Job sharing isn’t a new concept of working but can it really be done at a senior level? YES IT CAN!
Vicky and Sam are both Directors at a private bank, working as a job share. The advantage to Vicky, mother of three and Sam, mother of two, is of course the flexibility to work part time around their home life and outside business interests. What’s in it for the bank though?
Employing a job share, the bank get two brains instead of one. Vicky and Sam work ideas through before involving their wider teams, taking less of their boss’s time. They can cover each other’s holiday and sickness, and will flex their own hours to meet peak demand where required. They always have each other’s back, so the stresses and strains of management are shared.
Their job share journey hasn’t been without its challenges though. All the way, Sam and Vicky have had to make the case for it.
How did it begin?
The idea of working as a job share started when they decided to start a business together. They both handed their notice into their employer at the time, a big 4 accountancy firm, who convinced them to stay on 2.5 days a week and run their business alongside their employment. They looked after the same clients and their job share journey began.
Their hours were adapted at different stages to meet their own family and business commitments as well as the business needs of the firm, but between them they always covered the whole week with some overlap. When a particular project ended, they choose to take redundancy, and used the opportunity to grow their own business.
Sam in particular was after a greater degree of financial security and so the hunt for a part time role began. A friend showed Sam a contracting role at a private bank but it was a full time role that Sam couldn’t commit to on her own. Sam suggested to the recruitment agency involved that herself and Vicky could fill the role as a job share. At first the agency were unwilling to consider putting them forward but Sam and Vicky’s perseverance led to the agency giving them a chance, and after being interviewed separately, the bank agreed. After trialling the approach on a contract basis, the bank were extremely pleased and the job share become a permanent position and team S&V were soon promoted.
How is their job share perceived?
The bank were really impressed by their ability to work together at a senior level and the feedback they received was fantastic. Comments were made that the company should definitely do this set up more often (there was only one other job share in place at this level). Their immediate boss was initially wary of the concept but now he champions them.
Sam and Vicky see jobshare as a great opportunity for women to keep progressing into senior roles and is a way of creating more diversity at the top of organisations.
How to job share effectively
Sam and Vicky have made job share work by overlapping their days, being willing to have complete transparency with each other and fundamentally having the same outlook, sharing the same values but having complimentary skills. Even though they look nothing alike, they sometimes get called by each other’s name. While that would not necessarily be an aspiration for every professional, it is certainly a measure of a job share’s success!
Next week we speak to Sam and Vicky’s boss to get his perspective on job share - does it work for him? What are the benefits and pitfalls for the business?
Are you interested in hiring people who work flexibly?
If you are interested in flexible hiring as an employer, we can help! At Resource Harbour, we bring compatible professionals together and work with companies to highlight the enormous benefits of this way of working. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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