Compliance to best practice, and especially LEAN principles, demand tight control of work practices to secure efficiency. However, sometimes ‘best practice’ may lack specific contextual relevance. This may result in work lacking in meaning, organisations experiencing low employee engagement that adversely impacts performance.
However, researchers1 studying three call centres found that when supervisors support their teams to make informal adjustments to procedures and processes, known as ‘job-crafting’, this resulted in higher employee engagement and team performance. Job-crafting met team needs for control and helped make their work meaningful. Researchers also revealed that job-crafting built connections with other team members and aided collaboration between teams. So, how did job-crafting work in the 3 call centres studied?
The researchers received two surprises:
- call centre teams – notoriously low in control – were capable of complying both with standardised LEAN approaches and job-crafting. For example, after a customer call, during ‘wrap up’ to complete actions and update records, job-crafting allowed individuals and teams to experiment and try new approaches
- team supervisors actively supported individual and team job-crafting. They helped target and set boundaries around tasks and procedures that were available to be job-crafted.
The researchers recommended 5 things that firms should do:
1. Develop supervisor practices to foster team job-crafting
2. Encourage and support supervisors to foster team social and task cohesion
3. Create a climate that encourages experimentation and sharing of new working methods and document them
4. Provide boundaries and develop areas within which team job-crafting can take place and encourage it – talk about it- share it
5. Undertake team training to help teams to think widely about the kind of issues where job-crafting would be suitable.
Call centre supervisors and managers need to recognise the benefits from targeted team based job-crafting.
1 McClelland, G.P., Leach, D.J., Clegg, C.W., McGowan, I. (2014) Collaborative crafting in call centre teams, Journal of Occupational Psychology, 87, 464-486
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We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.
Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:
- Special projects, secondments and assignments
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- Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
- Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
- Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
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