The NSW Government supports job share because it has so many benefits. As a sector, it can help us to achieve our goal of looking like the community we serve by broadening the workforce participation opportunities available.
Designed and managed properly, almost any role can be job shared. But how do you make it work? In consultation with experienced job sharers, we have developed a series of factsheets, guides and case studies on what it takes to succeed at job share, how to effectively manage job share pairs, and how to foster and encourage more job sharing in your agency.
Job share guides
These guides, divided into fact sheets so you need only read or print the section you need, provide essential information on what it takes to make job share succeed.
Case studies of those who make it work
We’ve also worked with a number of successful job share pairs across the NSW government sector to learn how they make it work. We have listened to their insights and tips and made a series of case studies which we are sharing here.
Visit our job share for employees page for case studies
Finding a job share partner
The PSC is also piloting a job share matching platform with several agencies from March 2019 to March 2020. This platform makes it easier for people interested in job share to find out more, meet other potential job sharers and see applicable roles advertised. It links potential job sharers with each other and provides them with some insight into their potential compatibility or areas they may need to work on. It also hosts resources for managers, HR teams and agency leaders on how to support and enable job share.
The following agencies are participating in this pilot (note, titles do not reflect Machinery of Government changes announced in April 2019):
- Better Regulation division, Customer Service
- Family and Community Services, Stronger Communities
- Industry, Department of Planning and Industry
- Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Service NSW, Customer Service
- Public Service Commission
- Roads and Maritime Services, Transport for NSW
If you do not work in one of these agencies, you can still job share, but you will need to use your networks, or perhaps ask for support from your HR team to reach out to others in your organisation or in a talent pool who work or want part-time in a similar role. Use the resources above to get you started.
Planning your job share arrangement
The PSC has developed an online job share planning tool, which helps new job share partners plan their job share arrangement and develop a simple one-page document to share their ways of working with colleagues and key stakeholders.
Getting off to a clear start will ensure that you set your job share partnership up for success. Planning and writing down the details of the job share arrangement and structure will align you as partners and help communication with other stakeholders.
Once the document is completed, you can print, download as a word document or share via email.
Engaging line managers through behaviourally based interventions
In the second half of 2019, we partnered with the Behavioural Insights Unit (BIU) in the Department of Customer Service and other agencies to trial an email intervention that encouraged middle managers to promote flexible working arrangements with their staff.
The project was to see how we could better engage middle managers in supporting flexible working practices, by randomly allocating managers to a group receiving either a standardised email (control group) or a behaviourally informed email (treatment group). There’s more information on how we did that on the BIU blog.
Both emails encouraged them to email their team to discuss flexible working. The treatment email used various behaviourally informed techniques to motivate recipients—including sending the email from a senior leader, using an email template to lower friction costs and highlighting how other managers encourage flexible working.
Results from the trial showed that managers receiving the behaviourally informed email were three times more likely to send the email than those receiving the standardised email. This confirms the usefulness of adopting behavioural insights techniques when crafting your communications targeting behavioural change.
However, the trial also revealed that the overall impact of email alone remains low in driving active change. Just 3% of recipients in the treatment group, and 1% of the control group, sent the email to their team as directed.
Mass emails and communications efforts raise some awareness but are unlikely to be enough to create the behavioural and systemic change needed to achieve the sector’s flexible work goals. Direct behavioural change interventions with a strong evidence base, are necessary. Here are two successful interventions across NSW Government:
- Team-based design, where you design a trial of flexible working with an entire team at once, setting parameters based on the nature of the work needed, and principles based on the ‘rules of the road’ everyone will stick to for the trial’s duration.
- The BI trial run at NSW Premier and Cabinet, where default diary settings were changed, managers encouraged to use/role model flexibility themselves, and a competition was run between teams to encourage the use of flexible working.
Working flexibly: resources for employees
Flexible teams: resources for managers
Implementing flexibility: resources for people and culture
How to implement flexible working
Building leadership support for flexible working
Change plan to implement flexible working
Flexible working policy guidance
Job share resources
HR manager skills for working flexibly
Flexible working awareness and engagement sessions
Flexible working communications toolkit
Shifting perspectives on flexible working
Typical misgivings about flexible working
Behavioural insights trial
Championing job share in your agency
How to advertise flexibility
Measuring and evaluating your agency’s progress
Using workforce data
Flexible organisations: resources for leaders