Job sharing is a cost effective alternative to part time work, both from a management and individual’s perspective.
- For companies, job sharing is a means of retaining talent and flexibility in a changing employment market. There is also evidence from a UK study that job sharers can actually be more productive than their colleagues.
- For individuals who wish to reduce their work hours, job sharing may protect their career prospects because part time roles are often seen as limited to lower level or less responsible roles.
- Job sharing may be the ideal solution for people who want to scale down their working hours to manager family commitments, as they approach retirement or for other life style choices such as pursuing further studies or training for competition sports.
Job sharing is not new. Many companies already have a job share program in place, however it tend not to be widely utilised by staff nor recognised as cost effective option by managers.
Liz de Rome and Lynne Wenig recently completed a ground breaking project with IBM Australia. The project involved the development of a job share workshop for managers and potential job sharers at all levels (ref: Sun Herald, 22 June 2003). The workshop was short listed for the EOWA awards for best new initiative in 2003.
The IBM experience demonstrated that, although there had been a job share policy in place for some time, it was apparent that managers and potential job sharers needed more encouragement and support to undertake job sharing. The IBM program provided that link by focusing on three key areas:
- The benefits to managers and job sharers
- Identifying and managing the issues and risks
- How to find a compatible job share partner.
We offer a number of options for organisations that are interested in promoting job sharing:
- Tailor our workshop to suit your operating environment. The aim of the workshop is to ensure that people are aware of the benefits and risks of job sharing. We provide practical exercises in developing job share agreements to optimise their success in the interests of all parties.
- Undertake a review of the current status of job sharing within your organisation (e.g. What is the current policy? What types of roles are currently shared? What proportion of part time workers are job sharing? How do people find a job share partner? What works/ doesn’t work well? How could the process of establishing a job share arrangement be improved?). The product would be a report with recommendations for any changes to current policy or procedures to support or encourage job sharing.
- Develop an implementation strategy. This may include a communications program to promote the benefits of job sharing (e.g. articles in staff newsletter) and the workshop for managers and staff.