As a society, and in business, people embrace opportunities for the personalisation of products and services. We enjoy, and value, having our own personal style, beliefs and passions reflected in what we do and how we do it.
What is job crafting?
Job crafting is an approach for individuals and teams to actively shape and personalise how they approach their work. Enriching their working experiences through greater and more deliberate use of their strengths, passions and interests. Much in the same way we can personalise our clothes, tins of chocolate or greeting cards online, we can also personalise our jobs. This is known as job crafting. Through employee-led activities, jobs can be adapted and shaped outside of their fundamental structure to align with an employee’s strengths, skills or interests. Roles can be redesigned in terms of our tasks, relationships and thoughts about work. Being able to tailor our job in this way encourages us to find our work meaningful and worthwhile.
Why does job crafting matter?
The impact of job crafting activities can be huge, having a lasting effect on our resilience, engagement and performance in the workplace. Taking more control of our tasks and tapping into our unique strengths and experiences helps us thrive at work, boosting feelings of satisfaction, confidence, happiness, and meaning. And even having a positive impact on our physical health by buffering stress. Not only this, but job crafting stimulates growth and development on both a personal and professional level and has been positively linked with skills and knowledge development, career progression and overall productivity.
Job crafting benefits individuals, teams, and organisations. Research has shown that job crafting is positively associated with engagement, meaning, performance and overall wellbeing as it enables and encourages people to bring their diverse, whole and best selves to work each day.
Job crafting is an approach that encourages individuals to consider how they act, interact and think about their work. And then make changes in recognition of their strengths, values and interests. Job crafting aligns people more clearly with their talents, passions and strengths. It enables employees to redesign aspects of their jobs, and their approach to work, in ways that foster engagement, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving. It leverages and amplifies the diverse people strengths and talents within an organisation.
But how do we bring the personal touch to a work environment that operates with hundreds of employees that need to adhere to regulatory and security requirements, exacting processes and rigorous performance metrics such as the contact centre?
5 ways to job craft in the contact centre
Why is it that only 38% of people that work in contact centres are extremely satisfied with their jobs? 
One potential reason is that people feel negatively constrained and constricted rather than positively energised and engaged by their jobs.
Rather than expecting team leaders and managers to design and create ways of working that better suits their teams, one novel solution is to invite individuals and teams to improve their job(s) themselves.
Whilst at first many leaders may think it is at best undesirable and at worst impossible for contact centre teams to shape their own jobs, this is not the case.
Both research and our experience has demonstrated that if contact centre teams are given guiding principles in ways that they can personalise their jobs then they do this in positive and sustainable ways, which benefits themselves, their colleagues and their customers too.
The academic term for personalising work is job crafting. Job crafting involves redesigning our role in regard to tasks, relationships and the way we view our work. Tailoring our job can inspire us to find value in our work, giving us a sense of meaning and worth in the workplace.
A recent survey by McKinsey uncovered that engaged and satisfied contact centre employees are 3.3 times more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues . Therefore, engaged and happy employees mean overall greater business success and better wellbeing for all involved.
There are five main ways that people tend to craft their jobs; task crafting, skill crafting, relationship crafting, purpose crafting and wellbeing crafting.
Task crafting – Contact centres can be very busy, high-pressured environments. Therefore, prioritising tasks like organising customer records, files and documents may fall to the bottom of the to do list. Research has shown that mess and clutter can influence our emotions negatively, such as increasing levels of stress and anxiety . A colleague who invests 5 minutes of their day to tidy up customer records is a great example of task crafting. This short task will create a strength of accuracy and order, allowing the individual to feel more organised, motivated and may help increase mental wellbeing at work.
Skill crafting – Fixed elements with contact centres such as answering call after call may become consuming. Developing a new skill such as learning to use technology to improve how you do your job is an example.
Purpose crafting – How you view your role and your purpose is essential in order to feel valued. Small things like keeping a daily diary and writing how you have contributed to your company’s success. Or a customer you helped will help fulfil your sense of purpose and allow you to enjoy work more.
Relationship crafting – Relationship crafting involves boosting our relationships and connections with colleagues and customers. So, this could involve spending time informally connecting and catching up with colleagues, having team lunches or spending a little more time with a customer who you feel would value it the most.
Wellbeing crafting – It is imperative we are boosting our physical and mental wellbeing through the work that we do. Contact centres can be extremely stressful at times. Small adjustments like ensuring regular breaks are taken during the day to stretch or grabbing a cup of tea can make a huge difference. Alternatively, rather than sitting at your desk for a 1:1 meeting, why not go for a virtual walk with your client or colleague. This will help to increase physical activity, connectivity and overall wellbeing.
These are just some of the small changes that you can make in order to improve wellbeing, happiness and enjoyment at work. Setting small goals and objectives are more achievable and can lead to even bigger changes.
5 top tips to job crafting
Here are some top tips in order to job craft and bring the personal touch to the workplace.
Encourage conversations about what people love and loathe about their job and why? How can they make small improvements? This boosts task crafting.
Finish the week identifying new skills that you have learnt and what you would like to learn next week? This boosts skill crafting.
On a daily or weekly basis identify a customer you helped the most and how did that make you feel? This boosts purpose crafting.
Take 5-10 minutes every day to complete a task that is bothering you. Whether that’s a chat with a colleague you have some tension with or tidying your notes. This can boost all aspects of job crafting.
Express gratitude. In uncertain times, now more than ever is the time to appreciate our jobs and the colleagues who support us. Ask your colleagues to write down 3 positive things or connections that they’ve had with colleagues or customers this week. This boosts wellbeing crafting.
So, what will you do today to assist personal and professional stimulation and development in the workplace?
To discover more practices to help you flourish at work, see Rob Baker’s book Personalization at Work, which offers a greater insight into how to bring job crafting to life in the workplace.
About our guest blogger
Rob Baker, FCIPD, MAPP is Founder of leading evidence-based positive psychology, wellbeing and HR consultancy Tailored Thinking. With a First Class Masters in Applied Positive Psychology he applies science to help organisations reach their highest level of potential. Working with leaders to bring the best out of their staff through education and the design and delivery of key activities and core strategy. In different roles he has commissioned, delivered and designed organisational wide transformation initiatives, fully understanding the importance of embedding change which goes beyond structures and is supported by sustained behaviour change.