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Job Sharing - how to do it right

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Emma Gregory job sharing, flexible working, job security...

For those unfamiliar with our situation, Urbanberry Recruitment is owned and ran by myself, Emma Gregory and my business partner Caroline Wakil. We started our company in 2017 after finding ourselves in the seemingly impossible situation of wanting to work part time in recruitment. We’d worked together for years previously and always found we were of the same work ethic and standards- work hard, work ethically and take pride in what you do.  We now split the working week with one crossover day on which we both work, discussing plans for the upcoming week, assessing candidates and vacancies, catching up with clients and doing our visits. The other four days we split working two each which allows for us to spend time with our young families as well as checking the odd email!! : ) 

So why is job sharing still a bit of a grey area for many employers? How can companies make job sharing a plausible option for the many staff seeking flexible or part time working?

Job sharing is deemed to be a “risk” by a lot of companies. But why? If you pair the right people and skill set you’ll essentially be getting the very best of 2 employees- 2 heads are better than 1 after all! Worries about work compatibility, sharing responsibilities, personality clashes and cost are 4 factors that weigh on an employer’s mind when considering a job share. Done rightly however and these worries will pale in to insignificance when you are getting increased creativity, productivity and loyalty from 2 enthusiastic, happy employees .

Tried and Tested works best: For a job share to work, the two people involved need to have a similar work style and output levels. If two members of your staff have asked for a job share you need to be sure they are happy to be accountable to each other, as well as you. The two job share partners must also be of equal experience/have the same job title – don’t try to pair someone highly experienced with a junior- it won’t work.

Communication: Make sure there is an effective way for them to handover the work load at the end of their time in the office. If one person fails to make accurate notes for the other person it can lead to confusion and errors so put a foolproof handover method in place. We have a constantly updated handover system that we’ve perfected over the years!

Cost: Yes, you may find you have to pay for two people to work 3 days a week, essentially costing you 6 days of employment per week. BUT the benefits of gaining that extra days work and having the job share people have a crossover day is invaluable and can only serve to strengthen the working relationship between them. You could of course avoid this by agreeing to two and half days a week each with just an hour or so handover in between.

Clearly define responsibilities and leave nothing open to interpretation:  Make sure each person knows what’s expected of them. Are their appraisals joint or individual? If they are targeted, are they equally responsible for achieving the targets? Make it fair and manageable and you’ll have motivated and determined employees.

Remember, with a job share you will retain staff who might otherwise leave. Two members of your team who you value and who your clients love. Why are you going to hand them over to someone else? Job sharing will give them the work/life balance they are looking for and put you streets ahead of other employers.

For advice on how to implement job sharing in to your business and the benefits of doing so please do contact us! We’re always happy to give our opinions or experience from first hand knowledge of job sharing and how we make it work.

caroline@urbanberry.co.uk  emma@urbanberry.co.uk