president of the local soccer team.  How can I use my organization talent in my role in the organization ?)
  • It is also an instrument for organizational development (opens discussion on structures, culture, workplace and job-design, collaboration, shared purpose, …)
  • To help ‘support services’ shape their activities in line with ‘internal customer needs’
  • As an alternative for a ‘top – down’ organizational change process.  The job crafting exercise can be a search for a different way of working and working together.


  • Job crafting is NOT an individual exercise.  It’s important to position it as a social contracting exercise where colleagues think together about how to reshape work and working relationships between internal customers and suppliers.
  • Asking people to rethink their role and contribution in the organization is only useful when there is a reasonable strong ‘shared purpose’ among people in the organization.  You can work on that with a co-creative process, or you could integrate job crafting in a co-creative process that is in search of a shared purpose and helps craft all the jobs during the same exercise (including job crafting and social contracting).
  •  When you use job crafting, it is best to review the whole performance management process.  Job crafting only works when people really get autonomy, and are in controle of things.  So the whole of the PM process needs to be coherent.  You cannot ‘switch on and off’ the autonomy button.  The whole PM process needs to be build up out of trust, with the intention to develop autonomy, self-regulation and talent deployment.
  • Job Crafting has an important role to play in keeping ‘work doable’ in a time we will work longer and we will have to adapt work to the limitations AND the opportunities an older workforce is offering.  Job Crafting gives older professionals a ‘longer time perspective’ which encourages them to learn and develop further.  In that way, older people are not so much looking for ‘less challenging work’ (task demands do not have to be lowered) but are looking for more and new challenges.  That is possible, provided that they can do that in a context of autonomy and self-regulation and when they experience the structural and social support of their organization. (which is now often not the case because their age is more often seen as a problem then an opportunity).
  • Job crafting in it self is an act of ‘autonomie’ and will only work if the organization culture and architecture as a whole embraces participation, autonomy and individual initiative.  In that respect Job crafting can be an important lever for ‘autonomous motivation’ as described in the Self-Determination-theory.
  • Although of course the HR department can support the organization to use job crafting, create some supporting tools and they can help to bring it in line with the other HR policies, but it is important not to ‘roll it out’ as a ‘top down’ process, because then the feeling occurs that ‘others craft my job’ and it is contrary to the message or autonomy and self-regulation that is so key to jobcrafting.  HR could though do some process facilitation in the ‘social contracting’ part of setting up job crafting exercises.

These links help you check-out how Job Crafting could be useful for you  :

  1. Clement Leemans, (2014)., Jobcrafting.  How can it enhance organizational performance.  Talent Management Excellence Essentials.  Vol 2, N°12.
  2. Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin M. Berg, & Jane E. Dutton., (2010). Turn the Job you have, into the Job you want. Harvard Business Review.
  3. Paraskevas Petrou, Evangelia Demerouti & Wilmar B. Schaufeli., (2015).  Job Crafting in Changing Organizations: Antecedents and Implications for Exhaustion and Performance. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol. 20, No. 4, 470–480
  4. Maria Tims, Arnold B. Bakker, and Daantje Derks., (2015). Job crafting and job performance: A longitudinal study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 6, 914–928.
  5. Paraskevas Petrou., (2013). Crafting the Change: The Role of Job Crafting and Regulatory Focus in Adaptation to Organizational Change. Doctoral Dissertation University Utrecht.
  6. Maria Tims, Arnold B. Bakker,  Daantje Derks and Willem van Rhenen., (2013). Job Crafting at the Team and Individual Level: Implications for Work Engagement and Performance. Group & Organization Management. 38(4) 427–454.

Check out these videos :

  • Amy Wrzesniewski : On creating meaning in your own work
  • Rob Baker on the power of personalising our work
Rob Baker
Organization Development