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Job sharing – how to make it work for your business

The world of work is constantly changing, shifting to meet the needs of both employers and employees. For the modern worker, flexibility has become the cause célèbre. No longer happy with the archaic nine to five structure, today’s workers strive for work-life balance, and employers who are open to this new way, are starting to witness the benefits.

As well as improving your employee’s work-life balance, there are notable benefits for employers; an increased competitive advantage, widening talent pools, happier employees, and improved retention, are all but a step away.

However, for many employers there’s a common barrier. We often hear employers ask, “how can I offer flexible/part time roles when the role I need filling is full-time”? There are various solutions to this, and one answer is to consider offering job shares!

At Capability Jane, we’ve been at the forefront of promoting and facilitating job shares, and we’re increasingly seeing our clients embrace job shares and their benefits. If you’re not convinced, by the end of this blog you will be. We’re going to cover some of the main benefits that job sharing can offer, along with some tips on how to design job shares that work for your business.

Increase the size and quality of your talent pool

As the competition for talent rages on, any opportunity to widen your talent pool should be seized with both hands. By offering job shares you’re opening up your opportunities to a new swathe of talent. A recent study by The Institute for Public Policy Research found 5.1m people in the UK feel they are unable to utilise their skills fully in the workplace …that’s a lot of underused talent. Many of those are women who are unable to find roles that fit in with their responsibilities outside of work. If you add to that statistic that 45% of the working population would like to work flexibly or part time, it’s clear that there is a pool of highly capable talent that is being squandered. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review stated that it is now the “brightest and the best” that are moving to this way of working. By offering job shares, you will be able to increase both the size of your talent pool and the quality of talent available to you.

Can your company afford to ignore job sharing?

Job sharing can deliver a competitive advantage for SMEs

Larger corporations, whilst aware of the benefits that job sharing can offer, often find it more difficult to introduce newer patterns of working due to bureaucracy. Smaller companies on the other hand can implement flexible working patterns more quickly, and in turn access a wider pool of talented people. This can deliver a competitive advantage over larger employers, allowing you to attract and retain the skills you need to strive forward with your business objectives.

Increase the range of skills and experience

Finding the right talent can be tough, especially when hiring for senior roles. Finding one person that can fulfil the whole of the person spec is often a pan-pipe dream, and most employers just make do with a ‘best-fit’ employee. However, by recruiting two people with complementary skills, you get a hire where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Two brains for the price of one …. surely a win-win for any employer.

Increased productivity and continuity

Getting two employees for the price of one also has other benefits. It’s been well-documented that offering job shares increases the productivity of the role in question. By expanding the balance of skills on offer, the experience available, and the brain space to tackle the tasks at hand, more gets done in the time available. In addition, many job share partners pick up the slack during holidays or other absences, greatly improving continuity in your business.

Retention of staff

For many employers, the idea of a job share often comes about when a valued member of the team requests one. By facilitating the request, the benefits can be clearly identified, such as the retention of an experienced and valued team member. However, why not take it one step further by advertising all vacancies as a job share? By doing so, you could increase the likelihood of gaining and retaining high quality, experienced staff.

So, how do you go about designing a job share role?

There are several ways of a creating a job share. However, the majority of job shares broadly fall into one of the following categories:

Pure job share

In a pure job share, both employees are jointly responsible for the whole role. This often works best for well-defined and highly structured roles.

Job share split

In a job share split, the role is divided into 2 separate areas of knowledge and skills, and recruitment is tailored towards finding complementary skill sets. A job share split works well in complex roles that require high levels of flexibility and knowledge.

Hybrid job share

The hybrid job share is a subtle tweak on the ‘job share split’ where both partners are equally responsible for the role but divide it up between them to meet their specific skills and strengths. This works well with self-aware employees that already work well together, have complementary skill sets, and a good level of rapport. This is more common when building a job share for current employees.

At Capability Jane we can guide you through the entire process; from designing the role, to drawing up the candidate specification, sourcing, selection and recruitment. We can help you find the candidates you need. If you would like to know more, please contact us for a chat or join one of our flexible working webinars.