What do Scott Shute, Head of Mindfulness and Compassion programs at Linkedin; David Shing, Digital Prophet at Verizon Media; and Dona Sarkar, Head of Insiders Program at Microsoft have in common?
They all do totally different jobs than the ones they were hired for in the first place, and made internal moves at their organizations to get promoted to their dream positions. Their opportunities began with the desire and ability to reach out of their scope, try new things, and share what they learned.
Scott Shute (who started as VP of Global Customer Operations at Linkedin) started creating meditation and mindfulness programs for his peers after CEO Jeff Weiner introduced compassionate leadership as a key company value. Shute found new ways to have a positive impact on his coworkers’ daily lives and at last felt like he could bring his whole self to work.
As more employees began participating in his programs, Schute started spending more time organizing them, and was able to transition from operations in to his new role. His benevolent act of sharing decades of practice opened a new career path.
How job crafting nurtures engagement and resilience
Job crafting is all the rage, but it isn’t always easy.
It involves task, relationship, and cognitive crafting (sometimes without the knowledge of management)—at times even breaking the rules of current job descriptions. As risky as it sounds, studies show that empowering your employees to transition to new careers fosters not only their sense of fulfillment and personal growth, but engagement, employee satisfaction, and resilience as well.
Just take it from Yale psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski.
Train them today so they can reinvent your organization tomorrow
We live in a rapidly-changing world—some of the world’s most iconic brands drop off the charts almost weekly. Innosight projects that at the current churn rate, roughly half of the companies on the S&P 500 list will be removed within the next 10 years.
Household names such as Kodak, Sprint, Dell, and the New York Times were among the brands kicked off the list in the last few years, replaced by Facebook, Paypal, Under Armour, and Netflix.
Since you don’t know what the future has in store for your company, you must rely on the most adaptable asset you have: your people. And by adaptable, I don’t mean disposable: you can’t fire and hire your way to growth. The only option lies in upskilling and reskilling.
The gap between the skills desired by hiring managers and the skills available in the job market is growing, and will only continue to widen as technology advances. The approximate half-life of learned skills is only five years, but will continue to decrease as careers enter a real-time-all-the-time when it comes to learning. As a matter of fact, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet.
You can’t hire for tomorrow’s challenges, but you can definitely train for them. If you want to keep growing, you’ll have to empower your staff to create their dream job inside your company. In order to do so, you’ll have to train them to craft their next jobs suited to your needs and their interests.
The way we think about “job” has to evolve. A job should be a “flexible set of building blocks” instead of a fixed set of duties and tasks. It opens so many opportunities for both organizations and people.
Scaling your company is actually a matter of scaling empowerment as friction-free as possible. It’s often in the midst of their everyday work that your staff members will uncover their deeper, more resonant vocations. Numbers show that without employee development, employee experience fails, and employees leave.
Business impacts of staff empowerment
Elevate the top line. Nontraditional times call for nontraditional measures. Allowing your staff to come up with new solutions. It will increase the number of innovations they pursue and adopt, leading to new production services released in established and new markets.
Breed talent. The war for talent has just started. Dream jobs do exist, but they often appear after months or years learning the ropes in an organization. Instead of losing top performers to competitors, breed them in your own talent management program so they can keep bringing their best skills to your project.
Outsmart your competition. Job crafters see your organization’s blind spots and leverage them to invent new positions. You’ll gain a competitive advantage by allowing forward-thinking employees to optimize your products, processes, and strategies.
Grow the bottom line. Engaged, passionate, and resilient employees perform better. Gain efficiency while keeping expenses and operating costs under control.
How to encourage meaningful job crafting in your company
Promote autonomy amongst your employees and encourage them to build developmental plans based on the skills they want to acquire. You’ll need to communicate strategic goals in a way that involves employees so they know how they can contribute to your organization’s success. How do you do that? Follow these tips:
Nurture a continuous learning mindset. Facilitate self-directed learning through personalization and increase adaptability with on-demand and on-the-job employee training programs and change management.
Provide opportunities to learn new things. Increase personal mastery by enrolling coaches and mentors to help employees learn, then align learning to career paths at your organization to increase professional development.
Implement a “dreamers get things done” culture. Increase employee commitment to innovation by implementing next-gen engagement tools and providing them with resources and time dedicated to experiments.
Provide the tools required to learn, share and collaborate. Create a knowledge‐sharing network, process and culture, thus creating a collaborative work environment and increasing organizational knowledge.
TIP: Not sure where to start when it comes to knowledge management? Software is key. Browse user-reviewed options on G2.
Job crafting examples: how Amazon and Boeing invest in career development
Top companies are investing billions in education opportunities and training programs to allow workers to pursue their aspirations.
At companies like Linkedin, Verizon, or Microsoft, job crafting goes beyond happiness at work. Employee development, especially empowering your staff to create their dream jobs, means business development too.
Amazon and Boeing have implemented this kind of mutually beneficial strategy as well. Here's how it manifests at each company:
Through its Career Choice program, Amazon has paid for tuition and fees of some 10,000 workers in pursuit of careers in the most in-demand fields. The program includes on-site classes held in the company’s facilities.
Amazon offers to pre-pay 95% of the cost of courses on a wide range of subjects from aircraft mechanics to nursing. In July 2019, Amazon went even further and announced a $700-million investment to jumpstart upskilling. The goal of the program is to help employees create more opportunities for themselves in an economy that makes it difficult to do so.
Reskilling initiatives that aim to change the still sets of employees are becoming increasingly popular. With its Learning Together Program, Boeing has invested more than $1 billion in employees’ college tuition, books, and fees regardless of what stage they are at in their career, after just one year of company service.
Boeing leadership knows that investing in employee career growth opportunities pays off, because a company is only as creative, talented, and innovative as its employees are. Investing in the development of employee skills, knowledge, and ideas leads to strength and success for the company.
Train them or lose them
As a leader, your job is to clear the paths for vocations to emerge, while preserving a healthy goal-oriented approach to job crafting. Foster your people’s most promising skills to benefit your growth and theirs.
The question should not be “Why should you empower your staff to create their dream job within your company?” But rather, “Why should you let your valuable staff leave out of frustration?”
Help your employees craft their dream jobs within your company by providing them with unmatched career development tools. Find everything you need and more on G2's Career Hub knowledge center – all for free.
Julia Osseland is a Content Marketing Manager at 360Learning, the only Learning Suite that allows teams to easily create, share and optimize training programs. She revels in the inconsistency of being a tech junkie and a Shakespeare geek.