I'm starting something I've never done next week.

One of my team is returning from Maternity leave, after being away for a whole year. She is returning 3 days a week. To ensure I continue to have the Full Time Equivalent in the position I have hired someone else to do the other 2 days of the week.

I am excited about this, as I think with the strength of our process, I should be able to get 2 heads for the price of one, get lots of new ideas and still get what we need done.

There are a number of nay-sayers within the organisation who say the job-share style arrangement will be hard to do and there will be lots of challenges. I can see it may be difficult to manage, the constant handover etc.

However the reason for this post is to see if anyone in the RBCiverse will have any advice or warning bells for me to be aware of going into it?

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Jon shares can work but there also can be misunderstandings. Both people need to know exactly what is expected. Sometimes things can be missed because one person thinks the other person is going to do something or some part of the job and yet the other did not understand this. Also will the person returning from maternity think that she is working back into a full time job? What are her expectations? Is the other person just wanting part time work?

Often the best way for job sharing is to make them a team. The job is all about doing it together. So they are given time to meet together to make sure they both know what is going on and can solve problems together. If they never see each other it gets to be kind of like the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. If they are in competition, that can cause problems.

Hope it helps.

Liz Cosline
Life ownership Coach -
The three biggest areas are making sure they understand the goals, their specific roles in achieving them and how they will communicate effectively--both with one another and with others--to make sure there are no gaps.

You can communicate the goals through standard KPI and Job Descriptions. I would tkae the current position's and tailor it to make it current. I would then ask for input on how they might change it with the goal of achieving the KPI's.

I would also assign any tasks that may be specific to one or the other. For instance, if distributing a report needs to be done on Thursday then make sure the one working that day understands it up to him/her. Again, asking for input on these will help with buy-in.

I would then set down and discuss what are the possible communications issues, e.g., how will they handle getting a message from you that their work partner needs to know. What are the specific issues that may arise and what are the specific methods for handling them.

Job sharing can be great if they continue to see themselves as a team. It can also become a nightmare if someoen doesn't pull his/her weight. It can also become a political hot potato if they become defensive and blame failures on each other. Good luck.
I agree with your concept of getting two for the price of one. While I am not managing such a relationship my wife has been in a job sharing situation as a professional in a hospital setting. There is a lot of coordination in passing on case priorities but the two individuals involved have worked out a system that makes it work. The advantage to the organization is the flexibility of redeploying one of them to another unit if needed on a short term and the fact that they back each other up for illnesses and vacation. It seems to be a win-win.
I've done this in my search business before. The smartest thing I did was "team" bonusing them. The rivalry dropped the first week when they realized they could make more by working in tandem. I left them to sort it out.
- David Perry
The employees I have coached through this arrangement have all struggled to some degree with having more work than they can accomplish in their newly redesigned role. In their desire to show that they can successfully work part-time, job share and/or telecommute...they work many more hours than they are scheduled to work. It took lots of communication, excellent time management and prioritization skills for the employees involved to balance the work load and make the situation satisfying for everyone.

In the end, the employees that pursued this arrangement said they appreciated the companies' willingness to work with them and ultimately the flexible schedule made the "extra hours" they worked managable.

Keep in mind, others will come forward and request "job sharing" arrangements for their position too...A well-prepared response will prevent frivolous requests. "Job sharing is considered on a case-by-case basis...requests must come through management..."

Good luck, the challenges are worth it when you are retaining excellent employees, like we did.
What a great thing to wake up and find this morning. Thanks for all the responses, gives me heaps to think about and confidence in the decision.

Heather, Mothers are amazing workers! Compared to taking care of babies, work feels like a vacation. My wife always tells me I go to work for a break... :)
What a wonderful thing to say (Ok type) Thanks Heather, made my day.. ahhh

Fingers crossed it all works OK

Heather Bussing said:
Breaks are important! :> Sounds like you are a great boss and a great dad too.
don't complicate things with jargon Roo; get the three of you in a room...

describe the entire position - using a checklist

tell the two to divvy up the responsibilities with the only caveat being that everything must flow seamlessly beginning to end

sit back in your chair and let it happen, facilitating as needed.
As always Mr Levy, you are the man. This is my aim. I am a huge fan of the uncomplicated way of doing things.. soo much easier to remember.

Steve Levy said:
don't complicate things with jargon Roo; get the three of you in a room...

describe the entire position - using a checklist

tell the two to divvy up the responsibilities with the only caveat being that everything must flow seamlessly beginning to end

sit back in your chair and let it happen, facilitating as needed.

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