Recently I was fortunate to be introduced to Laura Miller, who had worked 5 years as a Product Manager at Gillette / Procter & Gamble in the United States. This was a job sharing position and we are extremely grateful that Laura was willing to share her job sharing experience and insights with Sharing Tribe and our community.
How were you introduced to the job-sharing model?
After taking maternity leave with my first baby, I wanted to go back to work in a position that matched my experience and skills, but also gave me enough flexibility and time for my family obligations. I needed a job that would be as fulfilling and challenging as the one I was used to.
I knew my working colleague from before and we already had a very successful working relationship and understood each other perfectly. As we were both in a similar situation, we decided to propose to our line managers a job-sharing opportunity where we would both share one full-time position. We mapped out the advantages of that approach and luckily, they were very open and had full confidence in us. Ultimately, we were a case-study for job sharing in our company! 🙂
That sounds like a great start. What were the main advantages of your job sharing partnership?
In addition to our shared product, marketing and business skills, we complemented each other’s soft skills and we found that working together on the same role meant we not only achieved but we actually collectively surpassed our goals. Our working relationship was built on confidence, trust and mutual understanding. Also, our working styles were quite similar and that helped us be very productive which meant there was a seamless approach.
What was your working approach?
We both worked three days a week. I was available between Monday and Wednesday and she was available between Wednesday and Friday. Therefore, Wednesday was our common working day where we would work together and share all the necessary information to ensure continuity.
By using a common email address, we were able to organize and secure our correspondence. Even if we occasionally received emails at our personal addresses, we would immediately forward them to our common address so that no information would be overlooked.
We also created a transition file with the most recent information on the status of various projects. The main goal of this was to help one person pick up where the other left off and it proved to be a very helpful tool for keeping us coordinated and organized.
What are your main lessons learned?
Identify a working partner with whom you can build confidence in that both you will invest the same commitment and energy, in other words both feel and take accountability.
Listen, communicate and rationalize decisions with data. If any difficulties do occur, or you find yourselves unable to jointly make a decision as you would in any work situation seek input from other team members or your supervisor for their opinion. Last but not least embrace it with a positive mindset and enjoy it.
Personally I had great fun and really enjoyed working together with my job-sharing partner and I can totally recommend it to everyone aiming for a sustainable career and work-life balance.
How would you pitch a job-sharing model to an employer?
For a 100% position, a company receives 120% of the resources which is considerably more than if one person does the role. This is because employees who work part-time in the job-sharing working model are generally a lot more productive, they schedule their holidays to ensure continuity, any private appointments are outside of work schedule which in real terms means less absentee, better holiday and illness coverage, which in the end results in more productivity and better value delivered to the overall team’s results.
What would you advise other employees that are interested in the job-sharing model?
Find an employer and line managers who know about job-sharing or are willing to listen to the advantages and/or willing to pilot it.
However if you are unsure about how to approach a company yourself join a community who is experienced in this working model for instance the Sharing Tribe’s community. Visit their online educational and networking events and mingle with like-minded people. The chances of getting to know your future job-sharing partner are great. You can also invite your friends and colleagues to join you. Their network is well connected to employers as well!
Thank you Laura for sharing your insights and experience. We wish you all the best in your private and professional endeavors.
We have seen that Laura’s Job Sharing story was a great triumph, not only for Laura and her work partner but also her team and employer. Their triumph was built on the job sharing key success factors which are identifying a perfect match, collaboration, communication, transparency, commitment and accountability.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Laura’s Job Sharing success story, if you are intrigued to learn more about the advantages of the job-sharing model then please join our community, post a free job ad on our platform or contact us to make an appointment.