We are so pleased to celebrate Job sharing gaining more traction in senior roles. With increasing numbers of leadership Job shares, I thought it would be timely to publish our experience of what is important to consider when it comes to leading as a Job share Partnership. The more senior the role, the more relevant the point that "success in Job sharing requires a Talent Partnership mindset, as opposed to a Job share mindset".
Adopting a Talent Partnership mindset
Ironically, interpreting a Job share as "sharing a job" doesn't lead to success, quite the opposite in fact; it encourages a mindset of "arranging cover" as opposed to "ensuring continuity". It is this mindset that informs the all too common judgement of "this role isn't suited to Job sharing". Adopting a Talent Partnership mindset from the outset builds a partnership approach to full-time continuity, with inherent communication and commitment to building reputation around a Talent Partnership identity; this approach is crucial for success in leadership.
Practical considerations when leading a team
Having created and supported Talent Partnerships for several years, we recognise that whilst there isn't necessarily a "one size fits all" approach to managing as a partnership, there are common success criteria. Our advice is to avoid splitting the role, since this introduces breaks in continuity and instead to take lead in certain aspects, whilst ensuring the partnership retains ownership and accountability for all duties. Some partnerships successfully split out the man management duties from other project duties and this can work. Other partnerships have split man management at first and later found that a full partnership approach works better. So with this in mind, our advice is to start with a plan, stick to the plan, review effectiveness early and be prepared to refine the approach based on success.
Pioneers of senior level Job share partnerships are inherently part of building cultural acceptance in their organisation, by delivering successfully and becoming role models to support further roll out. It's important to bare in mind as leaders and managers of teams, that your effective, transparent communication and a consistent approach sets a great example and is part of building wider trust and cultural acceptance.
Top tips to take away
With a Talent Partnership mindset, our top tips for getting started in leading and managing as a Job share are:
1. Agree your vision and communication plan for managing the team together at the outset, stick to it, and review regularly, with a first 360 at 3 months.
2. Whether your approach is a pure share, or you are taking lead on certain aspects, ensure this is clearly communicated to the team. Share how you maintain continuity and ensure that your system is set up to reflect and support your approach e.g. should team members be able to specify one partner over the other?.
3. Present a united front; always back each other up and tackle differences offline during your comms sessions.
4. Be prepared to flex based on what works best; run regular 360 feedback with the team and wider stakeholders.
5. Schedule performance reviews on overlap days to reinforce the partnership identity with the team.
A final point to consider when managing teams is to be intentional about creating opportunities to deputise e.g. by taking holiday at the same time at certain times of the year to give team members the opportunity to step up.
Advice and support
At Ginibee, our Partner Up training programme has been designed to address and accelerate cultural acceptance of implementing Jobsharing. If you have any additional comments or questions about this post we would love to hear from you. Or to find out more about how we can help you to successfully implement Job sharing, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part-time is an interesting concept and yet another term which is open to interpretation. More often than not, we find that part-time is in fact a 4 day week, requiring a "most-of-the-time" commitment, to deliver the same full-time output, in four days and to be paid pro-rata.
Job-sharing has seen renewed energy and momentum in recent years, since the right to request flexible working legislation came into play in June 2014. Since then, there has been increasing awareness of the work-life balance trade off at senior levels and the impact this has had on gender pay gap. Millennials and senior talent possess a new confidence to admit that work-life balance and career progression are high on the agenda when choosing an employer and are prepared to be proactive about it.
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.
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.
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.