Tiny Tasks at Work Improving Work Engagement and Performance using Behavioral Intervention Technologies

Marjan Gorgievski, Arnold Bakker, PMA Desmet, AE Pohlmeyer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference contributionAcademic

Abstract

Aim: This intervention study tested whether the TinyTask intervention can be used to stimulate employee job crafting (seeking challenges and social support), positive affect, and work engagement, and whether this, in turn, predicts employee performance. Method: In total, 126 office employees participated (response rate = 31.5%; mean age 40.63 (sd = 11.13), 52% men). During a two-week TinyTask event, 43 people performed social tasks; 33 people personal tasks and 50 people (control group) did no tasks. Participants filled in questionnaires before and after the event. Variables were measured using pre-existing scales (Cronbach’s alphas between .72 and .96; answers ranged from 1 “very low” to 5 “very high”). The variables “performed TinyTasks” and “TinyTasks type” (Personal) were coded 0 = no; 1 = yes. Results: Compared to the control group, the group who had performed social or personal TinyTasks maintained higher levels of work engagement and positive affect during the event. The group performing Social TinyTasks also showed higher levels of challenge crafting after the event as compared to the other groups whose levels had decreased. Unexpectedly, seeking social support had increased most in the control group, to a lesser extend in the Personal Tiny Task condition, and not in the Social TinyTask condition. In turn, in-role performance was predicted by T1 challenge crafting and performing Personal TinyTasks. Extra-role performance was positively predicted by T1 and T2 seeking social support. Conclusions: The TinyTask event is a useful behavioral micro-intervention to keep people invigorated at work and stimulate seeking challenge demands, which indirectly improved in-role performance. The event did not stimulate support seeking and extra-role behavior. Future research should investigate long-term effects and more detailed process models. Aim: This intervention study tested whether the TinyTask intervention can be used to stimulate employee job crafting (seeking challenges and social support), positive affect, and work engagement, and whether this, in turn, predicts employee performance. Method: In total, 126 office employees participated (response rate = 31.5%; mean age 40.63 (sd = 11.13), 52% men). During a two-week TinyTask event, 43 people performed social tasks; 33 people personal tasks and 50 people (control group) did no tasks. Participants filled in questionnaires before and after the event. Variables were measured using pre-existing scales (Cronbach’s alphas between .72 and .96; answers ranged from 1 “very low” to 5 “very high”). The variables “performed TinyTasks” and “TinyTasks type” (Personal) were coded 0 = no; 1 = yes. Results: Compared to the control group, the group who had performed social or personal TinyTasks maintained higher levels of work engagement and positive affect during the event. The group performing Social TinyTasks also showed higher levels of challenge crafting after the event as compared to the other groups whose levels had decreased. Unexpectedly, seeking social support had increased most in the control group, to a lesser extend in the Personal Tiny Task condition, and not in the Social TinyTask condition. In turn, in-role performance was predicted by T1 challenge crafting and performing Personal TinyTasks. Extra-role performance was positively predicted by T1 and T2 seeking social support. Conclusions: The TinyTask event is a useful behavioral micro-intervention to keep people invigorated at work and stimulate seeking challenge demands, which indirectly improved in-role performance. The event did not stimulate support seeking and extra-role behavior. Future research should investigate long-term effects and more detailed process models.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2018
Event9th European Conference on Positive Psychology - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 27 Jul 201830 Jul 2018

Conference

Conference9th European Conference on Positive Psychology
CityBudapest, Hungary
Period27/07/1830/07/18

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