Different Job Sharing Arrangements

Work-life balance has increasingly become an important factor in talent acquisition and retention for many employers. As we argued in this blog, job sharing is a way to enable employees, esp. women and millennials,
achieve a greater work-life balance.

When setting up a job sharing arrangement between two professionals (jobmates), there are three general models to consider that may best fit their needs.

Job Split. A job split model allows for full autonomy of the two jobmates. In effect, it represents two loosely coordinated part-time jobs. As an example, two dental hygienists may be covering a full-time position at a dental office, working completely independent of each other. One hygienist may cover all morning appointments while the other covers all afternoons. There’s not much of work handoff between the two, but the way they record the information about the visit must be consistent.

Pure. A pure job share represents two people doing essentially the same job over different schedules, like different hours of the day or different days of the week. In this model, the two jobmates are interchangeable. As an example, two software developers can share a full-time position, each working on the same project and the same tasks. Work handoff is therefore of utmost importance so a jobmate can continue the work on his/her “on” day without wasting any time figuring out what the other jobmate did on their “on” day. They work virtually as “one individual”.

Hybrid. A Hybrid job share provides a model where the two jobmates share some responsibilities and split others. This model may be more suitable for management and leadership roles where their complementary skills will be vital for business success. As an example, two leaders, one with technology background and another with strong business background can be paired to run a business together. This model also has the benefit of the two jobmates cross training each other.

Three special cases of job sharing are worth mentioning here.

  • Time Swapping. A special case of job sharing deployed within Cisco is called Time Swapping, in which two employees swap a percentage of their time (e.g., 20%) to do the other person’s job for a period of time. This is a brilliant approach for cross training employees, growing more skills within the company, and supporting employees’ career goals and growth. Besides, it will be appealing to the millennial generation and their “gig” mentality.
  • Top Sharing. A term that has been used in some organizations to specifically refer to job sharing at the highest levels (Directors, VPs and C-level, including CEO positions) is “top sharing”. It is an important distinction to make which highlights that job sharing should not be thought of as a work-life balance solution for employees at the lower levels of the organization.
  • Two-in-a-Box is a form of top sharing with the exception that the two jobmates are generally full-time employees and with distinct complementary skills. It has been used for decades by companies like Intel, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, and others to manage complex organizations and businesses, and more importantly, to groom future leaders.

Check out Job Pairing’s suggestions for “WORKING TOGETHER AS A PAIR” under our templates & tools