In the aftermath of the first year of Gender Pay Gap reporting, opening up career opportunities that support diverse lifestyles at all points along the career ladder is a priority for companies looking to close their gaps and balance out senior teams.
The manifesto for change released by Timewise and Deloitte in May 2018 is great reading with yet more stats advocating the need for organisations to make flexibility the new norm.
With these factors in play, the challenge many companies are facing today, is how to make Job sharing (a flexible working option which offers both reduced hours AND retains continuity) accessible to more talent without creating a tonne of work for HR and hiring managers.
If this is you, I would like to introduce an early intervention to your thinking. To offer a different angle, which resets some fundamental assumptions in order to make the process of scaling successfully much easier.
Consider the term "Talent Partnerships" instead
Sometimes the terms we use can create more barriers than opportunities and in our five years of experience researching, analysing, implementing and reviewing successful and unsuccesful Job shares, I find the term itself to be extremely unhelpful. In fact, most of the questions and objections around Job sharing stem from a particular interpretation, which is implied by the language and leads to unnecessary complications in how it is implemented.
Here are the problems:
Enable Employee Led Talent Partnerships.
The most successful approach to scaling a Job share scheme is for employers to enable an employee led approach. Offering equal career opportunities to partnerships and individuals. Instead of taking on the responsibility for answering all of the questions, adapt your recruitment process to invite motivated candidates and employees with the need for a partnership to answer the questions for you.
Create a corporate message that ensures employees understand that “all full-time roles are open to individuals and Talent Partnerships”. Ensure round 1 interviews are based exclusively on ability and potential, as opposed to full or part-time availability. In place of “no, your role can’t be scaled down from full-time”, a flexible working request is responded to with “yes, your role can be delivered as a Talent Partnership, log into our Talent Partnership Scheme to find a partner and pitch your solution to us”.
At the end of the day, the senior professional talent accountable for delivering full-time continuity are the best qualified people to decide how it can be delivered. Expect continuity, and give them permission to convince you as the employer, of their approach.
This creates a fundamental shift, taking away the onus of forming the partnership away from HR. It's no longer about whether the role can be split, instead the question is whether employees have permission to partner up, access to a supported process, information, guidance and a pool of potential matches they can connect with to create their Talent Partnership solution.
Of course, a Talent Partnership is not for everyone and that’s ok – neither are skinny jeans, but that doesn’t mean the shops don't stock them - just like it shouldn't mean the option to form a full-time Talent Partnership isn't available as an option for every full-time role. For many, knowing it's there as an option is a significant benefit in itself, because for most there will be at least one occasion when life changes and we are forced to look at new ways to integrate work and life.
A role is made reality by the people in it, so whether a role can be delivered as a Talent Partnership lies in the eyes of the beholders, the expert talent you employ and empower to successfully deliver. So there is no need to limit your talent pool, invite talent to partner up.
If you'd like to find out more, please contact us we'd love to help.
Sara is the founder and CEO of Ginibee and a proud mum of two legends. Absolutely passionate about making successful Job sharing accessible, Sara set Ginibee up with the sole mission of "making successful Job sharing accessible" and has specialised in optimising and similifying the process to create successful Job shares since 2013 and in doing so has created a unique into a purpose-built platform, to accelerate the creation of Talent Partnerships.