How to ensure working part-time doesn’t derail career progression

How to ensure working part-time doesn’t derail career progression

"After Jemma experienced barriers with progression when working part-time after her second child, she identified job sharing as a way forward."

Shelagh Collett and Jemma Yorke have been sharing the role of Business Support Manager in Retail at Lloyds Bank for over 3 years.

What has sharing a role helped enabled in your personal life and at work?

Shelagh – It has enabled me to protect my very precious working pattern, which helps me to positively balance the juggles at home versus work, and also have the confidence to know I can still be successful in more stretching and challenging roles that need full time commitment.
Jemma – It has given me the most valuable gift of time. It’s enabled me to pursue my career whilst balancing having small children that have since started primary school; I’ve had the luxury of being able to spend much more time with them in the week than I would have if I would have been working full time and the career advantages that I have if I was working full time. Now that they are both in school, it’s giving me time to do what I want to do, whether that’s DIY, exercise or hobbies.

What has it brought to your greater team, manager, organization, stakeholders?

It’s given the teams we’ve worked in two sets of knowledge, experience and skills. One of the comments we’ve had from line managers is how independent we are as we work through problems or challenges together and come up with solutions, each offering a different perspective - it’s like having your own personal coach! It’s also given the company role models, we’re so passionate about job sharing that we love to talk about it and inspire and support others on their journey, which in turn helps retain talent.

What has it done for your performance at work and how does it compare to previous roles you’ve had?

It’s really made us more rounded and we’re able to take on so much more than if we were one full-time employee. We learn from each other all the time, which has really helped us both to close off gaps on our CVs/resumes and supported our development goals. It’s also great for removing the imposter syndrome as we’re able to push each other and support each other as we take on new challenges. You always know someone else has got your back, which is a great feeling!

How did you secure and set up your job share?

After Jemma experienced barriers with progression when working part-time after her second child, she identified job sharing as a way forward. Shelagh was a stakeholder of hers and was also working in a reduced hours role and looking for her next move in to something more challenging. We had a chat about the possibility of being a match and after a few months of conversation around values, goals and compatibility and getting to know each other, our ideal role came up, so we decided to be brave and go for it! We aligned our CVs and applications and applied for the role as a job share partnership. We went prepared to ‘sell’ the job share side of it but the hiring manager was very positive about the prospect, so we found we didn’t have to. When we started the role, we tried and tested a few different ways of working and now we’re onto our second shared role which is something completely different but has shown how adaptable we can be, especially the cover we were able to offer the business during the recent pandemic.

What do you do to make your roleshare successful? 

I think understanding our own values and goals was a really important factor in getting the right match. We had plenty of conversations about that before we applied for our first role together. We joke that it’s a bit like dating, you have to find someone you get on with, someone that wants the same things from their career and that shares similar values. Like most relationships, communication is the reason it is successful, we talk a lot and are there for each other. Effective handovers are really important, we’ve tried and tested various different methods, learnt what works and what doesn’t and we have one that works really well for us.

How do you handle your personal growth?

We take time out every month for a development session to try and understand what we want to focus on and achieve, and how we plan to do this. Sometimes we work on the same things and other times we’ll focus on different areas we want to develop individually that we know will help us be more successful as a partnership in our current role, but also to prepare us for our future career together.

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