Senior HR Directors see better work/life balance through a job share

Senior HR Directors see better work/life balance through a job share


Industry: Real Estate

Roleshare: HR Director

"We’ve never been more organised and on target to our strategic plan, because we are not only accountable to our organisation and team, but also to each other."

- Hannah and Rachel, Senior People Business Partner, Directors (job share) at CBRE.

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

Sharing a role has allowed us true life balance, whilst maintaining our career that we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We each have four days a week dedicated to family life (we both have a toddler and baby) and three days fully committed to our role as Senior HR Business Partners (Directors in a global firm), although we are both currently on maternity leave. Importantly, we feel energised whether it’s a work or "home" day, which means we are motivated, creative and productive at work, and that on our home days we value the quality time we have with our little ones, truly switching off from work with the knowledge that our job share partner has it covered. It has also meant that on our home days we can dedicate time to @thejobsharepair, which we created as a social media platform to promote the business and personal benefits of job sharing as a form of flexible working, after seeing how little take-up there has been in the UK.

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

It has meant that key decisions have had the benefit of both of our ideas, experience and approach. We’ve never been more organised and on target with our strategic plan because we are not only accountable to our organisation and team, but also to each other. Our team have benefitted from varied management styles, with full commitment to their development, and like our key stakeholders, benefit from our similar values but different skills sets that complement us in our role. We think that two minds in our one job has enabled us to give a more rounded, considered and experienced approach in all that we do.

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

When we returned from our maternity leave, our department was going through a state of flux which could have been demotivating, but we were motivated to achieve for each other. In terms of performance, there is no doubt that two heads are better than one, our skill sets complement each other and we are able to personally develop and learn from each other. Our role share has truly allowed for diversity of thought, which has enabled us to be more innovative in our joint approach, benefitting our stakeholders, team and organisation. The beauty of role sharing is that you have someone to bounce ideas off, it’s a really unique micro team, and we think it’s a way of working that would be really difficult to ever step back from!

How did you secure and set up your job share? 
We had worked in the same department with each other for a number of years before we both went on our first maternity leave (our first children were born within 6 days of each other). When on maternity leave we discussed our desire for more flexibility at work to enable us more balance and broached the idea with our line manager who was interested in talking about it further. In preparing for this, we did our research - we really thought about how our job share would work in practice, including how we would communicate and handover, lead our team, work with stakeholders and various other factors, and discussed these with our line manager and key stakeholders, who, luckily, were so supportive and excited about what the partnership could achieve. We then spent time creating our guiding principles in our job share, which was important to us so that we could ensure we always presented as one and give us the best chance for success. Since we’ve created @thejobsharepair we’ve met and networked with other job sharers who have given tips for working practices and success and, with experience, the way we work together has evolved.

What do you do to make your roleshare successful? 

We think there are 3 main things we focus on to enable us to be successful in our role share. Firstly, we have become absolute experts in communicating with each other-our handovers are structured, detailed and well thought through, and we are truly focussed on our cross over day to get things done. We also put great emphasis on how we communicate with others (our team, clients, stakeholders etc) to ensure that we are seamless in our approach.

Secondly, we are structured in our working operating model. We make our key decisions together and trust each other to make the little day to day calls. We jointly manage our team, taking it in turns to lead individual weekly operational meetings but monthly one to ones together, and similarly we try and fit as many strategic meetings in on our cross over the day. We may work on certain projects and casework alone aligned to our skills and experience, but we lead our strategic plan together.

And finally, our values and guiding principles to our job share mean that we know what matters to each other, how we work with each other and importantly, sets boundaries. We work on the basis that a home day is just that and have clear boundaries in place with each other and our stakeholders to protect that.

How do you handle your personal growth?

We have shared business goals, and individual personal development objectives aligned to our own upskilling in these areas. We are fortunate that we are able to learn from each other in our roles. For example, Hannah is more experienced in people management and leadership and Rachel is in employment law and is more innovative in her approach.

We also think it is really important to grow as a job share partnership, so we network and share ideas around ways of working in a job-sharing arrangement through @thejobsharepair, learning from others’ experiences and learnings too.

👍👏❤️ Follow the @thejobsharepair on Instagram

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