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Job Shadowing Scheme


I would like to encourage inter-departmental communications and knowledge sharing within my organisation by arranging job shadowing sessions. Can anyone advise on how effective job shadowing is as a learning/communications technique, and on good ways to start up this type of initiative?

Many thanks
Teresa Haskins

2 Responses

  1. Job shadowing
    We have run similar programmes for professionals to increase appreciation of other job roles.

    Lessons learnt from those we have run are in short;

    1. Get a clear idea of what areas you want to improve on before you start and get input from all those involved in advance to this end.

    2. Use a working document to get those involved accrediting the process as it unfolds. So for example, a checklist of things needed, taught and those needing extra training or exposure. This ensures that those who are trained through the job shadowing have a tracking mechanism on exposure.

    3. Pilot the process using a small number control intially, then review usefulness and adapt future roll outs accordingly.

    Done properly it can raise communication, improve perfomance and gain respect for those in different jobs. It can also raise issues of further training required by those doing the job.

    Surprisingly even though our work has been with different level staff that aspect was not an issue. Managers who shadowed admin staff saw first hand the effects of their instructions to them and effected change afterwards. Admin staff deepened understanding of management pressures and stress. Better team work and discussion commenced. That was enhanced by regular ‘shadowing network meetings’ so they could keep in touch.Our research shows without follow up you lose the effects of shadowing in about 6-8 weeks in organisations of 100 plus due to lack of contact.That is enough to build up the walls again. So an early follow up in semi social conditions is useful.

    Don’t expect Utopia, but it can break down barriers in a way that gives some hope.

    All the best with the project. Let us know here how it goes. We all give advice but never get to hear how it pans out!

    Training By Design Global Ltd
    0870 241 3998

  2. A low level mentoring approach
    Everyone needs to be able to ask ‘what is in it for them’, whether this is the observed or the observer. This helps people feel that they are not merely involved just becuase it seems like a corporate dictat.

    I have been in both seats, and one thing is the the benefits (expected) should be made clear to both parties, and the reasons for doing it.

    One technique is to get the two working together, to stop it becoming a static experience, in other words it feels more like a mentoring situation, which people are generally more tuned into doing. It helps both parties feel more able to accept comments and constructive criticism if a review is required. Also it supports my view that learning by mistakes helps the business understand not just what is not working but why it is not working, and if the shadowing is done as a pure shadow it always (in my view) comes across as management ‘just poking their noses in’.

    As previous comments, follow up is important, and I would suggest that you look at how the relationship with shadowers works, because different perosonality bonding. Some people have a propensity to help without actually appearing to do much. This means the person being shadowed feels less obsevational pressure, and more mentored. if you can work out who these people are with appropriate reviews, then better to use them to get maximum advantage, and means the shadowed team will feel ever more comfortable.

    regards, Pete


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