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Posts tagged ‘career development’

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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Accessing talent through Jobsharing: case study

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What’s the difference between Part-Time and Jobshare?

As a Jobshare specialist, one of the common questions and misunderstandings we come up against is “but how is Jobsharing different to part-time?”

Successfully differentiating between part-time roles and Jobshares is a key step to enable organisations to take full advantages of this way of working. The answer to this question is simple, the key difference for organisations is CONTINUITY.

In other words, two part-time roles carrying the same title is not a Jobshare, why? because without a handover, communication and ownership of the full-time role there is an ongoing break in continuity on a weekly basis. This means that progress with clients, colleagues and projects regularly comes to a standstill until the part-time employee returns to catch up and progress their tasks.

A Jobshare partnership is set up so that both partners take ownership of the full-time duties from the outset, whilst leadership on particular accounts or projects may emerge, the handover and communication covers all aspects. This means that there is no break in continuity and no catch up, so productivity and progress is optimised and continues on a full-time basis.

For the Jobsharers, this means their days off really are days off and often feedback that it’s a very supportive arrangement because you have another to share ideas and challenges with, who has an equal interest in making the role a success. Something which can’t be replicated by a boss, a partner at home or another colleague as they aren’t in the same role.

A common mistake made when embarking on a Jobshare is to split the role into two prior to recruitment and the challenge this can create (apart from additional work for HR) is a disconnect of ownership within the Jobshare itself, which can lead to competition and unhelpful behaviour patterns emerging across the partnership.

Check out this case study and if you’d like to find out about how Jobsharing can work for your organisation, as part of talent attraction or retention strategy, contact sara.horsfall@ginibee.com.

 

Is the term Parental Leave in need of a rebrand?

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One of the key challenges employers face in business is when valued employees take what is currently referred to as “time out” or “parental leave” from their professional career. In many cases it’s treated as a “taboo” with most being conscious of having a gap on their CV that may be viewed as a career break and is almost never discussed in a business context. Yet going on a course to develop our skills is seen as a great move, something which is highly valued by employees and employers alike.

Let’s turn this on its head!

Amongst the top reasons why parenting is so challenging, tiring and fulfilling are the fact that it’s constant and involves learning and immediately applying new skills (many of which you may not consider your strength (in a business context)) “on the job”. Imagine that, your company sends you on a sales course that is never going to end, there is no break from it, you can’t prepare, delegate or fast track. Irrespective of how well you take to it, your new skills will inform the development of new life coming into the world and as such will have consequences for you to deal with. A scary thought.

Yes, there are the obvious “time management”, “patience” and “productivity” skills, which are developed as a necessary requirement of Parenting, but we could all do with honing these irrespective of our specialism. What about the other areas that not everyone considers to be their strength? and in a professional environment some would run a mile from, but in developing as a parent you have no choice but to learn and apply, like:

Sales – skills required on a daily basis to parent a child from the age of 1-2 years old. What are the closing techniques that will successfully persuade your toddler (or older) to choose to process all of the functions that enable them to independently eat their meal, for example, or let you put on their coat, or co-operate in any way?

Performance Management – skills required on a daily basis to parent a child from the age of about 3 years old. What are the key performance indicators of a three year old? How will you measure them and what actions are you looking for as an indication that a reward is due to be awarded or revoked. What method will you use to communicate this and how will you ensure your child understands and is motivated by this process?

Conflict Management – required to parent children from the age of about 2-3 years old. How will you resolve and help your child to resolve conflict with another? How will you deliver news to your child that they don’t want to hear in a constructive way?

Supplier Management – which supplier will you select for your child’s education/ other skills development? What criteria will you use to select and how will you monitor whether it is being successfully delivered? What action will you take if it isn’t being delivered?

Add to that an array of other skills, like Networking, Leading, Events Management, Catering, Confidence Coach, the list goes on. (We can see why parenting is so challenging and indeed why many view going back to work as a break! That way we only need to focus on the skills we feel more comfortable with and consider ourselves successful in!)

Why are we not harnessing this phase of self-development more in the workplace?

Parenting could be viewed as a way of learning and developing ourselves, but most don’t view it in this way.  Instead, the application of new skills is simply viewed as a necessary part of getting things done and swept under the carpet by all, as generic “parenting challenges” that make us so tired.

But is everyone actually missing a trick? Could raising awareness of the learning and development experienced by parents be harnessed more by companies? What if companies decided to change how it’s viewed as part of recruitment and learning and development processes?

 Is the term “Parental Leave” in need of a rebrand?

What if the language around parenting was to change?

What if instead of “parental leave” businesses decided to offer a “parenting skills development” sabbatical and use the “keep in touch” days as an opportunity to review how to apply parenting skills in their profession?

What if, for candidates that are also parents, a portion of their CV and interview process were to be spent exploring rather than avoiding their parenting experience and reflecting on how it has ADDED TO their portfolio of skills in the workplace? Would a different, more respected approach from society create an energy shift that would fill us up rather than drain us of confidence and energy?

Would a rebrand like this, along with an accessible portfolio of truly part-time (3-day a week) working strategies like Jobsharing, reduce key recruitment and diversity challenges?  It’s certainly food for thought.  Perhaps you know of organisations that have already turned it on its head? I’d love to hear your views.

If you’d like to find out more about successful family friendly strategies and support for those who choose parenting and career, please check out http://www.ginibee.com

We can all have our cake AND eat it with Jobsharing!

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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

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

Jobsharing top tip #2: Appreciate Your Differences

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Effectively adapting to your differences is the key to success or failure in a Jobshare. In my last blog I wrote about the first of five top tips when it comes to successful Jobsharing, the importance of self-awareness to “know yourself” and be mindful of your motivations, as this will come in useful to get the most out of the role. Once you are aware of your own motivations, you need to be aware of those of others around you and in particular, those of your Jobshare partner. When you talk through your motivations with your Jobshare partner, listen out for what you don’t already know, because guess what… we’re all unique with our own experiences preferences and personalities and difference is good.

Awareness and appreciation of our differences means we can effectively bring the benefits of diversity to our role. During my MBA, I studied knowledge creation and what makes us want to share or hoard and my research uncovered two key patterns;

1. Too much similarity actually slows down knowledge creation, why? because we don’t challenge each other’s assumptions enough which can mean that we repeat mistakes or feel disappointed when difference emerges.

2. Too much difference makes it difficult for us to create a shared frame of reference and can create suspicion, which slows knowledge transfer as we hoard our knowledge.

So it’s important to have some common ground to relate to through which you can create shared understanding. This is where the importance of skills overlap and getting to know another comes into play.

Well matched partnerships have enough difference to stimulate creativity, problem solving, and accountability for your actions to another, which improves effectiveness and productivity. Appreciating difference will help to effectively set up a Jobshare role and to successfully exploit each other’s strengths and to learn from each other when you discover an approach that works well.

To find out more about Jobsharing and register to become a Jobshare partner you can sign up today at www.ginibee.com   Equally if your organisation can benefit from Jobsharing, please contact Sara Horsfall at sara.horsfall@ginibee.com

Jobsharing Top Tip #1: Know Yourself

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This is the first of a series of posts looking at the fundamental components required to create a successful Jobshare partnership.

To “Know yourself” might sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true, when creating a shared identity with another, it’s important to delve beyond our skills. Whilst compatible skills are important, they are not fundamental because we can have the same skills as another but be unable to create a shared identity together. In fact, our attitude is more fundamental than our skills, which I touched upon in my previous post “It’s All About Trust”.

So stripping everything back to basics, whilst behavioural profiles are great at modelling our actions in a particular environment, to Jobshare successfully you need to be mindful of what drives each others behaviour, starting with your own.

So, the first and most fundamental piece to understand when considering a Jobshare is self-awareness, take a step back and really reflect on your motivations. If you haven’t yet considered a flexible working option then it might be a useful exercise to simply reflect on how you currently spend your time to at least check that you’re happy it’s right for you by asking yourself:

“How do you spend your time?

What are the 5 things you spend most of your time on?

What are the reasons you spend your time this way?”

If you’re considering a Jobshare then you may have already answered these questions and decided that you need to make a change, so well done!. In this case, to make sure you are going in the right direction, be mindful of: Do you know what you want in your life? Why do you work? What makes you feel good at work?

Once you know this information about yourself you can articulate it to a potential partner and vice versa.   Not only will this help in ensuring a compatible match but further down the line knowing this information and importantly, being mindful of it, will help you to have a fulfilling career and also to manage your interpretation of each others behaviour in the context of what you know about your motivations.

So in a nutshell

To establish an effective partnership, you need to understand who is coming into that relationship and fundamentally, that means understanding yourself. Self-awareness is critical, if you don’t know your own motivations, you can’t conceive how you are different to others. Therefore achieving results by working with others is made more complicated.

In my next post I’ll be exploring the next natural step which is to be aware of difference. We are all different and guess what, it’s a GOOD thing. Tune in next time for more on this.

If you’d like to anonymously help to increase understanding of peoples perceptions of Jobsharing, please complete our short survey at http://www.bit.ly/ginibee_survey .  Finally, if you’d like to explore Jobsharing as a career option with a work life balance, you can register at http://www.ginibee.com .  Until next time.

The World Of Work Is Changing

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The world of work is changing; as of the 30th June 2014 everyone has the right to request flexible working, so it’s no longer restricted to parents and carers. This is a strong acknowledgement by the UK government that the world of work is changing, we all have different life priorities and are limited by one mainstream working model (40+ hour full-time), which means our career consumes the majority of our attention during the week.  Current limitations surrounding career and work life balance and part-time career progression has led to startling statistics, such as:

• Stress and anxiety cost the UK government £15 billion each year and 35% of that is due to anxiety and depression.
• 57% of UK employees say their personal lives are affected because they spend too much time at work.
• 1/3 of organisations experience employee burnout
• Presenteeism is an issue, this is where people turn up to work because they believe being seen to be working is more important than being productive at work.

If you’d like to raise awareness in your organisation of these trends and how they can respond, you can use this infographic.

It’s great news that the government is creating a framework to enable flexible working, but it’s now up to individuals and organisations to make it work for us.

Jobsharing is the only flexible working solution which offers the opportunity and responsibility of a full-time career on part-time hours, without compromising on continuity. However, to achieve this win-win, it’s important:

  1.  that the hiring manager understands how to effectively manage a Jobshare
  2. that the Jobshare is well matched and tested
  3. have their plan in place so that they are ready to hit the ground running.

Jobsharing is different to other forms of flexible working, in that successful Jobsharing develops a number of skills. Apart from a heightened self-awareness, successful Jobsharers engage in an ongoing process of communication, compromise, creating shared identity, commitment, trust and working through difference. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts about Jobsharing and Leadership, these essential leadership skills are developed “on the job” during a Jobshare, so it’s great personal development, but the set up process in terms of matching partnerships and setting their expectations of how to successfully Jobshare is essential.

The status quo of Jobsharing is that matches are made based on two people wanting to work a role part-time, often the Jobsharers have sought the partner themselves as they have been lucky enough to know someone in their department who shares the same motivations and skill sets. This is a highly risky strategy and as a result can yield both positive and negative experiences of Jobsharing. There is no doubt however, that the successful Jobshare partnerships such as those published in case studies by Deloitte, Eversheds, Lloyds, Unilever, have in common best practices which can be used to prepare Jobshare partnerships for success.

Over the next 5 posts, I’ll be sharing top tips of successful Jobsharing, which I have created based on my own experience as well as my experience researching, analysing and working with both successful and unsuccessful Jobshare partnerships.

If you are unemployed or work full-time but would like to reduce your hours, take control and join Ginibee’s Jobshare Network at http://www.ginibee.com. If you’re already a member of the network then you can attend one of the first Jobshare Accelerator Workshops that will take place in September, by registering at http://bit.ly/Ginibeews1

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