Can't find the talent you need? Have you thought about a job share partnership?

Kristal McNamara and Shelley Snelson

Often our clients come to us as they have tried to fill roles themselves or through other agencies and they haven't been able to find the right mix of talent, experience and skills.

Most of them haven't thought of trying job sharing, they haven't experienced hiring a jobshare and aren't aware of the benefits or how to go about it - in short, filling the role the way they always have done (9am-5pm Monday-Friday) just seems easier. And maybe it is easier, but if you aren't finding the talent, then maybe you need to try something different.

12 February 2018

The benefits of job sharing are compelling;

  • Two heads - two set of ideas - much more creative then one person

  • Differing, complimentary skills - a mix you can't get from one person

  • Confident decision making - they will check in with each other and not need to refer to their manager as much

  • Risk management - with better attention to detail due to the job sharing process, as well as checking in with each other on these regularly

  • Efficiency - they will be more productive in the hours they work - fact!

  • Process - they will be on top of the workload due to the need for excellent process management

  • Culture - they will be great role models for your full and part time staff, research shows they will be happier, healthier and more productive

  • Gender balance - the majority of job sharers are women and it can be a way of attracting women to more senior roles

You're hiring, how can you try it?

You don't need to make a long term commitment to start with, you could trial it as a pilot. Change your job spec to say that you are open to flexible working and happy to accept applications from job sharers. You may be lucky enough to get a partnership come to you as a pair, it's more likely you will get single applicants wanting 3 days a week each.

In the latter case, you would interview them individually just as you would in a full time recruitment process, and then offer the best two the role. They don't need to meet each other as part of the process, or be interviewed together, they are colleagues and you should expect them to be able to work together just as any colleagues would. It would be worth introducing them to each other after they've accepted the role, so that they can start planning their successful start.

How will it work?

Normally one partner will work Mon-Weds and one Weds- Fri with a day together in the middle for handover, strategy and planning. There are two options for how they will work together, you will need to work with them on the best approach for your business (and can trial either);

  1. Sharing everything; literally both managing and overseeing everything, having processes in place to handover and keep up to date.

  2. Splitting out responsibilities; for example taking responsibility for their own projects, or taking responsibility for their areas of work and keeping their job share updated - this only works if things can be put down for a few days.

How do you hire the best candidates for a job share? Focus on;

  • Hire people who fit in culturally, they should have a similar work ethic, they don't need to be best friends, but knowing they are both equally committed or motivated is key

  • Complementary skills - not an exact match of skills or experience, you want ‘two heads’ and two different sets of ideas

  • Don't expect the finished article. They may also be new to job sharing themselves, or may be returning to work after a career break, think of the long term.

  • Google employ new staff based on their 'Googliness' not "are the right for this job right now?" but "do they have ambition, excitement and the right cultural fit?". Can you give them support and training to close some of the skills gaps? Google focus on hiring 'talent' first rather than 'skills' first.

  • When they are in the role, communication, motivation and process will be key, so make sure they have these core business skills.

Flexology, based in Bristol are the Flexible Working Experts in the South West, we work with our clients to help bring their existing flexible working policies to life and help their existing staff thrive. We support our clients to attract the best talent to their organisation by helping them with their recruitment and induction process. Get in touch to find out how we can help