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Sharing is Caring: Job sharing as a supportive way to return to work

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For parents looking for a flexible way to return to work, job sharing is an option worth considering. Sara Horsfall, Founder and Director of Ginibee, a job share network, describes how job shares provide extra benefits for job sharers beyond reduced working hours.
 
One of the (many) times in a parent’s life we find extremely challenging, is reconnecting with our inner professional after discovering our inner parent. In other words, returning to work.  
Thinking about returning to work can be a particularly lonely time, when we can feel a range of conflicting emotions including guilt (for not being with our child 24/7), paranoia (that none of our parenting skills are relevant /we have “forgotten” our professional skills /people will think we can’t do our job anymore) and gratitude (when we find a role). These feelings can make it a stressful time and one which is often insufficiently supported. So, what if there was a proven way to return to your careerwithout leaving behind new life priorities, that benefits both you and your employer?   
One of the overarching benefits of successful job sharing we often see at Ginibee, for returners, is the supportive nature of the job share partnership. Imagine returning to work with someone who is faced with similar challenges in terms of creating time for other life commitments, whilst sharing similar career experience and ambitionForming a partnership with another enables job sharers to share the responsibility and opportunity of a full-time role without the associated time commitment and in doing so improves confidence (since women often find it easier to recognise the strengths in others than in ourselves), as well as creating the mental and physical space to attend to their life. By being aware of and respecting each other’s motivations and strengths, job sharers live a very fulfilled life both in terms of their career and life outside of work. 
Supportive Benefits of Job Sharing  
So what does being in a supportive job share mean to us?
  • Reduces Stress 

Although progressive employers understand that mentoring support is a key requirement to retain and develop parents as they return to work, it can still be rare. The great thing about job sharing is that successful partnerships self-mentor as part of setting up and maintaining the jobshare. Ruth, who switched from part-time work to job sharing in order to progress to a more senior level as Director of Strategy, said “I feel less stressed as a job sharer, because there’s a proper release valve. In other roles you might vent to your partner or husband at the end of the day, but they’re not in it, so with my job share partner we can really vent to each other and share the challenges, which means it’s not all in your head, and I find that to be really valuable.” 

  • Increases Confidence 
Another job sharer, Polly, says “job sharing is really supportive, which means you can take braver decisions faster, because with the best will in the world, your boss, your mentor etc. isn’t going to be quite as interested and involved as your job share partner. In particular, on management decisions where you might be worried about being too subjective about a matter, when you have both picked up on it you can give clearer, stronger, more objective messages.” 
  • Improves Focus 
When you know your days off really are days off, you have more energy to fully apply yourself on your working days. Employers of job share partnerships report that the inherent accountability of job share partnerships means they are easier to manage as they have another to share ideas and challenges with. Polly says “Being accountable to your job share partner keeps you focused and honest”. 
We only need to look to organisations like the Civil Service, Barclays, Transport for London that have launched jobshare schemes for their employees to see that this is now receiving a higher profile as part of creating and retaining diverse workforces. 
If you would like to access or retain talent through Jobsharing, or if you would are the untapped talent looking for a like-minded Jobshare partner, you can find more information and support, including Ginibee’s jobshare platform at www.ginibee.com.
 
 
Posted by Katerina
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How To Use Jobsharing To Create Highly Effective Leaders

The following post is a guest blog I contributed to the Professional Academy in January 2015.  I thought it would be useful to share it.

Creating the right environment to develop effective leaders can be a challenge. Sara Horsfall from Jobshare specialists Ginibee shares her vision for using flexible working to fast-track leadership development.

We are experiencing a crisis in leadership development. The current system is not working, and many high performing employees who aren’t able to work long hours are being overlooked for leadership positions.

What if there was another option?

I specialise in creating successful Jobshare partnerships, and in my experience I have encountered many high performing, high profile partnerships, where leadership roles are shared. Many of the key attributes of good leaders are essential for effective Jobsharing.

What if there was a requirement for Jobsharing as part of leadership training for both full-time and part-time employees? I believe this would help to bridge the leadership gap and produce improved opportunities for leadership development, compatible with career flexibility.

Leadership crisis in management

The leadership crisis

A survey by Human Resources blog TLNT in October 2014 revealed 42% of executives say company growth plans are “slowed by lack of access to the right leadership”.

And there is considerable dissatisfaction with the state of leadership despite significant investment.

Clearly, something needs to change.

We know that women account for only 20.7% of board positions despite many having the necessary skills. What if there was a way to ensure more women were given opportunities to prove and use their leadership skills even if they weren’t able to work full-time? And this doesn’t just apply to women. What about people preparing for retirement, or caring for a relative?

What makes a good leader?So what makes a good leader?

The subject of leadership can be a tricky one that is interpreted in many different ways, which perhaps contributes to the level of dissatisfaction that exists.

A survey by TLNT suggested that communication skills and humility are the top two leadership traits.

So how do developing leaders learn and practice these skills? And how do organisations create the opportunity for both men and women to practice these skills at all levels and at all points in their career, whether they’re working part-time or full-time?

Is job-sharing for you?Could Jobsharing be the answer?

I’d like you to imagine an organisation where leadership development and flexible working are harmonious. Where ‘required Jobsharing’ is an essential part of practicing important leadership skills ‘on the job’.

Employees who work full-time can share more than one role. In other words, ‘required Jobsharing’ not only develops leaders who want to work full-time and can share more than one role, but it offers a career development opportunity to those who need to work part-time through Jobsharing a career role.

Using Jobsharing in this way increases the pool of candidates for potential leadership roles and encourages equality, diversity and flexibility throughout the company.

How to integrate Jobsharing into your leadership development programme?

  • Open up all full-time leadership roles to applications from Jobshare partnerships.
  • Empower and enable employees to find and create Jobshare partnerships.
  • Actively support shared objectives, identity and accountability as a way of demonstrating strong leadership skills
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