Why Try to “Fit” In at Work? The Importance of Work Engagement and Person-Job Fit

Topic(s): engagement, personality
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 142–152.
Article: Does work engagement increase person-job fit? The role of job crafting and job insecurity
Authors: C. Lu, H. Wang, J. Lu, D. Du, A.B. Bakker
Reviewed by: Lauren Zimmerman

Today’s workplace can be precarious, with the increasing prevalence of organizational restructuring and downsizing leading to tougher competition for jobs. As a result, ensuring each employees’ person-job fit has become crucial to organizations as they strive to hire and retain top performing employees and avoid turnover.

But this begs the question, how can organizations and their employees improve person-job fit? The answer lies not solely in the hands of organizations, but also in the hands of the employees themselves.

THE ROLE OF JOB CRAFTING

In the new study, “Does work engagement increase person-job fit? The role of job crafting and job insecurity,” researchers examined the influence of employees’ work engagement on their person-job fit. They focused on personal job crafting, which involves employees actively changing the physical (i.e. task) and interpersonal attributes of their work.

Specifically, the authors were interested in how engaged employees alter their job tasks in order to enhance their demands-abilities fit, the match between employees’ job demands and their abilities to meet them.

The authors were also interested in examining the ways in which engaged employees change interpersonal characteristics of their jobs in order to achieve needs-supplies fit, which reflects the alignment between an employee’s job needs and the resources required to fulfill those needs.

Lastly, the authors explored the influence of job insecurity on employees’ work engagement, and the changes in the physical and interpersonal characteristics of their jobs.

 

PERSON-JOB FIT FINDINGS

The study revealed that highly engaged employees were considerably more likely to change their person-job fit than less engaged employees.

In particular, highly engaged employees altered the physical characteristics of their jobs to attain optimal demands-abilities fit, and modified the interpersonal features of their jobs to enhance their needs-supplies fit.

Moreover, highly engaged employees were also more likely to change the interpersonal aspects of their jobs when they perceived that their job environments were insecure, in order to ease the feelings of uncertainty about their jobs.

 

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR ORGANIZATIONS

These results indicate that organizations should seek to hire and retain highly engaged employees. Not only because they are more dedicated and involved in their jobs, but also because they will likely enhance their own person-job fit, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and retention.

Through changes in both task and interpersonal features, these engaged employees are motivated to redesign aspects of their jobs to achieve optimal workplace fit. Therefore, it may be wise for organizations to provide employees with opportunities and resources to alter features of their work, so that they may tailor their work environment to feel that they “fit” in better.

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