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Posts tagged ‘Jobsharing’

Jobsharing In Chemistry: Lessons learned

Reflecting with our candidates over their experience returning to a career in Chemistry through a pioneering Jobshare has uncovered some interesting lessons, which I’d like to share with you in support of helping more women (and men) advance their careers in science through Jobsharing, whatever your specialism.

“Jobsharing has been the ideal solution for us both, it has enabled us to return to the responsibility and potential of our full-time careers without compromising time with our family”.  

Jane and Helen both used a Jobshare solution as a phased return to full-time employment, taking on the responsibility and potential of a full-time career without compromising family time, or needing their employer to scale down a role.

As Associate Medicinal Chemist for a Contract Research Company, their role entailed applying their expertise in Chemistry to develop new compounds.  This involves everything from researching effective routes, running chemical reactions, synthesising new compounds, and everything in between including ensuring the lab is tidy and there isn’t an empty fume hood!.  Working 2.5 days each, with a half day overlap on the Wednesday, they offered a 1FTE partnership to their employer for a 6 month contract.

At the end of their contract, they were kind enough to take time to reflect on their experience and share how they have benefitted and what they have learned.

What was your first day like?

We both went in together for the induction and then Jane came in on the Tuesday and was straight into the lab and I started the next day.”

Jane: “I wanted as much as I could for people to only have to explain once to us and actually that was a good thing as well because I’d learn once from someone and then again by teaching it to Helen and vice versa.

Helen: “For me, I wanted us to hit the ground running and for people to look at us favourably, so wanted to make sure we got it right first time with learning about the protocol and bits of kit.”

Has it been successful?

Yes it has been a success, on various levels. For us, it’s got us back in a gentler way, we wanted to fulfil their (employer’s) criteria and get back into it and both work part-time.”

“As well as the new compounds we have created, we have received positive feedback like “you’ve tried lots of different things in this area”, “you’ve achieved lots”, “you’ve made lots of compounds and answered lots of questions that needed answering”, which makes me feel like it’s been a positive experience all round.”

What were the benefits?

it is the perfect balance of career and family” – After seven years parenting, Helen could still spend time with her children around homework and clubs and Jane could spend time with her pre-schoolers and get used to new childcare arrangements.

Jobsharing makes me more focussed”. I find the pressure is on a Tuesday afternoon when I know Helen is coming in on Wednesday, I want to show her what I’ve done on Monday and Tuesday and show progress.”  Having a mid-week handover means that Jobsharers are inherently accountable to their Jobshare partner for progress they have achieved on their days, which further boosts productivity.

our employer got two brains on each project whilst only paying for one, because you don’t stop thinking about it on your days off”

We made around 25 new compounds in 6 months” – it’s always difficult to pin this as an indicator of productivity due to the unpredictable nature of research and the varying complexity of compounds, but it’s nevertheless a sign that good progress was made by the partnership.

What are the lessons learned?

Communication is key – “if one is doing the washing up all the time, there’s a certain fairness to making sure it’s an equal share (of all elements of the role), also a lot of the presentations have been with Jane and there’s a certain degree of when you start to realise that somethings happening in such a way saying “are you alright with this?, rather than letting something fester.”  Accepting the success of the partnership as a reflection of your own success is crucial and tight communication with each other is key to this.

Don’t duplicate – “we have ended up with two lab books and separate filing systems, which would mean that on our working days we were walking around with 2 lab books. Instead we could simply share a drawer and a lab book, with the rule that one of us writes up progress using even pages and the other always on odd”.

Inform stakeholders how the Jobshare works – “colleagues would treat us like we were part-time and be reluctant to ask us to do certain duties saying “are you okay to do this lab tidy because I know you’re only in 2.5 days?” – when actually one of us is in all week so we have just as much time as an FTE.”  Introducing the Jobshare to stakeholders at the outset is a fundamental step towards optimising the benefits.

Share targets – “Have common targets and see yourself as sharing the role. At the start we were set separate targets which meant that I put a reaction on on a Friday and by the time I got in the following Wednesday it had been going too long and had biodegraded.”  After about a month, it became quite different as they both focussed on the same compounds and so could ask each other to work up a reaction that one had started; it became a true Jobshare and a lot easier to work with.

Thank you to Jane and Helen for sharing their insights with us, we covered a lot more in our discussion too so please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

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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.

 

Why is Jobsharing More Cost-Effective Than Part-Time?

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.

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

Jobsharing and Leadership, in Harmony

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Since finding out that Communication and Humility are the top two traits of effective leaders (TLNT 2013), I have been wondering how much companies spend on “team building” and leadership development.  In my research, I have come across a couple of key stats; first that the UK “corporate hospitality” industry (which incorporates team building) is worth £1.5 billion (Fresh Business Thinking; January 2013) and second that in the US, companies are spending an average of $706 per learner on team building (TLNT 2013).

Add to this the result of a survey by Vodafone and YouGov, which suggests workers feel that organized team building activities can be a complete waste of time (Vodafone 2013) and another article, that claims workers would much prefer to be able to communicate with each other better at work than be forced to build rapport with co-workers by sharing “adrenaline” experiences or “trust” exercises (telegraph Feb 2012).

Combining the evidence I have come across so far, it appears that organisations are spending a lot of money on programmes which aren’t considered effective by their audience.  Surely, there has to be a more effective solution for businesses investing in developing their leaders. Something which challenges employees to improve communication, a new challenge which still focuses on their day to day role.

My research into Jobsharing so far, has uncovered that far from creating new challenges within organisations, Jobsharing simply brings to the surface issues inherent within all organisations, and indeed in personal relationships.  A successful Jobshare tests effective communication, organisation, and importantly, humility; the ability to learn from another and take on board the ideas of others to come up with a way forward together.  All of which are crucial traits of effective leaders.

Perhaps therefore, a period of “required jobsharing” would be an effective addition to a leadership development programme?  This could be with someone in a different department, someone phasing into retirement, or new skills being brought into an organisation part-time as a Jobshare.  Importantly, Jobsharing doesn’t have to be restricted to part-time, personally, I have experience of working a Jobshare full-time and part-time.  Incorporating Required Jobsharing into Leadership development would be a development opportunity for both full-time and part-time candidates.

Imagine a workplace where flexible working and leadership development were harmoniously supported. Bingo!

Should Jobsharing be part of Leadership Development?

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In a survey carried out last year by TLNT, Communication and Humility were voted as key traits of effective leaders.  Similarly, in accounts of Jobshare success we hear about the need for effective communication and humility.  Why therefore, is Jobsharing not integral to leadership development in our workplace as opposed to an exception to the rule?

Currently, Jobsharing is occasionally considered as a last resort when someone (usually a parent) wants to return to their role part-time after maternity or paternity leave.  Instead, I believe Jobsharing should be an essential part of leadership programmes within organisations, an important part of investing in people and a practical way of honing key skills which every organisation could benefit from.   Imagine a workplace where as part of your leadership development, or personal development you were expected to spend a period of time as part of a jobshare, either with someone in a different department /outside the organisation  /someone more senior who is phasing their work schedule for retirement.  Would this make for a more versatile and diverse workplace, encouraging collective intelligence and employment programmes for employees throughout their career?

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