Recently we interviewed a job share partnership who instantly cemented our thoughts that a job share at a senior level really can work but does their boss agree??
We caught up with Andy, “The Boss” to get his views.
Andy, an Executive Director at a private bank, has 32+ years of financial services to his name. He has worked all over the world and is well versed in the demands of his profession, where 60 to 70 hour weeks are not unknown. Prior to managing Vicky and Sam, job share partnerships were not really something he considered; mainly because he has always worked in the financial sector where there is minimal understanding of the value such resourcing approaches can add to an organisation.
When he started in his own role at the bank, Andy inherited a team with a mix of working arrangements; fulltime, part time, compressed work and job share. He describes his initial feelings as intrigue rather than scepticism; he was keen to understand people’s arrangements and how they would fit together to deliver as a whole and meet the needs of the business.
As their manager of several years, nowadays Andy is happy to show case Vicky and Sam as a shining example for how a job share partnership can really work. Everything Andy says to one of them, the other knows, to the point where he forgets who he told. He is aware they work hard at it though; it’s not just overlapping their days by one day a week that makes them so joined up. They communicate with each other when they are not in the office. They are flexible, within reason, moving their days to suit business needs. Their consistent management is a perfectly balanced mixture of their similarities and differences. They have similar backgrounds but bring people management and tax expertise in different but complimentary ways.
If there was ever a pitfall to the arrangement, Andy says that he would occasionally have liked both their expertise in the room at the same time, but Sam and Vicky put in a lot of effort to make sure they are both available on critical dates. The cost is also slightly more than one full time employee (FTE) to cover the overlap day and employee costs, but this is not a big concern for Andy as the benefit is an in built sounding board, an independent view on a plan and ultimately two fulfilled employees who really deliver every day.
Job share partnerships are not common, at least not in senior positions in Andy’s industry. There is one senior part time manager in their business and she really makes it work. Andy explains that making a success of part time is also down to the individual being focused and taking responsibility to deliver what the business needs.
Andy works in an organisation with flexible working policies and an interest in bringing diversity to senior management positions, but job share and part time are still not commonplace. He feels this has to change. The younger generation coming into the workforce expect flexibility and do not belong to a culture where a 70-hour week is a badge of honour. Flexibility is a growing need for people, male and female a like.
As Andy knows, the key to making a flexible team deliver on business requirements is that each employee agreement is aligned to ensure continuity. Balancing employee needs with business benefits is the biggest issue for managers when considering flexibility. Where there is flexibility across a whole team, individual arrangements cannot be made in isolation; the team needs to function normally across all working hours.
Andy is so sold on the idea of flexible working he may even consider it himself as a form of phased retirement in the future!
Resource Harbour provides flexible working consultancy to rethink roles and support businesses to transform, enhance or maintain their flexible working policies, as well as recruitment services to engage talent pools that may otherwise have remained hidden.
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