When two share a job
“We want to be trailblazers and advance the cultural transformation within the company.”
Employees Celina Beci and her colleague and job-share partner Angelika Pitter are part of a pilot project at Audi. They have been working in a management job-share since March 2019 and have been jointly in charge of the Career Development Programs in Ingolstadt since October 2019. After job-sharing for more than a year, Beci and Pitter are familiar with the benefits, as well as the challenges, of this way of working.
There is still only one desk in the Career Development Programs manager’s office at Audi. Celina Beci and Angelika Pitter manage the department together, but on different days: Beci works Monday to Wednesday, Pitter Wednesday to Friday. They don’t normally need the desk on the day that they are both in the office. “Wednesday is our team day,” says Beci. Exchanging information, consultations with the team and committees are on the agenda on this day.
From trainee to head of the Trainee Programs
Beci and Pitter have worked for Audi for many years. Both started in departments that they now serve: Angelika joined Sales Europe as a trainee, Celina began as an intern in Marketing and Sales. Work placements abroad were important career stages for both of them. Angelika gained her first experience in a management position as part of a joint venture in China in which she worked closely with a Chinese partner. “At the time I found this very enriching because of the different perspectives,” she says.
Celina Beci has broken new ground with job-sharing. She decided that she would like to try a different way of working on returning to work after her first maternity leave: “I realised that a leadership role is often very difficult to reconcile with having a family and started looking for alternative ways to work.”
Then an opportunity arose: Pitter and Beci planned their return to work together during their maternity leave. “We have professional interests in common,” recounts Angelika. Then in 2019 a suitable management position came up in the HR Department. They proactively applied for this position as a prepared job-share. And it worked.
A shared learning process
They were prepared for the job by their then boss Miriam Haubner, a strong supporter of the job-share model, and by a change management and organisational development coach. “This has helped in understanding the special nature of the situation – how we shape the initial period together with the team, for example,” relates Beci. Nevertheless, the situation in the pilot model during the initial phase was unusual for both the managers and the team. “It was new territory for all of us,” says Beci. The model was and continues to be repeatedly discussed and reflected upon in regular consultations with the team. According to Beci: “It’s a learning process in which we grow together”.
Today the team is working well together, the responsibilities are clearly structured both in the management job-share and among team members. This proved to be particularly important during the first wave of the coronavirus in which everyone could mostly only see each other virtually. Beci feels certain: “The good structure brought us through the crisis.”
Innovative management model for all situations
Job-sharing is a continuous process of learning and optimisation. Among other things, the IT governance framework has to be adjusted for this. Overall, however, Pitter and Beci see the concept of job-sharing as entirely positive: “The exchange impressed me the most. Everyone has different perspectives, experiences and opinions,” comments Pitter. The two of them make the important decisions according to the ‘four eyes principle’ and support each other.
Managers at Audi can now record in their career planning whether they are interested in a management job-share. According to Pitter: “When everyone pulls together – superiors, the team and all interface partners – job-sharing can work in many positions.” And Beci, too, thinks the pilot project is important: “I’m convinced that the model is a useful addition to flexible working hours at Audi and so makes an important contribution to organising working hours to suit various life stages and to equal opportunities,” she says.