Top 5 tips for managers of job share teams

March 1, 2017 in Jobs-Shared

All roles flex jobs shared blog


One of the most common pushbacks for job sharing comes from middle management and their fear of the unknown. Am I going to have to repeat myself? What if one of the job share team leaves? How will people know who to go to for what? And before it can even start, it gets put in the too hard basket. So this post is all about managing a job share team and how to make it successful for all involved.

I recently sat down for a chat with the super talented Michelle Redfern, founder of Thrive Consulting and Partner in the Lighthouse Group who has experienced managing a senior level job share team. I chose to hold this blog back until now because I feel Michelle embodies #BeBoldForChange. She was when managing the job share team, and she is now through her own businesses. So in the lead-up to International Women’s Day, here is one woman showing us how it’s done.

A lot of managers won’t even consider job sharing candidates, did you have any initial concerns managing a job share team for the first time? 

I’d love to say that I didn’t, but as I was leading a complex technical project, which had already had its fair share of issues, I was a little bit concerned about the way it was going to work. Fortunately, the job share team had an awesome people leader who was aware of my needs and the challenges I faced, so he did a great job of advocating for the team and selling the benefits.


What did you see as the main advantages of having a job share team over a different flex arrangement such as part-time or working from home?

One of the previous challenges for the project was that it was a cross functional team, spread all over the place. Communication and collaboration were missing, as was visible leadership. My job share team were critical in bringing that back and being able to have face time with their many team members and stakeholders.


What were your biggest challenges managing a job share team? 

Honestly nothing from my perspective! It was an awesome experience and one I talk about all the time. I think the challenges were from leaders who, like me, hadn’t been exposed to how successful job sharing can be and what a difference it can make.


One of the main concerns I hear is that it costs more to have a job share team because often you’re paying 120% to cover the crossover day instead of a full-time wage of 100%. What would you say to this? 

Rubbish! The reality is that you have two highly productive people who, in my experience, have become so disciplined about their time and productivity that they deliver over and above a standard 1 FTE week anyway. My experience as both a part-time worker and the leader of part-time and job-share workers is that the payback in productivity, commitment and attendance is evident very quickly.


Okay, now that you’ve successfully managed a thriving job share team what would be your top 5 tips?

  1. Everyone needs to be clear about expectations – on both sides. So a ‘sit down’ at the commencement of the arrangement to map out how things will work is essential. Especially who to engage with how when and the contact method preferences.
  1. No two people are the same. Whilst job-share partners have a shared skill set, their individual strengths, traits and preferences should be aligned to the work assigned. Don’t assume they are clones! Allow them to work in the elements of the role that play to their strengths. It’s a win/win!
  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. I had a ‘huddle’ with both of my job share partners on the cross-over day each week to ensure we were all on track, checked in on expectations, etc.
  1. Ensure that the job share team have a support network – even if it is an external one – of people in a similar situation. Being able to have a think tank and talk to others who work in a similar way is a great way to ensure that your job share team are supported and they have opportunities to learn and evolve from others wins and challenges.
  1. Leaders of job share teams must advocate, advocate, advocate! I talk about this experience to anyone who will listen. It’s a game changer for the future of work and the race for top talent. Job sharing isn’t just for Mum’s, although they are disproportionately represented now. It’s for everyone who wants the flexibility and wants their career to advance and be successful, not stalled because they are job sharing or working flexibly.


About Michelle Redfern

michelle redfernMichelle is the founder of Thrive Consulting and Advisory, which specialises in providing advisory services for women and specialist business improvement consulting. In addition, Michelle is a partner in the Lighthouse Group, a Leadership, Strategy and Training consultancy established in 2003 where she leads the Advancing Women practice.

Until recently, Michelle led the NAB Supplier Relationship Management transformation program, which has designed and delivered a new blueprint for SRM at NAB. Michelle has established an SRM Centre of Excellence which is lifting NAB’s in-house capabilities to ensure best in class outsourcing, supplier management, governance and innovation processes.

Before NAB, Michelle held executive leadership roles in the Telco, BPO and 3PL industries for blue chip companies such as Telstra, Serco and Aegis.
Michelle is an entrepreneurial and innovative businesswoman who is fully committed to and passionate about creating an equal and inclusive world for women.

Connect with Michelle here: TWITTER WEBSITE LINKEDIN