Business Psych Bulletin: Job crafting towards strengths

Business Psych Bulletin: Job crafting towards strengths

The Business Psych Bulletin

TalentClick is thrilled to partner with the Business Psych Bulletin to bring up-to-date content on research in the business psych field and how these new findings can apply to your organization. Learn more about the Business Psych Bulletin here and subscribe to their newsletter for weekly updates.

This month we are looking at how to increase the engagement of your qualified workforce by allowing your workers to shape and customize their jobs, and how this can increase employee retention, wellbeing, and job performance! Take a look:

Job crafting towards strengths and interests in overqualified employees

i. Key Findings

  • Overqualified employees can shape and customize their jobs to better fit themselves through job crafting
  • Job crafting through aligning with one’s personal interests increases an employee’s vitality
  • Job crafting through aligning with one’s personal strengths increases an employee’s vitality and job performance

ii. Summary

With COVID-19 spurring high levels of unemployment around the world, individuals are more likely to take less-than-ideal jobs. These individuals often perceive themselves to be overqualified for their roles, and since overqualification has been linked to a number of negative outcomes, managers and organisations need to do what they can to support these employees. Researchers recognise that individuals can shape and customise their jobs in order to better suit themselves, which is known as job crafting. In this article, there are two strategies of doing so that have been identified: (1) job crafting to better align with one’s personal strengths and (2) job crafting to better align with one’s personal interests. Crafting to align with one’s personal strengths or interests involves self-initiated efforts like adding in more tasks that they are highly competent in or that they like to do. Both forms of job crafting were found to improve one’s subjective vitality, which involves an increase in one’s energy and enthusiasm, relating to employees’ overall wellbeing. However, only job crafting to align with one’s strengths involves an increase in one’s job performance. This relationship was found specifically due to the invested effort, intrinsic motivation, and deep concentration attained when working through one’s strengths.

iii. Theoretical Basis

This study uses the person-job fit theory to explain the way in which an employee who perceives themselves to be overqualified for their job feels discrepancies between their abilities/experiences and their job demands. When the abilities of the individual do not fit with their job demands, a misalignment forms wherein the employee feels deprived due to a lack of challenge, opportunity, and responsibility in their role. When this poor fit occurs, the employee will attempt to manage this by altering undesirable job characteristics. This is when an individual chooses to job craft within their role in order to restore their person-job fit.

iv. Business Applications

This study showcased the ways in which overqualified employees can turn what has been commonly perceived to be a negative into a more positive experience through the proactive approach of job crafting. It is important that managers pay attention to the goals guiding their employees’ specific crafting behaviours so that they can ensure both the employee and the organisation reap the benefits. We know that employees who align their roles to match their strengths benefit both themselves and the organisation. However, employees who align their roles to match their interests only benefit themselves. Therefore, it would be beneficial for all parties involved to help employees turn their interests into strengths. This can be done through development sessions in which employees and their managers consciously choose areas of interest to develop and turn into strengths. This work can be done through allocated time for employees to work on professional development, such as through a 10% time programme*. The learning gained from this protected time will ideally upskill employees and allow for time each week to work on improving skills that are of interest to them and that can become beneficial for their organisation as well.

*For more information on 10% time programmes, see this article.

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