HR Management & Compliance

Job Sharing–The Surprisingly Productive Arrangement

Yesterday’s Advisor busted the part-time employee myth; today, how job sharing can improve productivity, morale, and engagement, plus an introduction to the HR checklist program that helps you find problems before the feds do.

Job sharing is a special type of part-time employment in which two or more employees share the duties of a single, full-time position. Job sharers may each work part of a day or work alternate days or weeks. Here’s how it may benefit the employer:

  • Improve recruiting by attracting qualified employees who don’t want to work fulltime.
  • Improve retention by offering an alternative that may appeal to many workers.
  • Reduce absenteeism and tardiness because of the flexibility offered.
  • Give workers time to deal with family and other personal responsibilities.
  • Give the employer a pool of workers who can be asked to return to full-time work temporarily during high-demand periods or to fill in for other employees who must be away from their jobs unexpectedly.
  • Increase productivity as each partner makes sure to do his or her full share.
  • Enhance output because of collaboration and exchange of ideas between partners.
  • Increase engagement especially when a partner goes from full time to part time—instead of stress from missing deadlines, pride at getting the job done.

However, there may also be several disadvantages to job sharing:

  • Need for additional supervisory time
  • Possible disruption of work flow
  • Communication
  • Scheduling challenges for training and meetings

Job sharing may be appropriate for:

  • Jobs that cannot be split into two part-time positions
  • Tedious or high-stress jobs
  • Meeting employee or applicant requests

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Employers that think that job sharing might suit their needs should outline general procedures and even try it on a trial basis. For specific job-sharing arrangements, spell out the details in writing, including each job sharer’s salary, benefits, work schedule, and accountabilities.

In particular, concentrate on:

  • The “pass-off,” that is, the system for briefing the other partner on accomplishments, developments, and ongoing issues
  • Time at the beginning of the arrangement for the partners to plan out how they will manage together, and regular meetings from time to time
  • Clear definition of what, if any, communication is permitted/expected between the two partners

In many cases, reports say, the two partners morph into one person to clients and coworkers—after an interaction, the person can’t tell which partner was involved in the discussion.

Job sharing can make for some challenges especially if you leave it up to supervisors and managers. Are all of your managers and supervisors acting according to your policies for job sharing—and a hundred other things? How can you tell what’s really going on in your organization? There’s only one way to find out—regular audits.

The rub is that for most HR managers, it’s hard to get started auditing—where do you begin?

BLR’s editors recommend a unique product called HR Audit Checklists. Why are checklists so great? Because they’re completely impersonal, forcing you to jump through all the necessary hoops one by one. They also ensure consistency in how operations are conducted. That’s vital in HR, where it’s all too easy to land in court if you discriminate in how you treat one employee over another.

HR Audit Checklists compels thoroughness. For example, it contains checklists both on Preventing Sexual Harassment and on Handling Sexual Harassment Complaints. You’d likely never think of all the possible trouble areas without a checklist; but with it, just scan down the list, and instantly see where you might get tripped up.

Using the “hope” system to avoid lawsuits? (As in: We “hope” we’re doing it right.) Be sure! Check out every facet of your HR program with BLR’s unique checklist-based audit program. Click here  to get HR Audit Checklists + a FREE special report.  

In fact, housed in the HR Audit Checklists binder are dozens of extensive lists, organized into reproducible packets, for easy distribution to line managers and supervisors. There’s a separate packet for each of the following areas:

  • Staffing and training (incorporating Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rulings in recruiting and hiring, including immigration issues)
  • HR administration (including communications, handbook content, and recordkeeping)
  • Health and safety (including OSHA responsibilities)
  • Benefits and leave (including health cost containment, COBRA, FMLA, workers’ compensation, and several areas of leave)
  • Compensation (payroll and the Fair Labor Standards Act)
  • Performance and termination (appraisals, discipline, and separation)

HR Audit Checklists is available to HR Daily Advisor readers for a no-cost, no-risk evaluation in your office for up to 30 days. Visit HR Audit Checklists, and we’ll be happy to arrange it.