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Job-Sharing in the C-suite?

Blog Post created by 1017515 on Feb 13, 2017

Millennials are not the only sector within the workforce seeking ways to have a better work-life balance.  Senior management employees, up to and including the C-levels, are also taking steps to reduce their overall work-related stress and create opportunities for more downtime and enjoyment outside of work.

 

Job-sharing has always been a popular way to combine two part-time employees into one full-time employee.  Most often, this technique has been used to accommodate needs at positions within the company which are at a lower pay grade.  Lately, however, we are beginning to hear of organizations in which the upper management positions are being filled by more than one person at a time.  Terms such as “Co-CFO” and “Co-Manager” are being used as job titles in many positions. 

 

The responsibilities of people in upper management and C-level roles often require long hours and frequent travel.  As a result, stress and fatigue tend to go along with the job, families suffer, and even the most seasoned executives “burn out” after a while.  So much so, that these executives are finding themselves in a position with enough authority to decide for themselves that their position will be “shared” with another executive.

 

When you think about the positive aspects, it makes sense.  While it is not likely either executive will cut back to working on a “part time” basis, it is clear that neither will need to put in sixteen-hour days to get the overall job done.  Required travel for an individual can literally be cut in half.  Stress and fatigue will be reduced greatly and a more reasonable work-life balance can be achieved. 

 

Immediate questions regarding the negative aspects of this type of arrangement come to mind.  Who will make the final decision when two managers differ in opinion?  Which co-manager do you go to for a decision, or do you always have to go to both?  Does this mean salary requirements will now cost the company double?  Admittedly, there can be some confusion which should be planned for and eliminated in the beginning. 

 

Recruiting efforts to fill these “co-positions” typically pair successful candidates of like personalities, work ethic and experience levels.  To be successful, these individuals need to be able to work together, as well as find acceptable “middle ground” when dividing responsibilities.  In the case of a tie, their manager will likely make the final decision.  Individual areas of responsibility need to be communicated in the beginning to avoid confusion.  Yet, both co-managers need to feel empowered to represent and speak for the company to the degree their position permits. 

 

Negotiating salary requirements is challenging when hiring one upper level manager, never mind two.  Will each accept one-half the pay grade?  Not likely.  Will it cost you double?  Not likely.  Somewhere in the middle should be anticipated, depending on how you sell the various positive aspects of sharing the role with another qualified person.

 

Timewise, a British recruiting firm, conducted a survey of 200 senior managers and discovered 40% would consider hiring multiple candidates to fill a senior role within their organization.  The concept also allows higher management levels to tap into the collective experience, creativity and thoughts of multiple individuals from different backgrounds.  As an added bonus, co-managers enjoy a more sustainable work-life balance and are typically happier in their respective jobs.

 

Speaking out on the potential for this concept as it reaches higher levels within an organization, Lynn Rattigan, UK COO for Ernst & Young stated, “Their success stories will help to quash misconceptions, provide a set of positive role models and encourage a diverse talent pipeline of future business leaders.”

 

 For more information on the research and survey conducted on this thought provoking topic, go here

 

If you want to discuss or brainstorm the concept of job sharing please contact a member of CAI's Advice and Resolution team.

 

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