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Collaborative Recruitment with Two Clever Nelson Tasman Businesses – A Different Way of Looking at Job Sharing

Recruitment Innovation with two clever Nelson Tasman businesses

Sometimes there is more than one way to approach recruitment, such as this innovative ‘win-win’ way one of our recent placements evolved between two collaborative Top of the South companies.

Earlier this year Emily, one of our team of recruitment consultants, facilitated the placement of a Lean Implementation Manager, Tim Ward, into roles at Pic’s Peanut Butter and SeaDragon, where Tim’s time, senior skillset and expertise is shared by the two companies.

It’s a great example of two businesses thinking cleverly and partnering in an innovative way to access a permanent senior skillset – without a full-time cost outlay.

There is some amazing talent here in the Nelson region that sometimes goes to waste because businesses cannot afford a full-time staff member with certain capabilities. This concept could be very useful for SMEs in the region to harness those skills that are available here.
– Tim Ward, Lean Implementation Manager

The beginning of the recruitment process…

Originally, Intepeople began recruiting for a full time Lean Co-ordinator for Pic’s Peanut Butter.

When Emily saw Tim’s application come through she could see he had a very relevant set of skills and experience – albeit at a much more senior level.  Despite his skillset being very senior for a Co-ordinator position, she felt it would be valuable for Stuart Macintosh, General Manager of Pic’s Peanut Butter to meet Tim.

It was from this meeting between Stuart and Tim that the idea of splitting the role across two organisations evolved.

We’ll let Stuart and Tim tell the story from here…

Q&A with Stuart Macintosh, General Manager of Pic’s Peanut Butter 

What role were you originally looking to fill?

We were 12 months into implementing Better By Lean at Pic’s Peanut Butter and had a vacancy for a lean Co-ordinator/Facilitator to provide the additional resource required to support and guide Lean Improvement initiatives.

What sparked the idea of splitting a senior role across the two companies?

When I interviewed Tim I realised that he was an extremely experienced Lean practitioner, and whilst over-qualified for the Co-ordinator position could see he had the experience and capability to add significant value in-house to our Better by Lean implementation.

SeaDragon are at a similar stage to Pic’s and I explored with Nevin Amos, CEO of SeaDragon, the concept of a Lean Implementation Manager job share between the two companies.

What have the benefits of this innovative placement been for Pic’s?

As a Lean expert Tim is highly organised and capable of balancing the job share between the two companies – both organisations benefit from his experience and passion for Better by Lean. In addition we also appointed internally a Lean Co-ordinator who reports to Tim.

Successful implementation of Better by Lean is highly correlated to resourcing the programme so that Lean thinking progressively becomes the way we think and do things. The Lean Implementation Manager job share position provides us with an experienced resource in-house.

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

For SME’s it can be hard to justify the cost of the experienced resource you require on a FTE basis. A job share concept like this makes the step more manageable, particularly in the short-term.

Q&A with Tim Ward, Lean Implementation Manager at Pic’s Peanut Butter and SeaDragon

Had the concept of a role split across two different businesses occurred to you before?

No, I can’t say that it did. I’m a more traditional, loyal, employee-type person who has only worked at a single business at a time! But when this opportunity came up, I was excited about the concept of working with two different companies, and working within two separate cultures. This is particularly because business culture intrigues me, but also working to effect change within existing cultures is something I’ve become reasonably successful in doing.

What does your day-to-day look like in your ‘job share’ role across the two businesses?

I’m lucky that it’s made sense to divide my work week in two with a consistent pattern – I’m at Pic’s Monday to Wednesday and at SeaDragon on Thursday and Friday. At both businesses, the role is similar – I’m there to help the various teams get better at what they do. So my days usually consist of meeting with the operational and project teams, identifying what their current problems and issues are, and then coaching the teams in different methods of approaching each of the situations.

How do you find sharing your time and workload across two very different businesses?

I was originally concerned that there might be the need to “swap days” around a bit, leading to frustration around availability, but that hasn’t needed to happen.

Obviously, there is an inescapable need each time to get up to speed with what’s been happening with the teams in my absence, especially in the case of SeaDragon, where essentially I have a “5 day weekend” every week. However, the work structures we’ve put in place allow me to get a good picture early of how things are going and where I can be of most use each week.

Psychologically, it’s been interesting being aware of my “non-work thinking time” – outside normal office hours when I’m thinking about work things. I seem to naturally evenly distribute that processing time, rather than only think about one business or the other.

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

Firstly, it is an amazing experience. I get a lot out of helping teams develop their work processes, so to be able to do that for teams across two businesses is great.

Second, set in place some simple structures, e.g. regular catch-ups with your managers and the people you work with each week, so you’re able to get a good picture of what your focus needs to be.

Thirdly, work out what your approach will be regarding the divide between the roles. If you’re a good multi-tasker, you may be able to keep up with the emails/communications from both businesses at all times. I’m not so good on that front, so when I’m at each business, I focus entirely on that business for that day.

There is some amazing talent here in the Nelson region that sometimes goes to waste because businesses cannot afford a full-time staff member with certain capabilities. This concept could be very useful for SMEs in the region to harness those skills that are available here.


This successful recruitment initiative highlights the huge potential for more local businesses to ‘talent share’ in a similar, collaborative way. All it takes is a little thinking outside of the box!

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

  1. Hilary Reply

    Such a great idea… plus learnings from each business can be applied to the other one.. it’s so cool that tim was able to find two businesses who could utilize his talents…. since moving to nelson I have found that so many people would actually be willing to work part time in order to greater utilize the lifestyle available here.. it would do businesses well to consider that option when in pics position.. not everyone wants/ needs a fulltime job so perhaps expertise is not as expensive after all. Well done 🙂

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