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Bank managers Claire Adams and Monique Peel have worked together for 10 years in a job share. They talk to Workingmums.co.uk about how it works.
Bank managers Claire Adams and Monique Peel have worked together for 10 years in a job share. They have never disagreed and feel they are at an advantage over other managers. “Being a manager of a big team is a really lonely job, but we always have someone to bounce ideas off. We can pull each other up,” says Monique. “Two heads are better than one.”
Job share pioneers like them have inspired a new approach to job sharing at Barclays, which has just launched a new more active approach to its job share register. This includes proactively matching up partners rather than leaving this to individual employees and promoting ambassadors like Claire and Monique who can inspire others to follow their example and show the business benefits of doing so.
Their job share arrangement came about at a time when such arrangements were rare and many women who wanted to work part time were forced to take a lesser paid job which did not allow them to use all their training and experience. They applied for a bank manager role at the Woking Barclays branch as a job share and were interviewed together about how they would make it work. They knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses well and were confident they could make a success of a job share. And they have.
Claire [pictured left] says: “We work together like a mum and dad. We might say things in a different way, but we are giving the same message and it will not work if people try to play one of us off against the other.”
Monique says the biggest issue is communication and explaining very early on that, for instance, staff do not have to give the same message to both managers. “Once they had told one of us that was enough. We had the same vision, values and voice and people did not have to say anything twice. And we both had the same ambition to do a good job,” she says.
Monique works Mondays to Wednesdays and Claire works Wednesdays to Fridays. The two share alternative Saturdays. Wednesdays are flexible because they work on Saturdays so they only work together on two in four Wednesdays a month. Having become best friends, they also see each other out of work and speak daily on phone and email.
When the women are together they do their planning which means they can think things over together, a benefit many other managers don't enjoy. Another advantage is that they can cover for each other’s holidays which would not happen if one full-time person did the job.
Best of both worlds
On the homefront, working part time means they get the best of both worlds and can attend school functions or do things like book dental appointments on the days they are not working.
“It would be like cutting my left arm off if I worked on my own,” says Monique. “When job shares work I cannot express how fantastic it is.”
The job share has held together over several different jobs, for instance, the pair did a troubleshooting role for 18 months and have managed two flagship branches in Woking and Kingston.
They approached Rita Ross, Head Of RBB Diversity & Inclusion, about acting as ambassadors for job shares. Claire and Monique give talks on how their job share works so that people who might be considering a job share know what they are getting into.
They feel that, having done a job share for so long, they know what works. Claire says it is essential, for instance, that a job share is treated as a partnership and not as two separate individuals and that those individuals are fairly equally matched in grades and salary. “We’re kind of trailblazers for job shares,” says Claire. “We show that you do not have to downgrade when you have children and if you want to work part time. There are other options.”
*A full version of this interview and an overview of Barclays' policies on talent attraction, for which it won a Workingmums.co.uk Top Employer Award, will be published in the Workingmums.co.uk Best Practice Report in the Spring.