Our research and experience has revealed to us that Job-sharing is one of the least well understood types of flexible working. There are two major challenges here; one being the fact that the term "Job share" has been around for a while (since the 1940's) and so many have formed an interpretation of what it is, secondly, there are many ways to interpret the word which leads to another level of challenge to overcome.
Settling on a successful interpretation and approach is crucial. One of the common questions and misunderstandings we come up against is “but how is Job sharing different to part-time?”
Successfully differentiating between part-time roles and Job shares is a key step to enable organisations to take full advantages of this way of working. The answer to this question is simple, the key difference for organisations is CONTINUITY.
In other words, two part-time roles carrying the same title is not a Job share, why? because without a handover, communication and ownership of the full-time role there is an ongoing break in continuity on a weekly basis. This means that progress with clients, colleagues and projects regularly comes to a standstill until the part-time employee returns to catch up and progress their tasks, which is fine when stakeholders don't expect continuous service throughout the week, but of course this often isn't the case.
A Talent Partnership is set up so that both partners take ownership of the full-time duties from the outset, whilst leadership on particular accounts or projects may emerge, the handover and communication covers all aspects. This means that there is no break in continuity and no catch up, so productivity and progress is optimised and continues on a full-time basis.
For the Job sharers, this means their days off really are days off and often feedback that it’s a very supportive arrangement because you have another to share ideas and challenges with, who has an equal interest in making the role a success. Something which can’t be replicated by a boss, a partner at home or another colleague as they aren’t in the same role.
A common mistake made when embarking on a Job share is to split the role into two prior to recruitment and the challenge this can create (apart from additional work for HR) is a disconnect of ownership within the Job share itself, which can lead to competition and unhelpful behaviour patterns emerging across the partnership.
Check out our case studies for information about successful Talent Partnerships and if you’d like to find out about how Job sharing can work for your organisation, let's talk.
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.