A Job Share Proposal Your Employer Can’t Refuse
We all need more time. In today’s world there simply is not enough time to get everything we need and want done. Unfortunately it is frequently those things that are most important to us that are left by the wayside. Work is, more often than not, what saps most of our time and energy. Life balance is hard to achieve. There are, however, ways in which to resolve this issue; ways in which you can reduce the impact of work on the rest of your life – without quitting your job outright. One of these is job sharing.
Job sharing is where two employees share the responsibilities of one fulltime position. You don’t have to change jobs for this; often your current position can be redesigned into a job sharing position. It is a matter of your suggesting this to your employer. But, before raising the issue with them, you need to be well prepared. This article shows you how to cover all bases so that you can get your job share position with confidence.
Does Your Job Lend Itself to Job Sharing?
Firstly, you need to decide whether job sharing is indeed viable in your position. You have to put your case forward to your employer, so it must be solid. You must consider the following:
- Can the job be logically split on a task, time or customer basis?
- If the job is shared, can contact with customers and co-workers be handled effectively?
- Can there be sufficient continuity between the two employees sharing the job?
If all of these criteria can be met, then your position has the potential to be shared.
Approaching Your Employer
A casual chat with your boss is not the way to go about creating a job share position for yourself. This is a business consideration and, as such, it requires a proper proposal. You need to have thought everything through beforehand and put together a targeted proposal that will convince your employer to accept this idea.
Your proposal needs to include the following:
- The benefits of job sharing for your employer: they must know what is in it for them.
- Details of the position as a job sharing position: show them how the work can be split. They must know that all duties and responsibilities of the job will be covered.
- A proposed work schedule: They must be aware that this will still be a “fulltime” position.
- How the job sharing will be handled: it is important that your employer sees how the job sharers will work together and that this arrangement won’t have a negative impact on the department or the company.
- Any other information that may dispel potential concerns: you employer will have concerns (certainly if this concept is new to them); you need to include as much detail as possible about the arrangement in your proposal so that they feel secure and positive about it.
Now we go through each of these areas.
Benefits of Job Sharing for Your Employer
If job sharing is new to your employer, you are likely to stir up some discomfort. The may be concerned that, firstly it will have a negative impact on their business and, secondly, that it will require a lot of work on their side. What you need to do is allay their fears. You must show them that it will actually be good for the company and that the transition is easy.
So, their benefits:
- Job sharers can trade time which means that they can cover each others’ vacation time and any absences. The department will not struggle with fewer members of staff.
- Job sharing means the company has access to more skills. Not everybody has the same talents and experiences and, even though the job shares are doing the same work, they can bring in attributes that serve the department in other ways.
- It can in fact reduce the work of a supervisor. Job sharers will need to ensure that their work is properly planned and scheduled between them thus requiring less supervision.
- Scheduling and workload can be more efficiently handling. When the workload is high, sharers’ work times can overlap. Then during quieter periods, there can be a gap.
That’s all very attractive, but now the employer may want to know what they have to do. This is where you do most of the work for them, starting with:
The Position as a Job Sharing Position
When you have decided to request a job share program, you need to present your employer with how it will work. They need to know that the job will get done and done as well as – if not better than – previously. Here is how you go about changing your current position into a job sharing position:
To start with, list all of the duties and responsibilities of your position. Be as thorough as you can. Use more than only the official job description; include all of the other work and functions that you perform on a daily basis. Nothing must crop up that hasn’t been considered; furthermore, this exercise shows just how much you are contributing.
Then, for each item on this list, note whether it is to be:
- A joint responsibility – for example, both employees are responsible for keeping a database up-to-date on a daily basis.
- A specific responsibility - in other words, it will be handled by only one of the employees.
- A split responsibility – for example, one employee calls 20 clients a week and the other employee calls 15 clients a week.
Now group the tasks together in order to form two “job descriptions”. As you do this, be mindful of the following:
- Group tasks that fit together logically.
- If you already have a prospective partner for job sharing, think about individual skills and preferences when dividing up the work functions.
- Consider how long each task takes so that they fit with the employee time split. (Time and job functions can be split evenly or unevenly according to the job requirements and needs of the employees.)
Now you have the specification for your position as a job shareable option.
Determining a Work Schedule
There are many ways of drawing up a work schedule for job sharers. It can be customized to suit the employees and the company. The important factors to consider are:
- The responsibilities of the job and requirements for effective performance.
- Handover periods or communication between the job sharers.
- Integration into the department and office.
The most common schedule is for job sharers to work on different days of the work week. For example:
One employee works on Mondays and Tuesdays together with Wednesday mornings; whilst the other works on Wednesday afternoons, Thursdays and Fridays. If the job sharers need a significant time of overlap, sometimes they would both work, for example, a full day on Wednesday. Or perhaps they only require a 30 minute handover period.
Job sharing may not be an even split; one partner could work Monday and Tuesday and the other, Wednesday to Friday.
You can also consider: One works Mondays and Wednesdays whilst the other works Tuesdays and Thursdays and then they work alternating Fridays. Or, both work a five day week, with one working in the mornings and the other in the afternoons.
See what you feel would work best for the job sharers, the position and your employer.
How the Job Sharing Works
You have the two job outlines and a proposed schedule, but there are other issues that you need to consider and have prepared. These are queries your employer is likely to have and, if you are prepared, it makes it easier for them to assess your proposal (and say yes):
- How will you and your partner be supervised?
- Will you communicate with the office on your days off? If so, how (e-mail, phone etc)?
- How will equipment and office space be handled? If you need anything at home, who pays for it?
- What will the handover procedures be?
- How will you ensure that there is no duplication of effort or errors?
- How will a work plan be developed for the two of you?
- How will performance appraisals, goals and opportunities for promotion be handled?
- Will the rest of the department be affected?
- How will daily issues be resolved?
- How flexible will you be? (In terms of changes in the workplace, meetings scheduled on your off days, office emergencies etc. Establish this from the start so that there are no misconceptions.)
- How will you communicate with your partner, your customers, your co-workers and your supervisor?
- How will compensation and benefits work? Salary is usually pro-rata, but the handling of benefits may need some consideration.
Make sure that you show that job sharing will work smoothly, easily and effectively.
Covering Employer Concerns
Even though you have shown that job sharing is possible and even beneficial for your position, employers may still have concerns. These are issues that you must consider and then also include the information in your job share proposal.
Job sharing requires team work. The sharers need to work together in order to produce the best result and get the job done as if it were one person in a fulltime position. You need to demonstrate that you have good communication skills. Do this by citing examples in your work where you have come to the fore in this area.
Your employer may be concerned as to whether you will be able to handle job sharing responsibilities. You need to include all of your skills, achievements, contributions to the company etc. - much like a resume. Show that you have what it takes.
What about finding a partner? This can certainly sound like work to an employer. You must present a plan. It is best for you to be involved in the selection as the two of you need to work well together – plus it alleviates your employer’s effort. Perhaps you already have somebody in mind otherwise contact employment agencies and put out advertisements.
The Job Share Proposal
Now that you have all of the information, ideas, possibilities, you need to put it into a well-written proposal. These will be the main sections:
- An introduction explaining what your proposal is about.
- A piece explaining the benefits for your employer.
- An overview of your current position and then a detailed description of how it can be split into two jobs.
- Your proposed work schedule.
- Details of how the job sharing will work.
- Information to cover any other queries.
Putting together a comprehensive job share proposal is the key to getting your suggestion accepted.
When you talk to your employer, you want to be prepared for any objections or concerns that they may have regarding your job share proposal. For this:
- Do some background research on the company - see how a job share position can fit in with company values or environment. A common and easy reply to your request is that job sharing has never been done in the company previously or that it is not policy. You need to show how this new approach can fit in – and fit in well.
- Get to know your boss – understand where he or she is likely to question this suggestion. Work out some well-reasoned answers.
Talking to your employer about this proposition is like going for an interview, so you need to be prepared.
This may all seem like a great deal of work but it is necessary if you are serious about getting a job sharing position. This is a business proposition and, as such, needs to be well-thought-out and convincing.
It is very easy for a company to say “no” or make some sort of objection that cuts off your chances. If you are prepared for most of it and show that job sharing truly is a viable option and one that could be of great benefit to the company, your chances of getting what you want are high.
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Image credit: Anibal Pees Labory