Is it the next big thing?

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Often in today’s workplace, being humble can be seen as a weakness when in fact, entirely the opposite is true and crucial to success as a Jobsharer. Being aware of our limitations, accepting imperfections and recognising our potential when combined with another is an incredible strength! It takes courage to talk through our “mistakes” but only through creating this type of dialogue with a Jobshare (or any) partner can you create a truly fulfilling experience.

There’s no room for ego

Practicing humility as a Jobsharer requires a shift in perspective. Respect and commitment of successful Jobsharers is focussed on doing what’s best for the role (and inherently, the Partnership), as opposed to themselves as individuals.

“Any successes we had were not personal, they were as a result of the Jobshare” (Maggy Pigott CBE, a Jobsharer of 23 years with the Civil Service, 5 of which were at CEO level)

There really is no room for ego, if a task is done well, it doesn’t matter which Jobsharer does the presentation/ takes the call /is present at the meeting, what’s important is that the organisation experiences success as a result of the Partnership working together. Practicing humility through a consultative approach in the interest of the Jobshare not only enables the Partnership (and associated lifestyle) to thrive, it increases productivity and enables the Partnership to make more innovative, brave and strong decisions quickly, because there’s another to consult, to bounce ideas off and to rationalise with.

“It’s wonderful having another half who has exactly the same knowledge of the job as you do, and also exactly the same interest in making that Job a success” (Maggy Pigott CBE)

Of course sharing in the successes of the Jobshare also mean sharing in the mistakes and this leads me to a second important advantage of practicing humility.

Always Present a United Front

Practicing Humility in the interest of successful Jobsharing means developing and presenting a united front irrespective of differences. When differences in approach inevitably emerge it’s crucial to have a strategy for containing and resolving these within the Partnership because commitment to being consistent to everyone outside of the Partnership; colleagues, team, manager, clients, suppliers, is crucial for the development of Trust.

Experienced Jobsharers say that when a difference leads to a disagreement, it’s almost always due to incomplete communication. By engaging in dialogue as opposed to debate when differences emerge, each has the opportunity to explain fully their rationale and challenge with reason. Through approaching this process constructively, a shared way forward can be established and importantly the opportunity to respect and get on board with what’s best for the Partnership to deliver.

Another key success factor is summarised neatly in this salient point made by Maggy Pigott as she reflected on habits that led to the long-term success of their 23 year partnership:

“we always adopted the rule it a rule to never unpick anything the other had done, we would always move forward, even if we would have perhaps dealt with it slightly differently ourselves”

Food for thought

We only need to look at crucial leadership traits to discover how core Jobsharing skills like self-awareness and acceptance, communication and humility can translate into developing successful leaders. In a recent survey by Catalyst Research (which I discovered in the Harvard Business Review), leaders with increased self-awareness and a greater focus on relationships achieve greater commitment and performance from their teams.  So whilst these skills are required and developed through Jobsharing, they are also important characteristics of future leaders.  If you’d like to find out more about Jobsharing and how it could work for you or your organisation, please contact us at www.ginibee.com/contact-us.html

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One of the over arching benefits of successful Jobsharing that seems to come through from senior level Jobsharers is the benefit of the supportive nature of their partnership.  By being aware of and respecting each others’ motivations and strengths, as well as liking each other, Jobsharers seem to live a very fulfilled life both in terms of their career and their life outside of work.

So what does being in a supportive Jobshare mean and how does it translate in terms of benefits to the individuals and employers?  There are a number of key trends that have come through.

1. Improved Productivity
Senior level Jobsharers, Louise and Katie have been in their role as HR Business Partners for around two years.  Louise says “we have two minds on one role, most of the time we agree but when we disagree it’s good to have that differential and talk about it” and Katie says “when you’re part-time, you naturally have a higher level of productivity because you know you’ve got three days and you want to get a lot done, so employers are getting that double, because you’ve got two people with that mindset”.

2. Reduced Stress
Ruth who as progressed from part-time to Jobsharing in order to progress to a more senior level as Director of Strategy.  She said “I feel less stressed as a Jobsharer, 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 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.”

3. Increased Objectivity
Polly says “Jobsharing 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 Jobshare 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.”

These are just some of the significant benefits offered by successful senior level Jobsharing which also double up as reasons why Jobsharers are more productive and less stressed.  If you’d like to know more about how Jobsharing can work for you and/or your organisation you can register interest at http://www.ginibee.com/contact-us.html

Our research suggests that 22% of candidates don’t know what Jobsharing is and most organisations are unaware of how it differs from part-time.  So before I start, I just wanted to share with you a nifty little graphic to illustrate this.

Due to the benefits and lifestyle of Jobsharing, it’s often chosen as a progression from part-time, opted for by candidates that are committed to progressing their career as well as creating time outside of work for other priorities.

Many of the partnerships I have encountered have progressed to Jobsharing from part-time.  Why? for various reasons, such as:

– They felt burnt out trying to shoe horn a full-time role into part-time hours
– Their career progression was limited
– They found it difficult to switch off on their non working days

After progressing to a Jobshare partnership, they experienced benefits on so many levels. The quotes below are taken from an interview with the Directors of Strategy at the Department of BIS when asked why Jobshare?:

– “Your days of really are days off”
– “You can do a wider range of demanding, challenging, interesting roles together”
– “You can really push yourself on your working days knowing that you’re doing to get a break”
– “Being accountable to your Jobshare partner keeps you focussed and honest”

If you’d like to view the interview clip where Polly and Ruth, Directors of Strategy share their reasons for choosing to Jobshare, it’s available at www.ginibee.com

With in built elements like accountability to (and support from) a Jobshare partner, resilience with an effective handover and improved communication, Jobsharers often find that they are more productive than their full-time counterparts. In Polly and Ruth’s case they took on the capacity of around 1.7 FTE.  So for the cost of 1.2 FTE, organisations get the skills, experience, commitment and energy of 2 candidates.

If you’d like to learn more about Jobsharing and how it could work for you or your organisations, please get in contact with us at www.ginibee.com/contact-us.html.

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With changes to flexible working legislation last June and shared parental leave coming in this month, there has never been a been a better time for organisations to focus on expanding their flexible working strategies.

In an ideal world, we would like to offer a strategy that enables career progression AND work life balance WITHOUT compromise for either the organisation or the employee.  Too often there is a disproportionate amount of compromise from either the organisation (e.g. offering a role as part-time, when really it needs to remain full-time), or the employee (e.g. being told their role can’t be scaled down to part-time and having to compromise either career or family life).  What if I told you that a strategy exists that offers equal benefits to organisations and employees, not only that, but it is successful and is being done already?

Jobsharing is the only flexible working strategy that offers career progression on a part-time basis to the employee whilst offering full-time cover, improved productivity and continuity to the organisation.  However, it’s take up is low and even organisations that consider themselves supportive of flexible working often don’t consider Jobsharing.  Instead, they simply pass requests to work part-time and scale the role down or offer an alternative.  The longer-term problem which can arise as a result of too many part-time roles is lack of continuity within departments, meaning organisations don’t thrive and in some cases, barely survive.  Alternatively rejecting requests to work flexibly can have a substantial impact on productivity, sickness and absence costs and employee engagement.

Successful Jobsharing has in built processes to ensure continuity and handover. The problem is not enough people know how to meet a partner and how to do it right.

GOOD NEWS! Ginibee has a Jobshare Matching programme which creates successful Jobshare partnerships and helps companies to implement successful Jobshare schemes.  If you’d like to find out more about Ginibee and how we can support you, check out www.ginibee.com or contact me at sara.horsfall@ginibee.com

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In last month’s post, I covered the importance of a Jobsharer “deciding to trust” in order for a partnership to thrive. What’s interesting and scary at the same time about this decision, is the condition of having to offer the trust first in order to test the partnership, because taking this leap with someone you don’t necessarily know, is a tricky decision for most of us. This month I’m going to delve further into what makes us able to take this leap of faith and importantly, how we can learn to build trust.

Start With Self-Trust
If you remember my first post on successful Jobsharing, I stressed the importance of taking time to “Know Yourself”, because to create an effective partnership you need to first understand who’s coming into it. The same principle applies to trust. To trust anyone else, first you have to ask yourself honestly “do I trust myself? Am I someone others can trust?” What I’m saying here is the process of building trust with a Jobshare partner, starts even before your very first encounter, it’s with yourself. But it’s not just about words, we can all say “yes I trust myself” but is your behaviour reflective? As Covey quotes:

 “Trust is achieved through action”…. (not words)

Self-trust starts with the small things and to give an example, this year after reading Covey’s book I decided to take a leaf out of it and here’s what I did. Until a few weeks ago, I would always set my alarm before going to bed knowing full well I was going to snooze it in the morning several times before I would actually get out of bed. What’s the point in that? Essentially, I was starting every day by breaking a promise to myself – a behaviour congruent with self-trust would be to set the alarm for 15 minutes later, allow myself the snooze and commit to getting up on the first alarm. So, that’s what I did. I decided to take the small but also significant step of promising myself every night that I would get up when the alarm goes off.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
The fact is, we all judge others by our own standards, because what other benchmark do we have? But if we can’t make and keep commitments to ourselves, it will subconsciously affect our ability to trust others. So if you’re concerned about how you could trust someone else, start with yourself, make and keep a promise to yourself from today, and stick with it. The small things DO count.

Taking this to the next level of “Relationship Trust” involves the same rules. Exploring a potential Jobsharer’s competence may involve a lot of words about experience and motivations. This is all great, but as Covey says

 “what you do has far greater impact than anything you say” (Covey p128)

To act with integrity is vital; talk straight, demonstrate respect, know that little things have a disproportionate impact when building trust. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep and communicate, communicate, communicate; if you say you’ll get back to someone that day, keep to your promise even if it’s to say you can’t meet the deadline. Things you may feel are unimportant are likely to be exactly the opposite when it comes to building trust.  A great read to explore this subject further is Stephen Covey’s book “Speed of Trust”.

 If you’d like to find out more about Jobsharing, how to create a successful partnership or how it could benefit you or your organisation, you can register at http://www.ginibee.com/contact-us or contact me at info@ginibee.com

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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In my blog post earlier this year I wrote about the importance of Trust in achieving speed in business which feeds into productivity, effectiveness and cost. This is the third trait when it comes to successful Jobsharing, not only in terms of creating a functional partnership but also in realising the advantages of Jobsharing both on a personal and an organisational level.

A common concern is “how can I trust that someone else will do as good a job as I will?”, “how can I trust someone I don’t really know?”. Having Jobshared successfully and unsuccessfully I have experience of this and how it can break down, so I reflected on my own experience and also the experiences of senior level Jobsharers I have come across in my research. To help portray the mindset and successful habits that support this characteristic, I’m going to share with you three crucial quotes I have come across in my research.

It’s a Conscious Decision

“You have to just decide to trust the person because if you don’t it’s just not going to work. It’s a bit like jumping into a swimming pool and you hope it’s full of water, if it’s not going to work you need to know fast” (Polly Payne & Ruth Hannant, Directors of Strategy at Department for Business Innovation & Skills)

This is the underlying mindset of a successful Jobshare partner, also demonstrating the simplicity of the change that needs to happen for Jobsharing to become mainstream; away from suspicion and doubt and towards trust. It’s a conscious decision to trust from the outset made by the Jobsharer and one that won’t be without risk, but will be an informed decision based on whether the benefits outweigh the perceived risk.

Give yourself permission to trust another at work so you can have the work life balance that you need. Only then, will you be able to truly benefit from the Jobshare; your days off really will be days off, you will develop a shared approach and communicate more effectively, you will learn from each other, you will deal will difference constructively.

Demonstrate Trust

Another important quote came from senior level Jobsharer Deborah Bronnert:

“Always be available to your Jobshare partner on your non-working days, never be available to anyone else” (Deborah Bronnert, COO at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and previous Jobsharer)

This is a crucial habit to get into right from the start and certainly one which I believe contributed to the breakdown of my previous work partnership. Ensure a full and complete handover and then trust your partner to deal effectively with any and all outstanding or related actions or conversations. If you take over responsibility on your non-working days, this can be extremely damaging not only for demonstrating and acting with trust towards your partner, but also in terms of setting the precedent for taking the time that this work practice creates for you to focus on other things.

 “Any big decision on one of the other’s days that we haven’t talked about before we will always ring each other. We wouldn’t make a decision that changed the direction of something without consulting the other person” (Polly Payne & Ruth Hannant, Directors of Strategy at Department for Business Innovation & Skills)

This demonstrates the crucial trust and respect needed for a Jobshare arrangement to work, being available for a short consultation phonecall from your Jobshare partner, at your convenience on your non-working day, is very different from opening up a direct line of contact to another work colleague. When working a high profile, senior level role and spending spend quality time on things outside of work is no longer mutually exclusive, being available occasionally to your jobshare partner is not a chore but simply an enabler to this lifestyle.

 

How Can You Help?

If you are interested in learning more about how Jobsharing could help you or your organisation please contact sara.horsfall@ginibee.com or register at www.ginibee.com . If you’d like to help improve our understanding and awareness of perceptions about Jobsharing please take some time to complete this short survey at bit.ly/ginibee_survey

In my next blog I’ll be talking about Acting with Integrity, the next successful habit of a Jobsharer.

 

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