Named after everyone’s favourite Swedish furniture brand, the IKEA effect is a phenomenon that describes how when we create something ourselves, we tend to value it more. And it turns out that when that “something” we’re creating is our work and our job, we tend to value that more, too.
Host of the Women in Research 'Small wins' webinar series, Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow and Director of the Centre for Transformative Work Design Professor Sharon Parker shares the research evidence around this important process of job crafting and how it makes a difference to our sense of meaning, satisfaction, and motivation.
Sharon was graciously joined by ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Sara Dolnicar, who shared her most practical job crafting tips to build a meaningful and satisfying career that you can remain passionate and enthusiastic about.
Sharon’s evidence-based strategies to help you craft your own job:
When people feel in control of the work they do, it’s easier to stay both committed and fulfilled. Taking control by way of job crafting involves identifying the ways in which you can shape your job to better align with your strengths, preferences, and goals. This is a self-initiated and proactive process which research has shown to generate a greater sense of meaning, higher motivation, and greater satisfaction.
Cognitive crafting: Crafting how you think about what you do (your role mindset)
o Envisioning the greater purpose your role serves
o Focusing on how your role facilitates the achievement of your goals
Task crafting: Crafting the commitments and tasks you take on – and don’t take on – as well as the behaviours you engage in to carry out those tasks
o Amplifying and building job demands that challenge you and give you energy
o Seeking training and development opportunities
o Reduce and reframe hindering job demands that drain you of time and energy
Relationship crafting: Crafting the relationships you have around you as you carry out your role
o Increasing your social resources
o Seeking support from colleagues
SMART crafting: Crafting your job using the SMART Work Design Model
o Stimulating: What can I do enhance my work so that it is varied, interesting, and challenging?
o Mastery: What can I do to better understand the priorities in my work, and what can I learn from the high performers in my field?
o Agency: How can I stretch my zone of influence and take more control of the work I do?
o Relational: What can I do to build, broaden, and deepen the high quality relationships in my daily work?
o Tolerable demands: What additional support can I seek to improve efficiency and ensure the demands of my job are manageable?
And the great news: Crafting can involve taking small steps to make big and positive changes: As little as 12 minutes per week!
Sara’s experience with job crafting to ensure she continues to “love what she does”
Clarify what aspects and tasks of your role can lead to your “best” working day, and your “nightmare” working day. Understand the work that you do – and don’t – enjoy
Evaluate your relationship with time by asking yourself: What can I do to make the most of the time that I have?
o Decide how you spend your time
o Review your scheduling tools and scheduling strategy to maximise your performance
· Then ask yourself: What can I do to create more time?
o Be conscious of how you waste time
o Collaborate with other experts to save time
o Consider imposing boundaries with yourself about when you do and don’t accept more work
Crafting is a constructive solution – avoid destructive solutions that leave you feeling cynical
o Focus on what is within your control, and practice letting go of what you can’t
o Minimise engaging in passive aggressive behaviour
o Kindly avoid energy depleting relationships
Seek a coach, mentor, or a critical friend as a source of support in managing stress, finding clarity, and making the right decisions
Sara emphasises that job crafting is not a “set and forget” exercise. Adopt a reflective practice, and make the decision to craft and recraft your role and tasks every single day.