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Understanding SMART Work
What does the acronym stand for?
The first letter in the SMART work framework stands for Stimulating.
Simply put, Stimulating refers to the extent to which a job involves skill variety, task variety, and problem solving demands.
Skill variety describes the degree to which your job requires a variety of skills and abilities, while task variety refers to the degree to which you perform a wide range of tasks in your role. Problem solving demands describes the degree to which your job requires you to 'think outside the box'. Not all jobs are the same, so an individual’s work can be more or less stimulating.
The second letter in the SMART work framework stands for Mastery.
This refers to the degree to which your job provides role clarity, feedback and task identity.
Role clarity describes the degree to which you clearly understand what you need to do and what is expected of you. Feedback refers to the degree to which your job provides information on your performance in the role, Finally, task identity is the degree to which your job allows you to take a task from beginning to end. When people feel a sense of mastery from their work, there are a number of benefits.
The third letter in the SMART work framework stands for Agency.
Work scheduling refers to the extent to which you are able to organise your own schedule, while work methods refers to the extent to which you can choose the methods in which to achieve your work goals.
Decision making refers to the extent to which you are able to make judgements and decisions individually. Whilst some jobs will inherently involve a higher degree of agency than others, there is always ways in which to improve this aspect of work design.
The letter R in the SMART framework stands for Relational.
Relational is defined as the extent to which an individual experiences a sense of support, purpose and social contact in their role.
Social support refers to the extent to which an individual feels supported by those they work with, including their supervisors. Task significance describes how much an individual feels their work is important in relation to the lives of others and society more broadly. Social worth concerns the amount that a person feels their work is appreciated. As humans, connection to both others and the purpose of our work is a necessary ingredient for feeling satisfied and fulfilled with our jobs.
The last letter in the SMART work framework stands for Tolerable demands.
This refers to the extent to which a job involves time pressure, emotional demands and role conflict.
Time pressure refers to the degree to which an adequate amount of time is provided to complete your work. Emotional demands describes the degree to which your work creates emotionally demanding situations. Finally, role conflict refers to the extent to which feedback, instruction and demands are inconsistent. Whilst some jobs will be more difficult than others from a physical or cognitive perspective, there is always a need for these demands to be at a tolerable level.
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