The big quit: How job crafting can help
22 June 2022
One key way to retain and attract staff is to give people greater scope to craft their jobs, say University of Auckland researchers.
With approximately 50,000 New Zealanders predicted to leave the country over the next year, many to pursue overseas work opportunities, University of Auckland academics say job crafting is one concept that can be utilised to increase employee performance, satisfaction and retention.
"Job crafting is a means through which leaders can support employees to shape their jobs so that they are more aligned with their needs and abilities, which then leads to favourable individual and organisational outcomes," says professional teaching fellow Dr Deepika Jindal.
Jindal and fellow academics Peter Boxall, Gordon Cheung and Ann Hutchison have undertaken in-depth research overseas looking at job crafting, satisfaction and performance. Jindal and Boxall have also conducted a study at home in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Their most recent paper exploring job crafting is the first study of its kind to demonstrate the interactive effects of work engagement and autonomy in enhancing job crafting and, as a result, employee performance.
There are people who feel their skills are underutilised who would respond to more motivating work, and managers need to think about how they can help them evolve roles that are more meaningful and fulfilling.
Based on surveys of 320 employees in an Indian manufacturer, it shows that levels of job crafting are highest when both work engagement and autonomy are high. Greater job crafting is then associated with better overall performance in the workplace, says Boxall, a professor in human resource management at the University of Auckland Business School.
“We can't stop the great OE; there's a huge frustration factor built-in and it's like... finally we have the lid off and people want to explore working overseas. However, we can create workplaces where people have high levels of autonomy and engagement and feel supported to craft their jobs in a productive way.
"One key way to retain and attract staff, is to give people greater scope to craft their jobs. There are people who feel their skills are underutilised who would respond to more motivating work, and managers need to think about how they can help them evolve roles that are more meaningful and fulfilling."
There are several dimensions to job crafting, says Jindal, who has been teaching at the Business School since 2014 and works to contribute to the field of human resource management through research, teaching, and practice.
"There's cognitive crafting, task crafting and relational crafting."
Jindal says a person who isn't attributing much meaning to their role can explore different ways of thinking about their job and its purpose.
"You can cognitively craft your job, adding greater meaning and purpose to it."
Task crafting will see an employee, with support from their employer, mould their role to focus more on activities they're interested in.
Meanwhile, relational crafting can see a person shape their relationships with colleagues and other stakeholders in more productive and satisfying ways, says Jindal.
“The pandemic has changed the way in which people work and increased flexibility has proven popular. Now that the borders are open and many people are looking to head overseas, supporting job crafting is one way employers can work to retain staff and enhance their work experience.”
Sophie Boladeras | Media adviser
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