Audi AG has introduced managerial job-sharing at its headquarters. Managers can work part-time sharing goals and responsibilities, each enriching the experience of the other.
Job-sharing is an innovative work model that Audi AG strongly supports. How does it work? Two managers share a full-time job and related responsibilities, with complex and interdependent tasks. The benefits for managers are many: part-time work, flexibility and the fact that the two colleagues can complete and learn from each other.
For the company, on the other hand, skills, work experience, networks and contacts double, with a very positive effect. Different perspectives make decision making more objective, while time is better managed -for example, the two people in tandem can cover for each other during vacations ensuring continuity. The model is highly valued by managers who have joined: in one study, 92% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their tandem work.
A different Monday
Managers are supported by Audi's Human Resources department, both for planning specific activities and for individual coaching.
Julio Schuback, Head of Corporate Content House in Audi Communications, is the company's first male manager in tandem. Here's how he manages his time on his days off work: "Monday mornings start with breakfast with the family and packing my son’s lunch box, then he and I walk to daycare. After that, I take care of the household tasks and prepare lunch. On my days off, I know that work emails come in, but I also know that I don't have to read them. My tandem partner, Melanie Goldmann, is at the helm and in urgent cases she can contact me via text message, which doesn’t happen very often; the appointments I have to attend are scheduled well in advance".
Working in tandem with a common vision
This innovative work formula goes along with Schuback's desire to try a new experience and fits perfectly with his family situation.
"My wife and I both wanted to be there for our son without leaving our respective jobs. In 2019, my colleague Melanie found herself in a similar situation after a year of parental leave. We have known each other for a long time, led two neighboring departments, and have similar views. So when Audi's Diversity Management department introduced job-sharing for managers, we jumped at the opportunity", continues Schuback, who then recalls the beginning of working in tandem. "Having worked together for a long time, we already knew we were on the same page, and as mentioned, we started planning this collaboration already during Melanie's parental leave. So we started right away, as soon as she returned to work".
But how best to organize and coordinate while taking everyone's needs into account? "In the beginning we had to deal with some practical issues", Schuback explains. "Who works on what days? Who schedules the appointments? Then we determined how to make handoffs without interruptions and what decisions to make together at the beginning, to have references to follow".
So the two managers divided the week into two, Monday to Wednesday and Wednesday to Friday, each working three days. Then they split as many tasks as possible, trying to attend only the essential appointments together. "In any case we are always informed about everything. From the outside, the way we work may look like a challenge, in reality we think that as time goes by even this view will normalize", Schuback resumes.
Julio Schuback e Melanie Goldmann
The reactions of Goldmann and Schuback's team, colleagues, and boss? All thoroughly positive. "The principle of co-leadership is not only advantageous for us", Schuback further explains, "because when two people share a goal and are open to learning from each other, the company also benefits. Melanie and I, for example, combine high strategic expertise with years of experience in journalism. It seems to be a good mix, so much so that after less than a year in tandem we were given responsibility for a bigger department".
According to Schuback, this formula suits those managers who are willing to share successes and failures, who do not always want to be in the spotlight, and who can follow the decisions made by others as if they were their own. "I am delighted with my decision, because it allows me to have valuable time for my family and myself", Schuback concludes.
Source: AUDI AG
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