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5/20/2020

Matchmaker for perfect job tandems

These days we are experiencing through the home office phase in this corona period how flexible and efficient work can be organised even beyond traditional working models and ways. Job sharing is a flexible working time model across all levels, which Beiersdorf actively promotes.

Christina Braase

Portrait: Matchmaker Christina Braase

Anyone who is dedicated for a cause wants to make a difference out of passion. Christina Braase has such a passion: job sharing – two partners sharing a position as a tandem. After her second parental leave, she herself gained very good experience in this area and now passes on her knowledge as a diversity expert in Beiersdorf Human Resources. She encourages her colleagues to open up to the tandem idea, shake off traditional patterns and rethink their working lives – regardless of their position, whether man or woman, at the beginning, somewhere in the middle, or towards the end of a professional career.

The chemistry must be right

Two minds, double creativity, the best solutions – this is the equation Christina uses to describe the main advantage of job sharing. The most important success factor: the chemistry between the partners must be right. “The model can certainly be compared to a private relationship. First of all, the basic prerequisite is that you like each other. Then you forgive even small weaknesses and together you can achieve more than alone,” the experienced HR employee knows. In 2007, she and a colleague formed the first functioning job tandem in the HR department at Beiersdorf for five years and pioneered a concept that has been actively promoted in the Company since 2010.

With targeted counselling for tandem success

If you are looking for a suitable counterpart to form a job tandem, you don’t have to kiss frogs at Beiersdorf. To ensure a successful partner search, the existing two:share placement concept was recently enhanced and made more personal. “Digital matching using an algorithm cannot completely replace human counselling, we have learned over the years. We know the vacancies, bring people together as trustworthy, independent mediators, offer answers to important questions and now support each new tandem, if desired, with external coaching in order to optimally organize the job-sharing day during the first 100 days,” explains Christina. Flexibility has also been increased with the new concept: “Whether someone wants to work 50, 60 or more percent – everyone can and should at least be able to express their ideas so that we can develop a solution together”.

Beiersdorf specifically promotes job sharing

Beiersdorf currently has 22 tandems, 13 of which have personnel responsibility. If the Executive Board member responsible for Human Resources, Zhengrong Liu, has his way, the number will increase even further. There are strategic reasons why many job advertisements directly include the ‘job sharing possible’ option: Studies show that more and more people want a better work-life balance. Making this possible is becoming increasingly important in the competition for qualified specialists. At the same time, the well-rehearsed mini-teams are very productive, Christina knows: “If two people share the tasks, there is always at least one person there to drive things forward. In addition, you always have a sparring partner and can support and coach each other when challenges arise”. By the way, you might not feel so driven by everyday life anymore. More satisfaction and higher motivation are the consequences: “This pays off – not only for job sharing partners, but also for the company”.

Job-sharing tandem: mixed genders also possible!

Job sharing is a people issue, not a mom issue

Christina is using the tailwind from the Executive Board and the new consulting concept to create additional offerings and help more tandems get started. She sees many reasons to open up to the work-model. However, there is one prejudice that needs to be dispelled: “Job sharing is a human issue and should be left out of the ‘women’s (mothers’) corner’. For men too, time for their private lives is an important driver. We are therefore very happy about the first mixed tandems that show that new times have dawned – without these old gender roles and clichés.” With a broader perspective, it also becomes clear that job sharing can be an excellent instrument for personnel management or development – for example, to promote talent. In addition to the “senior meets junior” model, job sharing can also create scope for further studies, for example. Working on a project, e.g. outside your own specialist function, can also prepare tandem partners for a possible next career step.

The combination of experienced workforce and personnel to be developed is also conceivable in other ways: Anyone who wants to go into part-time work for older employees can pass on knowledge and best practice to junior staff in a targeted manner in order to develop subsequent colleagues gently into the job and thus facilitate the transfer of knowledge between the generations. In addition, there are many different motives, such as further training, a personal passion that needs to be lived out, or social commitment – things that you can’t find time for in a normal workload, which really make job sharing an exciting work model.

Be open and just do it

Despite numerous opportunities, ideas and positive arguments, the diversity expert knows that it takes courage and enlightenment to get involved in flexible working time models such as job sharing – this applies to tandem partners as well as superiors: “I am already looking forward to exciting discussions and the first successes of our new concept. There are still many concerns and scepticism in parts of the organization. These include budget issues and prejudices; job sharing is followed by a career break or the model is only for women. Fortunately, this can usually be overcome quickly.” This is one of the reasons why Christina’s wide open door invites you to look beyond your own nose in a confidential conversation. Her slogan: “Everybody said that’s not possible. Then someone came along who didn’t know it, and just did it.” [Editor’s note: Quote after Goran Kikic, author and mental coach]

Beiersdorf job sharing logo

Job sharing at Beiersdorf

Beiersdorf AG has been actively promoting job sharing since 2010 – for example, when filling vacancies that are advertised with this option. Job sharing is a flexible working time model in which employees share a role as a tandem, with individual division of working hours and tasks. Even complex jobs, challenging positions and management tasks that would be unthinkable in part-time employment can be managed in job sharing – so nothing should stand in the way of a career. It is important that the tandem partners are aware of the development opportunities of their joint position and that there is agreement on the path to be taken. Beiersdorf offers targeted support in this regard.

Job seekers from outside who are still looking for a suitable counterpart can turn to external exchanges such as Tandemploy, a long-standing Beiersdorf partner in this area. More information about job sharing at Beiersdorf can be found here.

 

Diana Lühmann

About the editor: Diana Lühmann

Since autumn 2019, Diana has been responsible for corporate communication related to HR and inspiring people at Beiersdorf. These include the areas of Diversity, Learning & Development, Career, Leadership, and Health. Previously, she was in charge of R&D Communications and explored the exciting world of our research and development.