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Job Sharing – Better together than alone

We live and work in a rapidly changing environment, with roles, responsibilities and capabilities having to be adjusted non-stop. But what about work models – what does the future of work look like? Today we take a deeper look into a work model that is becoming more and more popular. What is job sharing and why is it such an interesting option for both our employees as well as Beiersdorf? Here some of our very own job-sharers give us some insight into their day-to-day.

Sandra was looking for a new challenge, Elke wanted to share her many years of expertise. Christian wanted more time with his two children, Lena planned to return to a 30-hour job after parental leave. The motivations for sharing a job are diverse. The conclusion, however, drawn by the four Beiersdorf colleagues in their conversation about working in tandem, is the same: job sharing is a win-win situation for everyone.

Puzzle pieces that form a whole: Elke Schnutenhaus and Dr. Sandra Saladin (short: ElSa) share the position as Innovation Manager Derma & Health Care.

Elke: Sandra and I have only been working in tandem since December 2020 – you have been with us for a longer time. How did your ‘match’ happen? 

Lena: To be honest, I didn’t have the topic of job sharing on my mind. Christian knew that I wanted to come back after parental leave and contacted me directly with the proposal. We knew each other well, and my gut feeling immediately told me ‘yes’. One coffee together was enough to know I will go for it.

Sandra: Elke and I also hit it off straight away, although we didn’t know each other beforehand. We are the first job tandem that was formed through the official matching process of the HR department and with the great support of our Job Sharing Expert Christina Braase. We are a little proud of that.      

Elke: Yes, that’s right. I’ve been at Beiersdorf since 1990 and have worked in almost all categories with a focus on market research. After spending six months at the affiliate in South Africa, I approached our Diversity Expert because I wanted to share my marketing experience with a younger person and wanted mutual inspiration myself. With Sandra I found the perfect tandem partner, the suitable job in Derma Marketing came afterwards. The position came with very challenging requirements, among other things because a bridge between science and marketing was desired in the profile. The aim is to drive innovations forward at an early stage and together with Research & Development so that the product pipeline is well stocked. Sandra, as a chemist with a doctorate, knew about technologies, and I myself knew about the needs of our consumers.

Sandra: Together we have a profile from marketing and science that a single person can hardly bring along. That’s why we applied directly as a tandem, actively presented the model in our presentation, and emphasized our intersections and differences. That was an important key to getting the job. A tip that I would like to pass on.

Mixed doubles: Lena Rubarth and Christian Ludwig bringing their strengths together as Global Senior Transformation Managers NIVEA.

Christian: From my point of view, these differences are an important aspect for the successful cooperation in tandem and profitable for the company. One job, two different profiles, perspectives and characters. Lena’s internal experience was preceded by years of agency work, I have been with Beiersdorf Marketing since 2007. This combination was and is a great advantage for our task. We are driving forward the changes associated with the establishment of the new agency ‘Publicis One Touch’ for NIVEA Marketing, anchoring tools, processes, and approaches in the company.

Lena: I can only encourage others to look for a counterpart who is different from you. In areas where I don’t really feel that at home, I have learned an incredible amount by working in tandem. In theory, Christian and I initially thought that each of us would do everything. In practice, that’s not the case. Of course, we aware of the amount of tasks we have, but according to our strengths we put on our hats project by project.

Christian: That takes mutual trust and a shared sense of responsibility for what you do. And it needs flexibility when things require it.

Elke: Apart from the fact that the chemistry between the tandem partners must be right, it is important to define common values. What is important to us? How do we want to work together? The initial ‘100-day coaching’ that Beiersdorf offers to newly formed tandems beforehand helped us with these and similar questions.

Sandra: You have to remember that there may be a few issues. We have found out, for example, that the two of us unconsciously express a certain power. That’s why it’s very important to define the roles exactly - not only within the tandem, but also within the team. Lena or Christian, what tip would you give us to ensure that things go well in the long run?

Lena: According to the motto ‘nip in the bud’ you should regularly take time to pause. Are the priorities still right? Is it good how things are going right now, or is something bothering me? You need to address such things openly and adjust them if necessary.

Elke: Christian, do you know that you are a role model for me? We have known each other for a long time, and I think it is great that you work in a job tandem. Not many men do that yet ...

Christian: I’ve actually been observing the job sharing model for a while now, because I find it an interesting way to better combine work and family. Especially when both parents work full time, it’s easy to come up against limits. Of course, you need to weigh that financially, but for me, the extra time outweighs those disadvantages. If I can inspire other men to think about taking new paths through my example, even better. In the end, the decision for a part-time model, no matter in which form, is something very personal.

Sandra: Beiersdorf is very progressive in many ways, but there is always room for improvement. We also need to get rid of old patterns of thinking in society, and we need more openness and courage. Job sharing offers interesting prospects for all genders, all ages, a wide range of specialist areas, and all levels up to top management. Working in tandem is not a career break. Often the work results are better, you learn a lot and ground each other. Everyone benefits from this, both the employees and the company.

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.

Ready for the challenge?

Then apply now! One last tip: if the right opening isn’t available right now, simply activate our JOB ALERT. It will keep you informed and let you know as soon as there is a new opening in your desired area.
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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.