Redesign your job to boost creativity

Job crafting is the process of employees redesigning their jobs to better suit their strengths and interests, which could lead to boosting their happiness and creativity at work

Photo: iStockphoto.
Photo: iStockphoto.

Even before you join a company, your role and responsibilities are laid out. And it is managers who always have the final word on what your responsibilities are. But imagine if you could decide how you want to do your job?

Researchers led by Justin Berg, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, have proposed a concept called “job crafting”, which is the process of employees redesigning their own jobs to better suit their strengths and interests, which could lead to boosting their happiness and creativity at work.

“It’s very difficult for a company to stay innovative if everyone’s job stays the same. We are creatures of habit, and organizations tend to be bureaucracies that impose order and consistency,” says Berg.

Most often, employees find themselves stuck in a rut, and the researchers suggest a Job Crafting Exercise that looks at your job as a flexible set of building blocks, rather than a fixed list of duties.

“This helps you identify creative ways to redesign your job to benefit you and those around you,” says Berg, adding that sustaining creativity and innovation over a long period of time is the most uphill task for a company.

The researchers say jobs can be crafted in three different ways— task crafting where you look at retooling the activities involved in the job; relational crafting is about revamping your interactions with others; and cognitive crafting is about reframing how you view your tasks and relationships.

“We find that people get the best results when they use all three forms together,” says Berg.

The authors say that crafting jobs is most effectively done when the entire team does it together with the manager’s support. It is the best way to communicate these changes to others in the team including the manager, because it gives it a more concrete and visual way to talk about the changes you want to make, they add.

The researchers tested the effects of the Job Crafting Exercise in an experiment at Google and found that those who participated were significantly happier and more effective in their jobs six weeks later, based on ratings from their peers and managers.

However, the authors warn that although job crafting may be good for an employee, there can be instances when it is not beneficial to the company.

But Berg also adds that, in general, job crafting is a good exercise for both the employee and the company.

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