Exploring the potential of job sharing, especially at senior levels, is one option available to organisations looking to build a more inclusive talent pipeline.
Through our Women’s Leadership Programme we support businesses to develop more inclusive cultures which can create a more diverse talent pipeline. We see first-hand that the businesses most successful in creating diverse senior teams are those open to exploring positive solutions, and research from the ‘Power Part Time List’ shows that job shares are one of the solutions being adopted. It revealed a record number of senior job shares and showed that more than two-fifths of employers would now consider hiring for a senior role as a job share. This is being attributed to more organisations looking to change their traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, way of working as a way to attract and keep the very best people.
There is no doubt that job shares do require a commitment from everyone involved. They need a leadership attitude and workplace culture focussed on outcomes, rather than time spent in the office. But they can be an effective way of retaining and progressing talented employees. It enables them to meet the demands of challenging, business-critical roles, while still working genuinely part-time hours. Here are just some of the ways it can benefit both businesses and employees.
A more diverse senior team
Flexible working practices, including job shares, can help businesses to plug the much referred to ‘leaking pipeline’ of female talent. Christina Youell, the co-founder of our Women’s Leadership Programme, describes job shares as talent partnerships. She said: “Through job shares, you find a talent shortage fix, where women can balance work and caregiving. If it’s the same person you need 40 hours a week, and that’s all you’re open to hiring, they’re generally male. Talent partnerships open the door to more women remaining in the talent pipeline.”
Job shares won’t just appeal to women either. Progressive organisations are developing more inclusive, flexible cultures which suit everyone’s lifestyle and working needs throughout their careers. This supports business in attracting and retaining a wider mix of skills and experience, leading to increased innovation and better decision making.
In the current competitive recruitment market, businesses are working harder than ever to enhance their employer brand. Being seen as an organisation which embraces flexible working opportunities, and supports employees to achieve a work-life balance, will appeal to people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Job shares enable employers to offer part-time working hours without compromising on providing a full-time level of service, people management and strategic input.
Job shares can also be the solution to retaining high performing employees who need more flexibility due to a change in personal circumstances. The Job Share Project survey revealed that for 87% of respondents, job sharing had meant the difference between staying with a company or leaving. Unlike going part-time, job shares reduce pressure on employees to try to fit five days of work into fewer hours. It can also reduce the impact on the engagement of the wider team. They are less likely to feel they are left picking up extra work or lacking in management support.
Increased innovation and engagement
Two people in one role can bounce suggestions of each other and bring different experiences to the table. Senior employees are often faced with challenging situations and as the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Those in the job share are also likely to be more productive and engaged. They can focus on work when they are in the office and not be distracted by trying to juggle personal commitments.
Inspirational case studies
As the Power Part Time List shows, more businesses are adopting job shares and gaining the benefit of full-time expertise and productivity, while offering the flexibility of part-time working. Many of these organisations are proactively sharing their stories of how job shares have worked for them and their employees. This gives businesses more background and informed advice on how it could work in their own company. Further advice is also available through organisations such as Working Families. Plus, our expert consultants at Pure can support and advise clients on how job shares could work for them.
It is important to recognise that job shares won’t be right for all employees or organisations. Our focus is more on encouraging organisations to consider all potential options that could support employees looking for more flexible working practices. We are seeing more employers using lateral thinking and creativity to introduce more fluid working practices and remove any inadvertent barriers to flexible working. It could be a mixture of flexitime and extended working hours, compressed working hours or the opportunity be able to work from home as well as in the office.