“Job-sharing can broaden horizons”
Mr. Schuback, what does a typical work-free Monday morning look like for you?
The day starts with breakfast together and packing my son’s lunch box. Then he and I walk to day care. After that, I deal with things around the household that still need to be done and then prepare lunch. If our kid has to go to the doctor, we usually arrange the appointments for Mondays. I’m aware of my work e-mails on free days, but I also know I don’t have to open them. My tandem partner, Melanie Goldmann, is at the helm. In urgent cases, she can reach me via text, but that doesn’t happen very often. And if there are appointments I have to attend, they’re usually planned well in advance.
You currently share management of the Corporate Content House with your colleague. How did this come about?
The main catalysts were very clearly my desire to try something new and my family situation. My wife and I both wanted to be there for our son while simultaneously carrying out our jobs. In 2019, it was a happy coincidence that my colleague Melanie found herself in a similar situation after a year of parental leave. We’ve known each other for a long time, led two neighboring departments and have similar views. On top of that, the Diversity Management department at Audi introduced job-sharing for managers. We seized the opportunity.
What was the start of your job-sharing like? What had to be kept in mind beforehand?
From our time together at Audi, we already knew that our chemistry was right and we had the same values. We began planning this collaboration during Melanie’s parental leave so that we could get started right away when she returned to work. We got inspiration from our personal networks. Right off the bat, there was a strong need for coordination. Who would work what days? Who would take which appointments? How would we arrange seamless handovers? And very importantly, what decisions would we make only together in the beginning in order to understand how we click?
You’ve since become a seasoned tandem. How are you organized today?
Since day one, Melanie has worked from Monday to Wednesday, and I’ve worked from Wednesday to Friday. Wherever possible, we split up tasks between us and try to attend just a few appointments together. Yet we’re both always informed about everything. In some cases, it can still be a challenge to be seen as a tandem in the IT landscape and share approval privileges, for example. Things like this will hopefully no longer be an issue when job-sharing becomes normalized.
How did your work environment react to your job-sharing?
“The team’s, our colleagues’ and our boss’s reactions were all thoroughly positive.”
The team’s, our colleagues’ and our boss’s reactions were all thoroughly positive. After all, the co-leadership principle isn’t just advantageous to us personally. When two people share a job and are prepared to learn from each other, I’m convinced the company benefits as well. With Melanie and I, for instance, high strategic competency meets years of journalistic experience. This seems to be a good mix. After less than one year as a tandem, we got responsibility for a bigger department. This is tremendously motivating.
Is job-sharing something for every manager in your opinion?
For those who are prepared to share both successes and failures, who don’t always have to stand in the spotlight and who want to follow through on decisions others make as if they were their own, job-sharing can really broaden your horizons. I would make the same decision in a heartbeat, because it allows me to have valuable time for my family and myself.
Job-sharing for managers: A work model with a future
Job-sharing is a successful model. In one study, 92 percent of the respondents claimed to be satisfied to very satisfied with their tandem jobs.
How does it work?
Two managers share a full-time job with complex, interdependent tasks and shared responsibility.
What are the advantages?
For the tandem:
Job-sharing offers numerous advantages for managers who want to work part-time and make their jobs flexible. It’s an exchange among dual leadership in which the two complete each other and learn from each other.
For the company:
Double the competencies, double the work experience, double the networks and contacts – these all have an extremely positive effect here. On top of that is the diversity of perspectives and more objective decision-making in a tandem. Overall, it allows for better time coverage and attendance, because the two people in the tandem can do things like cover for each other while on vacation.
How does Audi support this?
Job-sharing tandems can get comprehensive information and support from HR for planning specific steps. An individual coaching is available to promote the collaborative development of solutions for the challenges of shared management duties.