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Job Crafting for Peak Performance and Satisfaction - Rob Baker (Chief Positive Deviant) - Self-Help E116

Job Crafting for Peak Performance and Satisfaction - Rob Baker (Chief Positive Deviant) - Self-Help E116

Rob Baker (Tailored Thinking)

We explore the concept of "job crafting," where individuals reshape their roles to align with their strengths and passions, ultimately boosting job satisfaction and performance with Rob Baker.

Key topics include:

👉🏽 Where did job crafting first originate

👉🏽 Research studies highlighting the benefits of job crafting

👉🏽 Practical advice for managers looking to introduce job crafting into their teams


Rob Baker

Rob is a specialist in bringing positive psychology to life within organisations. He is the founder and Chief Positive Deviant of Tailored Thinking, a pioneering and award-winning, evidence-based positive psychology, wellbeing and HR consultancy.

Rob was named #8 Most Influential Thinker by HR Magazine in 2023, is a TEDX speaker, author of Personalization at Work and Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and the Australian HR Institute. He has written for the likes of Harvard Business Review and Work magazine and is world-leading when it comes to enabling and encouraging job crafting and personalised people experience. His work, ideas and research has been presented at academic and professional conferences around the globe.

Video: TEDX - The Power of Personalization

Book: Personalization at Work

Resources: Job Crafting Resources and Activities

⚡️ In each episode, Paddy Dhanda deep dives into a new human Superpower and gives practical advice on how you can apply it immediately.

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[00:01:00] Paddy Dhanda: Dear friend, thank you for joining me for another episode of the superpower school podcast I'm your host paddy danda and on today's show. I have a very special guest somebody I met at a recent conference Who did an amazing keynote speech and I just had to get him along on the podcast today He is the founder and chief positive deviant at tailored thinking Tailored thinking is an evidence based positive psychology Wellbeing and HR consultancy.

Welcome to the show Rob Baker. Hey Rob, how you doing?

[00:01:34] Rob Baker: Hey, thanks so much for the warm introduction. It's great to be

[00:01:36] Paddy Dhanda: Rob, I actually did that introduction without making any mistakes, and you're one of my only guests out of my hundred or so, where I've managed that, so I feel like I'm doing a good job so far.

[00:01:49] Rob Baker: I was very impressed and also it's good to keep these things simple, right? So as well, so that,

[00:01:52] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah, and I was going to say, your job title sounds very intriguing. Could you just explain that a little bit for us? And the whole story behind Tailored Thinking, like, how did you come up with that name?

[00:02:05] Rob Baker: So my job title is chief positive deviant and founder of Taylor thinking. So as you described, Taylor thinking HR consultants. And we bring. Ideas from science to practice within organizations, but it's one thing knowing that something's a good idea, it's a very different thing about actually practically applying that within workplaces.

So that's our kind of a sweet spot. And that's what we do. And we kind of describe ourselves as being a force for good in the world of world of work. So just trying to you. Make a positive difference in terms of what we do and the reference to positive deviance and chief positive deviance Is that I'm a lot of our thinking is shaped by research around behavioral science and positive psychology Research and there's a subset within positive psychology called positive deviance and positive deviance looks at People or organizations and teams behaving in different and distinct ways and getting different and distinct results, normally positive results.

So the ones that I'm interested in less, so the ones that aren't, they're kind of doing strange things and getting bad results are more interested in doing different things, different approaches and getting different, positive, different results. So that field is called positive positive deviance.

And so I kind of draw from that in terms of the, in terms of my job title. And I find it really interesting when you, when I'm introducing myself to. People and clients with that job title. So some people lean in at that perspective and some people kind of lean out and it tends to be the people who lean in are the ones that I know that I'm going to probably have a connection with, or we're going to have a connection with.

They're going to connect. They're curious about the things we're going to talk about and the ones that are going to leaning out, maybe some of the ideas or the concepts that we try and bring to bear with an organization is maybe not going to work for

[00:03:45] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, I love that. I was doing a talk just yesterday, actually, for a conference in Australia. Not that I flew out there, but it was all done remotely. And I was talking about the power of connection and how do we make small talk, environment where we're networking, for example. And I heard some really good advice.

It's on another podcast by a lady called Rachel Greenwald. And it was all around job titles and things like that. One of the things she's talked about was try not to be a data collector in those situations. And what she meant there was don't ask the obvious questions when we meet someone rather than saying, Hey, what do you do?

Or what's your job title? Because that's what everybody asks. Try and make it a little bit more curious and And she said, you know, and if someone does ask you that question Answer it without answering it. I was giving the example where I now say to people I Used to be a professional introvert and now I'm addicted to conversation and I get to play with Lego every day and That just leaves a conversation in the state of curiosity So I love these really interesting job titles that spark that curiosity because it creates a whole conversation around it

[00:04:58] Rob Baker: I'm not sure where I could have came. This came from, but one of the ideas, the links to that is around. I often just ask people to describe their job as if they're explaining it to a five year old. And this was, I think was influenced by my conversations with my son and my daughter.

But when you talk about your job to a five or six, or you don't talk about your job title, the specifics of it, you actually talk about the meaning and the purpose and the substance of what you're doing, because you're trying to communicate within that explanation and often when I'm getting people to connect, I don't get people to talk about their job as a.

In the job title, I say, can you please describe your job as if it was to a five year old, which is linked a little bit to some of those kind of conversations that creates that space for curiosity, I think.

[00:05:36] Paddy Dhanda: I love that and talking about curiosity What superpower would you like to bring to this particular episode?

[00:05:42] Rob Baker: I'd love to bring job crafting as my superpower, please. So, the ability to kind of personalize our work and shape it around ourselves. So that would be my superpower, please.

[00:05:50] Paddy Dhanda: I hadn't come across this term before and it was at the moment when you did your keynote speech that It just all made sense because I was thinking I do bits of this, but it's actually got a name so i'd love to dive into that, in a moment because I think it's really something that A lot of people would be interested in and you're doing some fantastic work in that space.

But before we do that, I want to know who is Rob? How have you navigated along your journey and ended up in this space? Because I'm pretty sure when you were 11 years old, you didn't dream to be a job crafting expert. So I'd love to know how you got into this.

[00:06:33] Rob Baker: And then my 11 year old self wanted to be an outdoor instructor. So that was like outdoor pursuits instructor. My thing or an architect, I think. So definitely chief positive deviant wasn't there.

So my first adventure was in the world of consultancy. So I started life.

And that was looking around yeah, HR particularly. And I was interested in psychology as an undergrad but I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it, but I was curious about people and organizations. And so that was, seemed like a good fit in terms of that. And I love consultancy. I love the opportunity to learn.

From different perspectives. And I think also loved if I'm being frank from an ego perspective, working with a consultancy, you've got to go in and sit with a very senior leadership teams and learn from people in a way that if you work with organizations, you'd never kind of got to see that kind of higher echelon.

So you got, you really got to see the insides of people working at a very kind of senior level very early for me. I didn't realize how lucky I was until afterwards, actually, in terms of that exposure. But I was, as I did all my HR qualifications at PwC, I didn't. Feel that I was a proper HR person because I wasn't doing the, the employee relations stuff, the hiring and firing or the discipline, the result, that kind of stuff, which I felt that if I didn't do that, I couldn't call myself an HR person.

So having worked for PwC for about five years, I then moved to an organization with a joint venture between British Telecom and Wotheringboro Council. So they, Wotheringboro Council were transforming how they. approached HR and I worked with them for a number of years and then found myself working in universities.

So I worked at the University of Sheffield and then was really fortunate to be approached about a role at the University of Melbourne in Australia. And. There I did a number of different roles including some kind of change and transformation kind of pieces and it was at Melbourne that I Was significant for a couple of reasons.

So one was I really enjoyed my job There's great exposure to learn about how kind of universities kind of works in Australia Secondly, my son was born there. So that was significant for us. And then thirdly I came across positive psychology. So Positive psychology was first coined as a term in about 99, 2000 by Martin Seligman and Mikhail Cech Semihai in a paper, and I graduated in 99, so I was too old for kind of it, for to kind of puncture the psychology.

Researcher I was studying and I was googling one day and I found positive psychology And it was like this really spoke to me and I was like, where can I study? Where can I do more and it just so happened and this is where you could have feel very lucky in these situations is that there'd been a philanthropic donation to the Melbourne University to set up a center a world leading center of positive psychology and they just launched this center at the university where I was working.

And they're just advertising kind of master's program. So I got to do a part time master's in the first kind of cohort there. Whilst working at the university, so it's two miles away from my house. So it kind of manifested itself two miles from my, from where I was living. And I just loved it in terms of the resonance and the relevance of the ideas.

And I realized, and this will come into our conversation later on, how much though, that we, we could see from positive psychology, which is all around optimum functioning and flourishing in different realms of life. So that's work or at home or in education, in different settings. And I was interested from a work perspective specifically.

And there was lots of research showing that this seems to work in terms of, for, to enable people to thrive and be resilient and could perform well within workplaces. And this is kind of like what we were doing. And I was culpable for this, right? As well. I knew that there was a gap between a no do gap in a kind of HR practice and organizational practice.

And I was just curious about what we could do differently to kind of bridge that gap. And so that was the seed of doing something differently. And when we came back to the UK, rather than go back to. The senior HR role, I thought, right, I'm going to have another adventure here and go back to my consultancy routes and see what I can do to bring this knowledge and ideas to practice within organizations.

And that was six years ago. So that's where kind of Taylor thinking come from. So that kind of, and that's, there's lots of happened in the last six years, but that kind of quickly kind of gets us to, to where we are

 I love that because when I often ask that question to guests, it's amazing. The journey it's almost like this spaghetti journey that we go on and things happen, like you say, just so happened you were in that university and they were setting up this program. A lot of it can be by chance. And I think.

[00:11:04] Paddy Dhanda: It's sometimes the fact that we're starting to connect with people around us and we're curious and we just don't know what conversations are going to lead to what thing. And sometimes someone inspires us in a five minute conversation. Just like your talk, I'm sure there were lots of people there that really reflected on that and were thinking.

Wow. I'm going to take this back to work. I'm going to try this out. I'm going to try something different. And that might lead them to take a further, deeper dive into this subject as well.

[00:11:36] Rob Baker: That's a lovely reflection. And just add to that a little bit. I think a lot of things when you see the opportunities is around having, being open to those possibilities when they when they present themselves. So I think if you have a door ajar, sometimes you think you're curious about a few things.

You then see that door open to you when you're in the right space to kind of, to walk through it effectively. Whereas if you don't ever have the time or the opportunities to think ahead about the kind of things you might be curious about doing in the future, it's harder to spot those doors or those opportunities when they kind of present, when they present themselves.

So I think there's something around having an idea of the kind of doors you want to kind of open up in terms of. you know, from ideas or from a work perspective or from a home perspective, because you'll probably see more of those kind of doors ajar because you're kind of looking to spot them, if that makes sense.

You're primed to kind of spot those opportunities.

[00:12:25] Paddy Dhanda: For anyone who's thinking, what is this job crafting thing? It sounds really fascinating, but I have no idea what it is. Could you explain it to us? And

[00:12:36] Rob Baker: Sure. So job crafting in a nutshell describes making changes to our job. So it's around crafting our job, is around customizing or tailoring our job, around our strengths, our passions, our interests. And we tend to craft our jobs in a number of different ways. So it's around how we act at work. So our tasks and activities, how we run meetings, how we Process our emails or do we do any elements of our job is also about how we interact.

So is our relationships with other people. So in terms of how we connect with others, how we spend our time with other people, and that could be our colleagues that could be our customers. That could be. Service providers, so anyone you could have come into contact with, through your job.

And then lastly, it's about how we think about the purpose and the meaning of our job. So our mentally, in terms of our perceptions of our job and what we see from a research perspective is that the, when people feel that there is a good fit or connection between their work and themselves, they tend to.

Have lots of positive outcomes for themselves and for their colleagues. So they tend to perform better. They tend to be more motivated. They tend to be more resilient. They tend to want to stay within that job and not necessarily give it up. So job crafting is all around crafting and customizing our jobs in small ways to make it a better fit for you as an individual.

[00:13:53] Paddy Dhanda: Would a boss or a manager not have objection to that to say, why are you doing all of this other stuff when actually we're paying you for this? Is that a question that you hear at all?

[00:14:06] Rob Baker: All the time. And you jump straight to it. So I love the, I love it, Paddy, that you're going to jump straight to this kind of the challenge. I think one of the biggest barriers to job crafting is the sense of suspicion that if we give people permission to do things differently, they're going to run away with it.

So in terms of they're going to take this and use it in negative ways. There's a couple of things that I would kind of, when I'm working with leaders or introducing this to organizations, I say a couple of facts around this, one, there's lots of evidence that shows that when you encourage people to do this in positive.

Ways that people do this in proactive ways that serve themselves and their colleagues. So that's one. The evidence is there to show that doesn't happen. People don't run around and set fire to their job descriptions or their role profiles, right? It's around making small changes to their job.

The second. Is that people do this anyway, right? So that if you're a manager or leader but don't think that anyone is kind of customizing or shaping their job in any respect. Then you're a bit, I'd say you're delusional effectively. You don't know your colleagues in terms of this, but they tend to, people tend to do this in secret.

Like they don't tell other people about it. They just do it anyway. And what we find is that when we do this more openly, we can amplify this effect so that actually it benefits lots of people in lots of different ways. So that's the other kind of, that's another kind of aspect in terms of it's happening anyway.

Surely it's better to do it more openly with you seeing what's happening rather than it happening in ways that you don't necessarily see. crafting enables people to perform better. So if you are a manager or leader who is interested in performance, and most people kind of are, personalization and performance go hand in hand, right?

So if you think about any element of our lives, kind of a home life or sport or kind of work, when we feel there's a good connection or fit between. The work that we do in ourselves, we tend to perform better. So if you are an organization looking for a performance advantage, job crafting is definitely there for you.

So I think the suspicion like absolutely is there. And I think it's one of the reasons that job crafting hasn't jumped into the mainstream kind of consciousness a little bit in terms of awareness, because there isn't this kind of suspicion, but actually. I think you can knock down pretty much any and every argument about it in terms of the in terms of people's Skepticism or concern about it.

[00:16:16] Paddy Dhanda: Because I mean, I hear a lot of people talk about work life balance and, you know, having that balance in place to help with, you know, your mental state, mental health and all of those good things. But it feels like there's a. Home thing and a work thing and you've got to separate the two completely. I When I was talking about I think I've been doing this, but not knowing that it was a formal thing. I doodle a lot and I love to incorporate visuals when I'm presenting and things like that. And previous organizations, I probably would have been very shy to do that. Thinking I'm working for this big corporate.

I used to work for Deutsche Bank, a big German global investment bank. If I start doodling on a slide that. Isn't the done thing. And so, like you say, it is almost then a secret thing that you do behind the scenes, but I just remember I ran one of my first ever training courses. At Deutsche Bank and I just started doodling some stuff on the flip chart and people really warmed to that and lots of curious questions came from that and it then became a thing and it became a thing that I thought, well, now I've got to include this and so now even the company I work for today, I am kind of.

I've become a little bit famous for my doodles because anytime I do a presentation to our Salesforce, people will be pinging me on the team's chat saying, Paddy, what doodle do you have for us today? And it's become a thing, but it gets me to actually add my personality to the work. Is that the sort of thing that you would

 Oh, it's amazing. I love that example and i'm going to steal it Like so i'm just going to tell you they were coming up and you know next time i'm talking to an organization So this is all about superpowers, right? So you want to doodling is one of your superpowers and Why wouldn't you want kind of people to use their superpowers within the organization?

[00:18:09] Rob Baker: And I bet you that particularly in those, probably even more so in Deutsche Bank, in terms of the presentations, if you were someone who, who shows up and gives a presentation in a distinct way, using something that was different as a doodle, people remember that like, and some people would love it. And some people would be like, Oh, take it back, but they'll remember it.

I'm sure. And then I love the story that you said now in terms of people. Actually celebrate it and recognize it and actually look forward to that in terms of that's something that's unique and different about You've had in that's the you know, something you can bring to it. So Absolutely, so that could be a form of task crafting.

So task crafting is saying well I do presentations anywhere on flipcharts or whatever and I can use doodling So you're doing that you're doing that task in a slightly different way because you're using your doodles Or it could be a form of purpose crafting. So purpose crafting is around, I think, connecting to things that are meaningful and purposeful for you.

And you're saying, actually I'm an art, like I like art and I'm an artist and I do it in my spare time. Actually, is there a way that I can channel my passion and bring that to life within work? And so that's a way of potentially kind of purpose crafting. So it's bringing more of you. As you know, you know, and crossing that work life divide a little bit in terms of so it's not so So black and white which again, it's not for everyone just be really clear.

That's not for everyone So it's absolutely a fantastic example of crafting and I love the fact that often when people so what we do with individuals Is encourage them to think about what are some experiments they can run? And so it could be previously paddy. We were in deutsche bank. We ran this session.

You're like, oh, maybe I can do But we ask people to do it in small ways to start with. So don't necessarily take big risks with this stuff. Take a small thing, which will take about five minutes a day or an hour a week, and then see what happens. And we tend to find that it, when people do this, they take a leap of faith.

Not only does it benefit them, but it benefits their colleagues too, or the other perspectives. So although you might enjoy, or did it feel better? Did you enjoy kind of like doing it? Is it more fun

[00:20:07] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. Because otherwise, even when you're presenting, you're so fixated on the slides and. After a while, the brain just goes into autopilot and you're just doing slide after slide. I just think just changing things up a bit. I'm not advocating we get rid of PowerPoint, by the way, you know, PowerPoint has its

[00:20:27] Rob Baker: no,

[00:20:28] Paddy Dhanda: The way I think of it is almost, you know, if we think about our attention spans are shrinking. And so I think it's a bit unfair to ask an audience to focus on you for even half an hour, because that's a lot of concentration. Right.

[00:20:43] Rob Baker: and they can't do it. Like, again, like from a science perspective, people's attention spans, like two, three minutes, like everything. So people are not like, again, you're deluding yourself. If you think people are listening to every word you're having for half an hour, like it's not happening. So in terms of people will zone out, they'll zone back in again.

They'll but if you're doing something distinctive and different to like, people are going to be leaning into that stuff. So, so you enjoy it, which I love to hear. And then I, there'll be a positive benefit of you in terms of maybe you did it just for you because you wanted to do it, but actually what you find is that there's a positive benefit to other people because they look forward to it.

Like it brightens their day. Like your sales colleague that you mentioned, like it gives them a bit of light relief, or it could be a way of people connecting an idea up or something. So it's, it will have a benefit beyond yourself. And this is what we find time and time again, when it comes to crafting and personalization is that.

It benefits you as an individual because you're doing something that's kind of special and important to you. But it the impact of that often reverberates beyond the ripple effect is beyond you itself. It's when you use your superpowers, it kind of beams out in different ways that you don't necessarily expect.

[00:21:45] Paddy Dhanda: And you mentioned the research shows that this has a positive impact on the workforce and productivity. Could you give us some examples of that? Cause I'm sure there's people sat at home listening, thinking I'd be really interested to hear the research because if they want to make the case to their employer about some of these concepts, it'd be really useful to know some of that science.

[00:22:08] Rob Baker: So there's lots out there. So the first, Job Crafting was first written about in 2001 by Amy Wineski and Jane Dutton. If you do a Google of Job Crafting Research, you'll find lots. We've got stuff on our website and things as well, and I've written a book about this and stuff. So there's a lot to condense it.

But there's been over 150 peer reviewed papers, academic papers, looking at Job Crafting and the impact and so there's lots of been looked at in lots of different ways, but if we were to summarize the evidence in three themes effectively, so one is showing that when people can personalize their work, they perform better, and that performance perspective has been measured in lots of different ways, so that could be Individuals measurement of self performance.

So it's like me going to, how did you think when you kind of, in your job day to day, do your, how would you rate your performance and people who tend to rate their performance more highly compared with their peers. They also related to people's job crafting behavior. They tend to also, when we separately measure for job crafting, they tend to do some of this element of personalization, but also this performance advantage applies with line management.

So when we look at organizations that have looks at their. Kind of the performance ratings over the year. So the people who've given high levels of performance ratings also tend to show high levels of job crafting. And there's been a couple of studies, which I love around customer service and it shows actually this goes beyond this.

So in terms of, if you look at customer satisfaction with a. with a particular issue or say a sales satisfaction in terms of with the sales person that they're working with. If you separately then measure those sales, people's or those customer service, people's measures of job crafting, they tend to be correlated so that people tend to personalize their work, tend to give a better service to other people.

So that's the kind of performance is measured in three different ways. And it's really robust kind of measurement. It makes sense, right? When we. If we feel that we're able to do ourselves use our superpowers use our strengths then we tend to perform I think it's it makes sense like in but it's the research backs it up.

So that's the kind of performance aspect when it comes to Looking at wellbeing, we tend to find that there's a relationship between job crafting and happiness and engagement of work and just feeling kind of a positive mood. So again, people who tend to report higher in terms of the positive mood and motivation tend to report higher on job crafting scales as well.

But also I think this is interesting is that people tend to be more resilient as well. So in terms of actually they're able to deal with challenges. better than those that maybe don't feel they can job craft. And I think the most, most compelling explanation for this is people feel more control of their work.

They're in the driving seat of what they're doing. And if you feel more in control, you feel you're better able to kind of deal with what's. what's kind of happening.

And then lastly, around career growth and satisfaction. So if you look at people's career mobility, some measurements of people who've got their careers, and so they're very happy with their careers at different stages. They tend to again correlate with job crafting. So these people have tended to kind of crafted their careers effectively in terms of those, and it's also related to career mobility as well.

And I think this is an interesting point. So people who have got more mobility, those who have progressed kind of higher within organizations tend to report high levels of job crafting behavior. I think there's an interesting bit. If you dig into that, more men tend to graft openly than females, like in terms of this perspective.

But actually in terms of the research perspective, more women job crafting than men, but they tend to not do it openly. And I think this is what comes back to this invisibility bit is that although we know it helps for kind of career mobility, people are more likely to kind of overtly say if you're a man, cause you've got more power, potentially more confidence.

That's a simple, that's my explanation for it. You're more likely to say, yeah, I craft my job. This is something that I do. Women tend not to do it as openly and also people from different backgrounds and kind of different ethnicities and different kind of genders they tend not to necessarily to report doing as much job crafting as others.

And I see this for me, a personal agenda. Is that we should be encouraging and enabling everyone to kind of craft so that everyone can have the positive benefits of it rather than just allowing the kind of a few people to do it because of their background or their experiences and their makeup or their, the color of their skin or their gender or whatever, like whatever that will be within that context.

[00:26:17] Paddy Dhanda: And so Rob, if I'm a leader or a manager and I want to bring more of this thinking into my team, do you have any advice for those folks in terms of how they might start to have those conversations with their teams? I mean, would they go as far as almost advocating an objective or two in their annual performance

review or not?

[00:26:43] Rob Baker: So, I think we don't have to get to that point. And some organizations we work with who try and embed job crafting in a really high quality way, they've been, they've actually, as part of their check in conversations is around, they actually encourage a different job crafting conversations every quarter.

So you might talk about your task one quarter, your relationships, another quarter, your skills, the next quarter. So they actively do, they systematize it effectively. But I think if you're a manager, a really good, there's a couple of things that I'd recommend. So one, just a very simple thing in terms of a one to one was if I was to you, Paddy is saying, right, Paddy if I challenge you to make your job 1 percent better, what do you think you could do?

And what could I do to help you? That's the starting point. What could you do? And I think deliberately use 1%. So it's not like everything, but like, let's, what are the small low hanging fruit that we could do to get better? So that's one like thing, one, what can I do to help?

That's a really useful starting point. From a team perspective, a really great activity, and you can do this individually as well, is something we call love and loathe activity. So what you do here, if you imagine. A graph that goes from minus 10 to plus 10 on the X axis and on the Y axis of time, effectively.

So how much time you're spending. And you might think about that time as being the week, potentially, kind of like 35 hours or something. And then you think about what are the key activities that you do in your job and you might like, so pick 10 and you might be going, Rob, like I've got thousands of activities.

I get it. But like, just start somewhere, start 10 to 15 things. And think about where do they plot on this grid of time and energy. So is it, if you spend a lot of time in meetings, actually, are they an energy, are they a meeting sucker? Like, are they actually got really bad meeting culture and they take a lot of energy?

Is it around kind of strategy development and ideas that you love doing? Is it around the chit chat with colleagues that you that you really value that kind of ability to understand things? Is it completing? Did something recently with the marketing team and the crm system updating their kind of their systems Was a drainer for pretty much all of them But they kind of recognized that they needed to do it and we talked about how they could improve it so if you as a team if you could get this kind of you can plot this out on a grid of like What are the different things that people love?

What you might find is that there's some things that people love that other people loathe and there may be an opportunity for people to swap and actually dial things up and dial things down and so we did this with an HR team and someone was saying for example, I hate doing I find it really energy drag doing disciplinary kind of like grievances or those kind of investigation things.

I just find them a time suck as someone said, but I love doing, kind of meeting the customers in terms of understanding their strategy and what they want to do and how we can align with that kind of work with someone else was kind of almost the opposite within the team and saying, I love putting on my Sherlock Holmes, Dear Stalker, you know, like kind of getting into an investigation and they just love that kind of, that, that analytical kind of thinking and previously the team for the best reasons.

Had just evenly distributed these tasks because they wanted to be fair So they said right we need have a certain amount of caseloads. We've got a certain amount of clients or organizations we need to kind of connect with to help about their strategy. So we're just going to evenly distribute it. So we're being fair to everyone.

And actually they were being unfair to people, I'd argue, because they were actually putting everyone in a box and not allowing anyone to kind of align to their superpowers or to their strengths. And so having had this conversation of saying, okay, well, why don't we just do it? So that I think it was Samantha does more of these disciplinary cases.

And. And Kate does more of the kind of the strategy stuff and doesn't, Kate doesn't stop doing it all together because it's an important skill that she has. So she needs to do some bits of it, but she doesn't do it all the time. And so that, that love and loathe activity as a leader can be a really helpful way of just getting people to, in a very non threatening way, talk about kind of energy and time and where people are spending it.

[00:30:21] Paddy Dhanda: Rob, thank you for that. Because I do think a lot of people out there are in this situation where it sounds like a great idea, but they just don't know where to start with it. So thank you for those tips. I think they're really useful. Do you have? A template or two that people could use to start to build out their approach to job crafting because I just vaguely remember from your talk, you put up some really useful.

Slides. There was some really great resources that you have. So could you share a little bit more

[00:30:56] Rob Baker: I'm disappointed. You haven't got the tattoo yet. Then the stencil was out there. You haven't got the tattoo to your arms. So. I think what you're referring to is what we find is a way of kind of moving kind of from ideas to action. So in terms of, we have a framework that we use to do that. So the, we've got a goal setting framework that we kind of introduced for people.

And it's very kind of, again, simple, but it's evidence based in terms of what we do. So we tend to know that if we have a plan to do something, we tend to be more successful in terms of that plan. If we share it with others, we're even more successful. So the plan is, what are you going to do when you're going to do it and why?

So it could be. If you think back to your kind of Paddy pre Deutsche Bank, you wouldn't do the doodling. So in terms of this kind of perspective, it's like, so what are you going to do? Well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna doodle the next kind of presentation that I have could have, so what are you going to, when are you going to do it for the next one and why are you going to do it?

So what would your why be Paddy? What would your, from your perspective, if you were thinking back to your

[00:31:52] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah, I guess there's probably some selfish reason, but if I think about the audience, it was to hopefully help them connect better with the message. And to have the freedom from a personal perspective to go a little bit off script. So I'm not in this box. And I, you know, with the PowerPoint presentation, you're constrained by the bullet points you have on there.

Whereas starting to draw something, starting to create something, I might be getting feedback from the crowd. We might then actually go off on a tangent. We might start to explore other things that we may never have done otherwise. And I'd rather we talk about the things that the audience want to talk about rather than.

What I wanted to

[00:32:33] Rob Baker: I love that. I love that. And I think it's certainly great for, I think having two purposes for that is even better. So it's a suit to be more fun. And secondly, it's going to actually serve the audience, like in terms of that perspective, it was awesome, right? Like win. So that's the kind of why.

So it's the, what are you gonna do? When are you gonna do it and why? So that's a starting point and then you can get kind of extra bonus points for getting a bit late, kind of taking it a bit deeper. And the next deeper level would be. Who are you going to tell about this? So in terms of if we have, if we share our goals with someone else, that could be a line manager, could be a colleague, could be a partner, could be a friend, we're more likely to achieve it because we've got something the researchers call an accountability buddy.

So it's like someone who's going to keep you accountable. So in terms of that, in terms of that perspective, if you think about how you're going to reward yourself, so what are you going to do to kind of recognize you trying something new? Cause it can feel a bit uncomfortable, right? The first time you're going to do it.

So could be going to treat myself to a coffee or a cake at lunchtime, or it I'm just going to, I don't, just doing it itself is going to be a kind of celebration. So they are kind of extra layers as well. We would kind of encourage people to think about beyond the, when the, what, and the, why kind of element

[00:33:39] Paddy Dhanda: And Rob, you work with many different people. You mentioned a couple of examples there. You've recently working with some marketeers. Could you give us an example of an organization that you've helped

[00:33:50] Rob Baker: so let's talk about, kind of, ConnectHealth. So, ConnectHealth is a an organization based in the Northeast, but they're based all over the UK. And often when it comes to... they come to tele thinking with a purpose in mind. So when it comes to job crafting, it's like you have a purpose.

And so the purpose of Connect Health was to create sticky workplaces. So they wanted specifically for physiotherapists. So physiotherapists is a very kind of hard to recruit skillset globally. So in terms of keeping hold, kind of attracting and then keeping hold of physiotherapists was a tricky thing to do.

And Connect Health were a musculoskeletal and physiotherapy. service provider. So they worked with the NHS, but they also worked with private providers. So obviously there was a critical source of talent for them in terms of the physiotherapist in terms of people and their engagement scores shows that they're positive, but they could potentially do better in particularly around people's sense of they've got a future here within connect health.

So they're coming, but they weren't necessarily always staying or they were thinking about other opportunities. So they wanted to think about could job crafting be something that would actually allow people to. Personalize our approach to do things differently. So what we did and what we often do is, although we had an idea in mind about embedding this, we'd test this first because we'd take an experimental approach.

So we tested what was the the relevance and resonance of job crafting. So we tested it with the HR team. We tested it with the finance no the IT team within Connect Health who were sent as potentially skeptical of this and then we tested it with physiotherapists and all of those colleagues in terms of running a workshop with them, they had positive feedback.

positive results. So, 98 percent of them. So I think all but two people from all the different perspectives we did, we'd recommend this, we continue with this kind of project within Connect Health, which is amazing. And 68 percent of people kind of applied the job crafting work kind of actively within the two weeks following the workshop, which was great learning transfer.

So we had, and so we then said, okay, what could we do to kind of embed this? And they did the earlier one. You said, could they do this as part of checking conversations? And that's exactly what we did with Connect Health. So we designed simple coaching orientated questions for people to. Consider each quarter when they had a check in with their colleagues, so it could be around what are the elements of your kind of your physio, as a physiotherapist, what are the things of your job that you're enjoying the most?

What are the things you find challenging? What are the things potentially you could change? How could we help with you in this perspective? What are the things you could do to bring more energy to your work? Or what are the things that you could do to recharge for like, in terms of to feel more charged at work, what are the ways you could build more connection with your patients?

And so how, one of the questions we have is how connected you feel with your patients at the moment? On a scale of 1 to 10 how connected do you want to be? Cause that might be different for different people on a scale of 1 to 10. And then the question was, what could you do to kind of bridge the gap between the two?

And again, so these are very coaching orientated questions. They're very simple to have, but we could have made them an easy approach and then we measured the outcomes. And so. Over a year and a bit later, we had measurements and I haven't got them to hat and so I'm going to be careful about what I said.

They are downloadable the kind of case that they, so I can broadly tell you. And but there's this caveat myself is in terms of there might be inaccuracies in what I'm saying. It was around, we had really positive impact in terms of Expressions of wanting to stay within connect.

I'll think of it up to 30, 40 percent from previous studies. The retention rate was dramatically impacted there. And sickness absence went down, which wasn't something we're specifically targeting, but we had an eye on because we thought job crafting was saying it had an impact on And also in terms of people's intention to stay.

So the intention to stay kind of went up. And levels of well being as well in terms of satisfaction in terms of went up as well. So we, across a kind of basket of measures, the majority of them were kind of positively impacted. Now we can't say job crossing was the only thing, but we can say that these are the measurements we wanted to impact through our intervention.

And these are the things that kind of post measurements that we have.

[00:37:34] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, fantastic. So Rob, we're fast running out of time. I am going to start having a regular question that I've never had before. I was thinking about this the other day, and so I'm springing this one on you a little bit. If I could give you any superpower to abolish anything right now at work. is that thing that you might want to abolish? Like for me, I was thinking about this the other day. I would ban pineapple pizza because I don't get that concept, but that's just me. Is there something that you would love to ban right now?

[00:38:17] Rob Baker: I would ban job descriptions. I think job descriptions box people in rather than set people free. And they're very fixed and rigid. They don't add value to it. They often as an HR person, I've written lots of them, I've reviewed lots of them and I've never liked them, but I've never met a job description I liked, right?

So they've like never perspective. So. And I think they don't speak to the world of work that we're setting up for now and the future, which is going to be more flexible and more adaptable. They kind of box people in, they put people in boxes rather than set people free. So we need to have some frameworks around we need to have some some scope so people know what they're doing.

It's really important that people have clarity and confidence about what they're doing. But we don't need to go into in forensic detail that we do in terms of job descriptions because I think they tether people They hold people back rather than setting them free. There would never have been do some doodling on your job description, right?

it's like so how can we find ways to create our own? Descriptions that support our own superpowers to that. And I personally would be very happy to have no just job descriptions, but pizza with pineapple at lunch. I'd be very happy with that, Paddy. So, if that, if I could have free food and it was just pizza with pineapple, I'm, I'll be happy with that.

So maybe we're arch enemies there, but Hey, we can duke that out

[00:39:23] Paddy Dhanda: I guess we could scrape the pineapple off the pizza. you're winning me around here, Rob. All right. I'll let pizza continue, but for one day only we have the power to abolish job descriptions. Try it out, folks. See what happens. Let's convince our team managers and leaders to go with that approach and maybe put some Okay.

Loose framework around that instead and

[00:39:48] Rob Baker: Yeah. So if I'm being set like a plug or something, we use something called the job canvas. So it's around actually. Framework looking at jobs more holistically rather than a set of tasks and responsibilities. It's something

[00:39:58] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, brilliant. So Rob, if people want to get to know more about the work you do or get in touch with you, how can they do that?

[00:40:07] Rob Baker: Well, we're quite, hopefully quite easy to find. So like Taylor thinking the, you can Google it. So it's Taylorthinking. co. uk. and LinkedIn. And so you're happy to kind of be able to connect and you can find my email, I think kind of quite kind of easily as well. So, so any, however you can find us, find me or find us, please kind of drop us a note, there will be, I'll send you some links to some resources that people can download and use, but hopefully people will see I'm very passionate about this stuff, and if I can do anything to help be an individual or be an organization or a team, I'd be really

happy to do it.

[00:40:40] Paddy Dhanda: I'd definitely vouch for that because I just approached you after your keynote and you very kindly agreed to come on the podcast. So thank you for that. And you mentioned a book you've written. Could you just give us the title of that as well?

[00:40:52] Rob Baker: yeah. So the book is Personalization at Work and it's by Kogan Page and I think it was published in 2020 or 2021 is, and it was my best attempt at bringing all the research to date into a kind of like an accessible and easy to digest approach. So there's loads of coaching questions and there are loads of kind of the summary of the research and other aspects.

So it's a great starting point if you want to kind of do this in a more kind of sustained way.

[00:41:15] Paddy Dhanda: Brilliant. Well, thank you so much, Rob. It's been an absolute pleasure to get to talk to you one on one and to hear some of your insights. Thank you.

[00:41:25] Rob Baker: Thanks very much. I've really enjoyed it.

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