"We may all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.”
The above adage is a sage reminder of why diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are important. This was true before Covid and has now been amplified, as a result. Managers are a big part of the boats staying afloat. To help, they must be thoughtful, empathetic and practice active listening, and this includes understanding that the unique needs of invididual employees.
By considering roleshare – opening full-time roles to joint part-time candidates – managers can retain talent, but also include overlooked clusters of talent for their roles. It's growing knowledge that diverse teams perform better. McKinsey research shows "companies in the top quartile for diverse leadership teams outperformed less diverse peers on profitability.” The same is true for a micro-team like a roleshare.
Whether a manager is hiring externally for a roleshare or enabling it for existing employees, here is our advice based on qualitative interviews conducted by our team.
1. Don’t get suck on headcount and costs.
A roleshare is 1.2x a headcount, not 2 headcounts. HR professionals have creative ways of solving this – like looking at talent budget vs. headcount. Holidays are earned pro rata and yes, you’re getting incremental costs on equipment, and in some cases health, dental, life insurance, but you’re gaining 2x the value in years of experience, and also gaining on skills, continuity, output, performance, and perspective. We’ve interviewed countless professionals in a roleshare who said they performed at their best in this arrangement.
🎧Listen to Derrik McCourt, General Manager of Customer Success and Executive Sponsor of Diversity & Inclusion at Microsoft UK, who enabled and managed a number roleshares.
2. Ask for a plan.
To ensure seamlessness, clarity, and direction within the roleshare, their core and greater team, external partners, and of course “you” the manager, a roleshare should present a joint vision and plan. It should be part of the interview process. The same applies with existing talent, before formalizing the arrangement. The plan would include their vision, operational model (things like how they’ll handle communication, meetings, division and tracking of work and projects, etc.), and working principles (things like Immediate Feedback, Being Flexible, Giving Recognition, Handling Disagreements – like their version of the 10 commandments). Roleshare.com have free templates available for anyone looking to make their case to managers for a roleshare.
🎧Listen to Sam White and Will McDonald – two fathers, sharing the executive role of Group Sustainability & Public Policy Director at Aviva – on their operating principles.
📃Download our free Roleshare Plan and Guide
3. Manage the job, not the pair.
Set your expectations and desired metrics for the job as you would normally. Treat the role as one person with one weekly 1:1 about the job, your performance review would be of the pair in the role, supplemented by any individual development feedback. You can also alternate a weekly individual 1:1 to talk about their personal growth, development, and aspirations. Based on interviews we’ve conducted, rolesharers are relatively self managed – their weekly handover, frequent communication, and a sense of responsibility they feel toward their partner is a real performance motivator and natural checks and balances. They normally really want to make the arrangement work for themselves and their manager. Now, as with any diverse team, it takes them a little longer to get into a groove, but once they do, this leads to a higher than their normal quality of output.
🎧Listen Dr. Shelagh Muir and Jane Maciver, who share the role of VP Research and Development at Unilever, about how Unilever benefits from their partnership.
4. Don’t let fear guide your decision.
Fear of being exposed, making a bad hiring decision. The pair will want to make it work even more than you do. With a roleshare you get employees with focused energy and higher levels of wellbeing. You have diversity of thought in a role that normally would not have it to that degree. You have business continuity. Even if one person leaves the company, you still have the skills insurance from the other; you can also bet he or she will want the best possible talent to join the microteam or roleshare. Sharing a role is for those who care the most – they’re highly ambitious in work and in life. By opening roles only for full-time candidates, you’re missing out on a huge cluster of diverse and qualified talent.
🎧Listen to Sherelle Folkes and Nichola Johnson-Marshall, sharing a Sr PR leadership role at Open Banking, about their approach to making it work.
🎧You can listen to more interviews on the Talk Roleshare Podcast.
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