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It takes two – Job sharing at the NIVEA Face Care Lab

At Beiersdorf we are one of the pioneers when it comes to supporting job sharing. And we are doing so with a passion and full of conviction. After all, this model offers our employees in management positions optimal opportunities and for us as a company, too, the dual expertise in one position can be of great advantage. For almost a year now, Svenja Möllgaard and Dominik Göddertz share work and success as a mixed job sharing double for the NIVEA Face Care laboratory management. We have talked to them about their special constellation.

Svenja Möllgaard and Dominik Göddertz
Double power in the NIVEA Face Care Lab – Svenja and Dominik.

Svenja and Dominik, as a mixed job sharing tandem at Beiersdorf, you are quite a rare constellation. How did this come about?

Svenja: I already work in job sharing since 2010. Back then, my colleague Jessica Schäfer and I were the first job sharing tandem with personnel responsibility at Beiersdorf. Everyone was curious to see whether this model could work, and today we know that it is working wonderfully! From my point of view, this way of working – especially with children – is simply ideal. When Jessica decided to go abroad with her family and I needed a new tandem partner, our superiors brought Nic into play. They believed that we would fit together very well as job sharers in terms of working methods, which is absolutely the case.

Nic: Exactly! At the time, my function manager approached me directly about the position and I immediately said yes. I knew Svenja before, but we never worked directly together. Nevertheless, this model appealed to me very much. For a shorter time, I had already worked in a mixed double before. That was a very exciting and educational time for me!

Would you say it matters that you are working as a “mixed double”?

Nic: For me it is not important whether I work with a woman or a man. I think our success is based on the fact that we like and understand each other very well. It's like in a relationship: you have to trust each other blindly and know what the other one thinks. But it also means that you can argue well – and we can do that too!

Svenja: Not only do we work closely together, we are also jointly responsible for the results. It is important that everyone represents their points of view clearly – because only in open discussion can we develop rules for our cooperation and find a way that suits both of us. Fortunately, this is working very well!

How did you organize your work? And where do the challenges lie for you in everyday life?

Svenja: Nic works full time and I work 25 hours over a course of five days. We have a common office and sit directly opposite from each other. And of course we try to coordinate whenever possible. We have divided the projects exactly so that there is always only one contact person – however, the other can represent us at any time. And that is an unbeatable advantage!

What other advantages are associated with job sharing for you?

Nic: For me, the biggest advantage is the exchange of experience, finding solutions together and sharing knowledge. One of us always questions something critically. In the end this leads to faster, but also more mature and better solutions.

Svenja: Together we are much more creative! We notice this especially in situations in which one of us seems to be out of ideas. So far we have always been able to help ourselves. And also the high flexibility is a decisive advantage, because we can use resources the way they are needed at the moment and everyone can step in for each other. Even two parallel meetings are no problem for us, because we just split up! For me personally, job sharing also has another advantage: this working model allows me to have a great and challenging job despite my part-time work. This is something very special and I am very grateful for it!

What strengths do you value in others?

Svenja: Nic is an extremely clever head who works very structured and solution-oriented. He has high expectations and always wants to achieve the best for the respective situation. At the same time he keeps a cool head and an overview even in stressful times. I learn a lot from working with him and it's great that we can achieve so much together.

Nic: I can only return the praise! Svenja is simply unbelievably passionate and works with her heart and soul. She fights for her ideas and is never obstinate, but always result-oriented. But the best thing is that she is a very positive person, has fun with everything and we can laugh a lot together.

What do your colleagues think of your job sharing?

Nic: I think for some people it's funny that we share a job in which I work full time. That may be rather unusual, but it makes a lot of sense with our volume of work! Besides, the position was already filled before in job sharing, but in a different constellation. That is why all employees and colleagues are used to it.

Svenja: Right from the start, the team was very open to working in tandem. It's great that everyone sees the advantages and supports us so well. But, of course, acceptance by the supervisor also plays a major role. I have always had optimal support here, especially from our current boss. This is very helpful and not always a given!

What tips do you have for other tandems or those who are interested in this job model?

Svenja: I don't think there is a magic formula for successful job sharing. What works well for one tandem might not work at all for another. It is important to go your own way as a tandem and find your own rules. Both sides have to be very open to the ideas and thoughts of the other.

Nic: It's like in a good partnership: You have to talk to each other a lot. As soon as things get stuck somewhere, a common solution has to be found in the conversation. I am also firmly convinced that a tandem can only work perfectly if you are sympathetic, work together and can rely 100 percent on each other.

Svenja and Nic, thank you very much for the interview and further on good luck for your job sharing!

Kathrin Erbar

About the editor: Kathrin Erbar

Since 2017, Kathrin is responsible for communication on HR related topics, including e.g. diversity, learning & development, leadership or new work. Before that, she was very much about the figures when she was responsible for financial communications at Beiersdorf for several years.

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