Job Sharing: Twice the Benefit or Double the Problem?

Published January 24, 2023 (last updated February 3, 2023) Molly Chandran

An often-overlooked alternative to full-time employment is job sharing. Ideally, job sharing is not meshing two part-time roles together but a split of one role between two people. For employers, it can deliver increased productivity and creativity from two people working optimally, whilst providing flexibility and high job satisfaction for employees.

Job sharing delivers impactful benefits for employers, staff, and clients. Following the pandemic, there has been a [1]labour shortage in the market which can be resolved through job sharing, and part-time and casual roles. These roles allow for flexibility, encourage untapped potential to apply, and help a range of demographics fit employment around their personal and preferred circumstances.

Job sharing significantly increases productivity as it brings two sets of perspectives and experience in comparison to one employee. It allows for collaboration and teamwork in problem-solving. Personal leave is a disruptor and cost to employers, however if both job sharers don’t take leave at the same time, the role will continue to function seamlessly. If one employee leaves the organisation, the skill and knowledge is retained, and job share acts as a buffer to a business’s continuity plan.

With Australia experiencing record-low unemployment rates, businesses are desperate to retain staff and minimise hiring costs. This is where job sharing can improve retention as it allows both career-driven achievements and work-life balance with job sharers appreciating the flexibility.

Job sharing also helps with talent acquisition. When a business decides to adopt a flexible work environment, it attracts candidates who may not have considered the opportunity previously. Dividing a role while maintaining a singular role’s deliverables can be met with hesitation by some employers. To ensure all deliverables are met, employers must ensure that communication between the job sharers and other internal stakeholders is smooth and continuous.

While job sharing presents many benefits that would help employers, some pertinent employment matters can’t be left unattended to. Employers offering job share opportunities must clearly define the role. Despite any prior or current working relationship the job sharers might share; ensuring there’s clarity on the expectations of the role and how it will be divided is an absolute must. Contractual concerns including entitlements must be clear. If job sharing is new to the organisation, the wider business will need to be informed. Company-wide communication to all internal stakeholders detailing how the arrangement will work helps ensure the wider business is kept in its pocket.

Finally, holding regular feedback sessions, and assessing the arrangement with the job sharers themselves, their direct reporting managers, and the wider business; ultimately ensures the business’s objective is met and the clients are not inconvenienced in any way or form. When executed properly, job-sharing arrangements can work in favour of any business.

[1] Australian businesses still struggling to fill jobs – NAB News

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