Purpose: The human side of the job demands–resources (JD-R) model was this study's focus, examining job resources' impact on employees' co-creation intention. It considered employee satisfaction, engagement (vigour, absorption and dedication) and self-construal affect as mediators, with optimism and employee pro-social behaviour as moderators. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 214 responses from a survey questionnaire among service employees in Indonesia and Singapore were analysed with the partial least squares (PLS) method. Moderation and mediation analyses used multi-group analyses and bootstrapping. Findings: Most job resource indicators were found to be significant antecedents of employee co-creation intention. Optimism and pro-social behaviour significantly moderated the relationships between job support, vigour and absorption. A partial mediation effect was evident in the employee satisfaction–engagement relationship. Employees' self-efficacy and self-construal affect had a higher influence on employee co-creation intention than satisfaction or engagement. Research limitations/implications: The study considered only job resource-based indicators of the JD-R model and not those based on job demands. The moderation effect in the optimism–pro-social behaviour relationship considered job support but not interpersonal relationships and job autonomy. Practical implications: The study's findings would assist practitioners to motivate employees' co-creation intention through job resources and the employees' self-assessed emotions, such as optimism, pro-social behaviour and self-construal affect. Originality/value: This study relates the JD-R model's job resources to service employees' co-creation intention, considering self-assessed emotions as mediators, while applying optimism and pro-social behaviour as moderators.