Think back to a time when you were doing your best work–when you were killing it and knew it. Can you recall what was motivating you? Chances are, it was something beyond a paycheck. Maybe you truly believed in the purpose of the project or were excited to try something completely new and push boundaries.
The difference is between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is when you’re being driven to do something because of an external reward (a paycheck, approval, etc.). Intrinsic motivation is when you’re driven from the inside out–you want to do the task because you love it or believe in it. And while extrinsic motivation is important (most people won’t work without the promise of a paycheck), intrinsic motivation tends to produce the best results.
And for HR and people leaders who are tasked with getting the most out of their teams, learning how to tap into employees’ inner drivers can be a game-changer.
That’s where job crafting comes in.
Job crafting is the practice of redesigning the job you have to turn it into the job you want. It’s picking and choosing the parts of your job that resonate with you most deeply, and putting as much focus there as you can. Frequently used to combat burnout at work, it gives people a sense of control over how they spend their time and helps them reconnect with the why behind their jobs.
When people reconnect with their why, it’s a boon for them, and for the company. It drives productivity, energy, and engagement. And high employee engagement has been shown to reduce absenteeism by 41%, reduce turnover by 59%, and increase profitability by 21%.
Since job crafting is about tapping into intrinsic motivations, it’s not something a manager or HR department can do for their employees. But, they can encourage job crafting within their organizations. Here’s how.
The #1 thing a company can do to encourage employees to job craft is to create an authentic, purpose-driven company culture that rewards growth and personal development. This means infusing those values into the company’s DNA. From onboarding materials to performance reviews, encourage people to connect to a deeper purpose than the tasks on their to-do lists.
Ask questions about what people want out of their jobs. Provide stretch opportunities that get people out of their comfort zone and trying new things with different people. Managers can really step into their role as coaches during one-on-one conversations, helping people identify their strengths and passions and guiding them to tasks that best suit them.
In general, people aren’t always the best at objectively assessing their own abilities and strengths. Well-designed assessment tools, like Gallup CliftonStrengths and VIA Character Strengths, can help identify strengths backed by science. Using these types of tools in your organization, during reviews or not, makes it easier for you to see where your employees flourish and uncover potential opportunities for development.
Some organizations take things a step further and make job crafting a more formal team activity. This involves identifying the team’s unique, strategic contributions to the company and the strengths and aspirations of the team members, and then collectively distributing the tasks based on the insights gained.
Team job crafting alleviates at least one big concern leaders have about the job-crafting trend. While some managers worry that job crafting will leave them with a bucket of tasks no one wants to do, making it a team activity lays all the tasks on the table and invites the team to take ownership of the deliverables. Giving them agency, even over figuring out who is responsible for the most mundane tasks, improves engagement and collaboration within the group.
It also reinforces the company’s value of transparency growth as a whole.
Encouraging your team members to craft their jobs into their dream jobs is a win-win. Employees reconnect with what motivates them and feel a deeper sense of pride, ownership, and purpose in their work. And companies reap the benefits of heightened productivity, employee engagement, and loyalty.