Career adaptability and high-performance working practices are critical factors in helping organisations and their employees to deal with fast-paced change, as well as uncertainty and ambiguity in their roles and tasks.
One of the central themes to emerge from recent research about key worker competencies is that of employee adaptability.
What studies are showing on career adaptability
Studies are showing that both employee adaptability and career adaptability are critical factors in helping organisations and their employees to deal with fast-paced change, as well as uncertainty and ambiguity in their roles and tasks.
Career adaptability refers to the ability of an employee to use a range of flexible strategies to participate in a wide variety of work roles and tasks and change between these rapidly. This requires that the individual engages in a reasonable level of learning, self-regulation and adaptive behaviours. Career adaptability has been shown to be associated with a range of positive career and productivity outcomes and employment opportunities.
What these studies found on career adaptability
The studies found that career adaptability also predicts higher levels of:
• task performance
• work engagement
• job satisfaction
A new study
A new study by a team of researchers from the Amsterdam Business School at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has looked at whether a series of high-performance working practices, such as: incentive compensation packages
- incentive compensation packages
- employee development and training
- employee participation in strategic implementation
- developing employee voice
- performance management
- job design
- job crafting
has a relationship with work engagement and career adaptability.
The study looked at 131 employees and 75 supervisor dyads.
The broad finding was that higher levels of job adaptability tend to lead to a higher level of work engagement under the conditions of high performance working practices and, in particular, job crafting.
…higher levels of job adaptability tend to lead to a higher level of work engagement
Job crafting was found to be an adaptive undertaking in itself which tends to include and develop factors such as:
• career planning
• career decision making
• job and task adaptability.
The basic principle behind job crafting
The basic principle behind job crafting is that individual employees engage in a process of designing and redesigning their tasks, the order in which they do their tasks, their relational network and who and how they should be connecting with others in order to achieve better results.
Job crafting is a bottom up process which can and often should include skills crafting process, in which employees proactively develop and master new skills at work.
Previous studies finding on job crafting
Previous studies found that job crafting tends to suit and be more readily taken up by more proactive individuals. However, the study found that there is a strong association between high-performance working practices, such as job crafting and career adaptability.
Additionally, the study found that individuals who have higher levels of career adaptability and who are committed to engaging job crafting have significantly higher levels of work engagement than adaptable individuals who do not have the opportunity to engage in high opportunity-enhancing high-performance working practices.
In brief, the studies found that individuals with higher levels of career adaptability/general adaptability tend to respond better to high-performance working practices, such as job crafting, and that engagement by these individuals in high-performance working practices leads to higher levels of work engagement.
Federici, E., Boon, C., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2019). The moderating role of HR practices on the career adaptability–job crafting relationship: a study among employee–manager dyads. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-29.
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