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Posts tagged ‘Job sharing’

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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Jobshare Top Tip #5: Practice Humility

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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

Why are Jobsharers More Productive and Less Stressed?

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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

Jobshare Top Tip #4: Act With Integrity

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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

Jobsharing Top Tip #3: Trust Your Partner

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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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