Introduction by Brian Stanislas
I first met Tina and Deanna at the second HMRC Job Share Conference held in Newcastle in February 2020 (the first ever HMRC Job Share Conference took place in London in May 2019).
They were asked to deliver a presentation about their job sharing experience at the conference. In HMRC Tina and Deanna have been actively promoting job share working and the benefits this brings to both jobholders and teams for many years via talks, blogs and poems. After the conference they received excellent feedback and high praise from the head of the HMRC Job Share Network and were described as ‘excellent role models for job sharing’.
In this piece Tina and Deanna tell us about their job share story.
Tina and Deanna
How many times have you heard someone say, “everything happens for a reason”?
Well, in our job share partnership this was definitely true for us.
We were both working part time on a project in separate roles for 2 years. We got to know each other pretty well, we had previous jobs, and skills in common and we liked working together.
When the project ended, we both needed a new job and were looking for other roles within the department when we heard about a PA role to a Deputy Director. During our introductory meeting It was suggested by the director that we consider the role as a job share. He was really open to the idea and even though we had not previously considered it as an option, we decided to give it a go.
It is here that our job share story begins!
We were a perfect match in terms of the hours we did every week. We worked 5 days over 4 which accommodated our day of overlap without increasing our FTE and provided our DD with coverage for his needs
Job sharing gave us great flexibility. Balancing home and work was so much easier. We could leave work or go on leave knowing someone we trusted to do a great job continue a task seamlessly.
- It takes time to work out a system that works for both of you and your team.
- Managers need to be on board
- Some teams may think they have 2 people in post and therefore can get through twice as much work. Expectations need to be managed and teams reminded that even though there are 2 people, they are still only 1 FTE.
We spent quite a few years working as a PA, this is definitely a job that can be done as a job share and we were temporarily promoted on a few occasions as we stretched our capability. During this time, we also started to build our competencies for promotion. Unfortunately, at this time we found that a lack of understanding or willingness to embrace a job share partnership in a team meant we were put off by job holders who felt they needed a “full time person” which in fact was what we were!!!
Disappointment was not going to beat us though and when our role changed, and we took on a policy job in the Business Impact Team we were given a temporary Higher Executive Officer (HEO) promotion opportunity.
Applying for the substantive promotion in this role took us completely out of our comfort zone, but we learned the new skills needed, ensured that we were both comfortable and had a good support network i.e. us and our team. With all of this we made that step, applied for the role and were both successful.
The application process is the same as for anyone else but do not be put off, we are proof that progression is achievable in a lower grade job share. Jobs that are not right for a part timer can be met in lots of ways by a compatible job share.
What makes us great!
- Communication - We talk .... a lot.... about everything.... how we can best deliver a piece of work, how we split our time and work priorities, how our families are, when we will take leave and whose turn it is to ma
- ke the tea!
- We trust each other completely and we would never want to let each other down, this makes us even stronger in our attitude to deliver.
- We allow ourselves to disagree but always find the best outcomes for us and the team by bouncing ideas and agreeing the best way to take forward a task.
- We continually learn from each other and built on our strengths and skills to become a formidable partnership.
- Being a job share does not limit you as an individual. We have also always taken on other wider team commitments some independently and some together. E.g. Deanna is a digital ambassador and I have been involved with many people initiatives. At present we are both working on planning an away day for our Directorate, CIDD.
It is true to say that we were in the right place at the right time when we started our job share journey, but we have worked very hard for our partnership to be successful, for us to be fulfilled in the roles we have had and for others to recognise the benefits of a job share.
I don’t think we really thought about what a great working life we would have at the start or how job sharing would help our wellbeing and work life balance and even our progression to the next grade!
When we were asked to be part of the HMRC Job Share Conference and tell our story we said yes immediately!
We are delighted to be able to be part of the job share finder site helping to change the perceptions of some, to educate staff about what a job share is, and is not and that for many reasons, including progression in your career it is an option of part time flexible working to be explored.
10 years on we are still very happy and looking forward to new challenges together.
We have not only found a job share but a true friend for life and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
‘And finally ...’
If you would like to get involved in Cross Government Flexible Working Network activities, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow CGFWN on Twitter at @CrossGovFlexWkNetwork.
And you can also learn about what it’s like to work in the Civil Service by visiting the Civil Service Careers Website.