Management position on a part-time basis? Yes, with job sharing!

Jobsharing und Topsharing Jobsharing und Topsharing

How job sharing works at manage­ment level too is demonstrated by Cornelia Degen and Andrea Gehrig. The two CSS employees share the position of Section Head of the Medical Advisory Service. The tan­dem working model is approved by line managers and team members alike.

How it came about

Cornelia Degen had been working at CSS for 14 years, Andrea Gehrig for 15. Both women had held full-time management positions over a period of several years. After the birth of her first child, Andrea moved to a leadership function with overarching duties and project responsibility. The year was 2017 and she was filling in for Cornelia during her maternity leave. As such, the two CSS employees got to know each other well on a professional level. «We noticed then how well we work together and that we have a very similar understanding of leadership,» says Andrea. And this was how the job share foundation was laid. «We were looking for a new challenge and wanted to develop our careers yet have time for our families too,» is how Cornelia explains their mutual motivation.

Application in tandem

In January 2020, Andrea and Cornelia jointly applied for the position of Section Head of the Medical Advisory Service, or MAS for short. This role was advertised normally with a work volume of 80% to 100%. That the two women applied in tandem was welcomed by Jörg Bautzmann, head of MAS: «The position of Section Head of the Medical Advisory Service is a highly demanding role. It is a mediator function and requires a great deal of internal company knowledge. Of course, there were other applicants, but in terms of qualifications, Cornelia and Andrea were the most suitable for the job, both personally and professionally.» And so the two employees were able to convince line managers and HR alike of this modern working model.

In contrast to traditional part-time work, employees who share management positions share a full-time position and act as a unit. Like Andrea and Cornelia, they are jointly responsible for tasks and results. Job sharing at management level means that both managers work in tandem and fulfil their leadership duties together.

More self-organisation

Since September 2020, Andrea and Cornelia have been sharing the management of the MAS section on a 60% basis each. They also share their office workplace. At the beginning, they agreed on what would be done together and what would be done separately. They take care of certain projects according to their individual strengths and capacities. And they share the personnel management of the four teams comprising 48 employees in total. However, they are both able to provide expertise on all topics. As contact persons, they are always available for everyone and everything. The team members should not be left wondering who they can approach. But communicating with Cornelia remains very important even then, says Andrea: «We always need to know what the other is working on and what the current status is.» This works well thanks to good organisation and digital tools. The two women keep a joint to-do list on OneNote and Skype regularly.

Shared leadership – twice the energy

The two section heads need time for this organisation and coordination. But the double dose of energy, their combined experience and their large network easily make up for the extra work. In addition, all decisions are based on the dual control principle and are therefore broadly substantiated. There have not been any major disagreements between the two so far, Andrea and Cornelia say unanimously. What is clear is that trust and loyalty play a big role. «We know what makes the other tick, have the same understanding of values, and firmly believe in our decisions,» says Cornelia. Jörg Bautzmann confirms this. Right from the start, the two of them have succeeded in acting as a unit and establishing themselves in the department by handling matters sensi­tively and by offering concrete visions.