Work happiness & well-beingLibrary

Job crafting: using personal strengths in the workplace

A boost for job satisfaction and innovation

The world of libraries is changing. In addition to an extensive collection of books, modern libraries also offer a range of activities in the form of workshops and venues. The common thread is their mission: providing social value by contributing to the development of citizens.  


One library noticed that the broadening of their range of activities posed new challenges for employees. Therefore, they had worked intensively with the front office employees to explore and fulfill their new role. A process that was to everyone's satisfaction, as even the annual employee satisfaction survey conveyed. In this survey, the front office employees (e.g. the reception desk, hostesses, etc.) showed a greater appreciation of their work than the back-office employees. 


This sparked the desire to work with colleagues in the back office as well. What is changing in their work? And how can they tackle this innovation, making full use of their strengths and talents?



Adapting work by starting from strengths and talents is what we call job crafting. Research shows that this contributes positively to job satisfaction, involvement and innovation. 



We started our job craft process by drawing up a basic document together with a steering group, laying down the vantage points and ambitions for this program. Immediately, it became clear that the back office is very diverse: from finance to innovation, from marketing to secretarial services. So, we decided to set up one specific track per team. 


Each team was given a separate intake interview. On which basis we designed a tailor-made process, always consisting of 3 meetings and experiments in the workplace in between. In this way, we were able to connect to the specific issues of the team in question. Job crafting was the common thread, but it was always approached differently. In some teams, we started by examining everyone's talents and then looked at how those could be used more on the job. In other cases, we started with a team's work challenge or ambition, and only then proceeded to explore team member's talents.  



Each team and each project had its own dynamics. The tailor-made approach allowed us to play into these differences. As a result, people reported a smoother cooperation within and across the teams, a better understanding of everyone's position in the work process and a more conscious use of each other's talents. The positive and appreciative approach also struck a chord. In order to support the teams to keep this up, we have provided them with tools they can use to shape their own team meetings in an energy-boosting and talent-focused way.