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A Different Way of Looking at Job-sharing – Collaborative Recruitment at Intepeople

Job-Sharing in Nelson Tasman - Why can't you do both? Gerry French, Intepeople and Hamish Fletcher Lawyers

You may have seen our recent announcement welcoming our new team member, Gerry French, to Intepeople. What you may not know, is that we ‘share’ Gerry with another local organisation, Hamish Fletcher Lawyers. Gerry is employed part-time by Intepeople and part-time by Hamish Fletcher Lawyers, adding up to his full-time capacity.

We have been involved in connecting and creating collaborative recruitment locally before, however, this is our first in-house experience of a ‘job sharing’ arrangement.

We’ll let Gerry explain how this engagement came about, followed by a Q&A with each party to share their experience and learnings through this talent sharing process.

Gerry, could you give us a little background about how this job-sharing role came about?

We relocated from Auckland to Nelson in 2017 for lifestyle and a desire to live and belong in a regional community. In Nelson I worked for over three years as People & Safety Leader for Nelmac a local CCTO. During the period we engaged Intepeople and Intesafety to provide a range of support to the business and I always found them to be a highly talented and fun team to work with.

In terms of the job-share gig, that was the result of a whole bunch of stuff coming together. After Nelmac, I provided temp support for the Intepeople talent team as they were flat-out busy. I jumped at the chance to work with Melisa and the Intepeople Team.

At the same time, Intepeople were seeking a permanent full-time Talent Partner which I had expressed interest in applying. Around this time, local Leadership Coach Suzi McAlpine introduced me to Hamish Fletcher. Hamish Fletcher Lawyers were looking for an HR Lead to partner in the strategic cultural shaping, performance improvement and leadership development space.

So, there was potentially these two fantastic opportunities – Hamish Fletcher Lawyers & Intepeople – which presented a bit of conundrum. So, I had a coffee catch-up with Suzi, the conversation went something like, “what should I do?”

Suzi, being a fantastic coach, asked me lots of great questions and the upshot of that was, “Well, why can’t you do both?” That started the conversation with Melisa who was 100% supportive and helped shape a schedule that would work for both firms.

Q&A with Chris McGeown, Chief Executive, Hamish Fletcher Lawyers and Melisa Kappely, General Manager, Intepeople

What have the benefits of this job-sharing placement been for your organisation?

Chris: The main benefit is being able to access highly skilled and experienced people on a job-sharing basis that quite frankly you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. In our case, we have a very specific focus area for Gerry. The dedicated nature of that work means we are very targeted on how we best utilise his time with us.

Also, not all businesses have full-time work for an HR specialist. At Hamish Fletcher Lawyers we have grown considerably in recent years but the scale of the business is not yet large enough to warrant a full-time resource.

Melisa: It’s allowed us to access the great capability that Gerry brings to Intepeople. It’s also brought some diversity to our team.

Through this engagement it’s meant that we’ve kept Gerry in the region, we don’t want to lose expertise and experience like Gerry has from the region. From an Intepeople perspective, it’s important to keep strong talent in the region.

Have there been any challenges establishing this job-sharing role?

Chris: Just in getting into a good rhythm with the part-time nature of the role. Having set times for when Gerry is available for Hamish Fletcher Lawyers and in the office allows the rest of the team to plan their interactions with him.

Melisa: It was important to us that we had flexibility for both employers through the engagement process. The engagement needed to be a win-win for all three parties. As a result, Gerry works over three part and full days each week for Intepeople, ensuring continuity of service to our clients.

To what extent do you feel other Nelson Tasman businesses could benefit from hiring in a similar collaborative way? Do you have any advice on how to make sure it is successful?

Chris: It’s good for businesses to think outside the box – we highly recommend the collaborative approach. There needs to be give and take between those involved to help manage the peaks and troughs of each business.

The job-sharing concept is also great for the person doing the work. It provides variety and stimulation and allows them to piece together full-time work across two (or more) businesses.

Culturally, the important thing for us is that Gerry is a full team member with an employment contract. He isn’t a contractor coming into the workplace.

Melisa: It’s a great benefit to be able to access good capability for any organisation and the engagement doesn’t always need to be in a permanent or full-time capacity.

For Intepeople that’s also been a driver in our Integig service. Enabling clients to access great talent in a contingent way allows them to scale their resources up or down in an agile way to ensure business delivery when it counts.

The way businesses resource themselves is changing and collaborative and contingent engagements present an excellent opportunity to ensure you have the right talent at the right time.

Q&A with Gerry French, HR & Talent Partner, Intepeople and Performance Improvement Manager, Hamish Fletcher Lawyers

How is your week structured working across two organisations? How do you manage your time and workload?

Client and candidate facing work don’t fall into ‘neat patterns’ so a straight split of days 3-2 wouldn’t work well. Yet, you do need to have a regular pattern for consistency.

The design we ended up with is two regular half days at both firms (Tuesday/Thursday), all day Wednesday at Hamish Fletcher Lawyers plus I alternate my Monday’s and Friday’s. It sounds confusing, but it’s working out.

What was your experience settling into the new roles? Starting a new job can be exhausting, let alone two at the same time!

Ha, yes, what was Michael Watkins quote in his book The First 90 days – “Starting a new job is like drinking from the fire hydrant.”

I would highly recommend spaced starting dates. I had a good six weeks of 100% temp work at Intepeople where I could focus on learning the role, getting to know the team, CRM systems and clients, and then started my role as Performance Improvement Manager with Hamish Fletcher Lawyers in early April. This was incredibly helpful in getting off to a great start with both firms.

What are some of the things you enjoy most about working across two organisations?

I enjoy the opportunities both bring. With Intepeople I get to engage broadly with a range of candidates and clients, working on finding the best available talent plus providing HR support, and I feel I’m getting to know the Nelson business network.

My role with Hamish Fletcher Lawyers involves strategic partnering and deep work around defining the culture that will bring to life Hamish Fletcher Lawyer’s vision for being known as the region’s most caring legal practice.

I also get to experience working with two fantastic teams.

What challenges have you faced with splitting your time across two organisations?

Balancing time and attention. Like everyone I’m motivated to do the best possible job I can, yet you can only be in one place at a time. So, whilst it’s important to bring focused attention, you still need to be flexible to ensure you can attend to things that may not fall neatly into the allocated time you have in one place or the other.

What advice would you give to someone who has a similar job-sharing opportunity, to make their role most successful?

Job-sharing and other forms of flexible working arrangements will continue to be a feature for the future of work. Selecting roles that are in different industries builds a range of relationships, opportunities and perspectives you might not otherwise get.

As mentioned, spacing the start date and taking the time to build competence in one role before adding another into the mix has been helpful.

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There are many benefits to this arrangement for all involved. Sometimes, a full-time resource isn’t warranted, which is the case for Hamish Fletcher Lawyers. For the employee, working across two organisations offers variety and the opportunity to build a range of relationships and perspectives.

The way businesses resource themselves is changing. This successful recruitment initiative highlights the huge potential for more local businesses to talent share in a similar, collaborative way. Remember, capability doesn’t always need to be in a full-time or permanent capacity. All it takes is a little thinking outside of the box!

Provided it is managed well and all parties are flexible when it is needed, this style of job-sharing can be a real success – as we’ve directly experienced.

We invite you to discuss recruitment options with our team by contacting us here.

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