New Work at Merkle. This is how job sharing works for managers

In an interview, the dual leadership of Delivery Management reveals why job sharing is so ingenious

Blogpost Doppelsitze Natalie Ohlwein und Nina Braschler
Natalie and Nina have shared the Delivery Management Lead since 2019.

Dual leadership = double grat. This calculation works out in Merkle's Delivery Management. Since the end of 2019, our colleagues Nina and Natalie have been in the lead here. They share the job and both also work 50% as Account Directors. We asked about the advantages of the job-sharing model for employees* and companies.

You both work full-time and still share a job. Why did you choose the job-sharing model in the management position?

Natalie: When Merkle advertised several new positions, Nina and I wanted to apply for two positions independently. During a joint coffee break, we decided that we would like to share our passion for delivery management and redesign the department. Further discussions revealed further advantages of job sharing - not only for us personally but also for Merkle as a company. By working 50 percent as Account Director and 50 percent in Delivery Management, we are close to our customers and are able to incorporate operational knowledge into Delivery Management.

Did you know the job-sharing model before?

Nina: Natalie already knew the job-sharing model, for me it was really new. We did a little more research and developed a concept that convinced Merkle. (laughs)

How does job sharing work in everyday life?

Nina: For job sharing to run smoothly, you need many meetings and calls - without mutual exchange, nothing works. We divide up the tasks equally and if someone has too much to do, we relieve each other. That works very well.

Does half a job also mean half responsibility?

Natalie: No. Nina and I are both in charge. We are both 100% responsible for all decisions that one of us makes. That's the only way the job-sharing model can work really well.

How does the division into the two different roles of Delivery Management Lead and Account Director work?

Natalie: Fortunately our roles are not in completely different subject areas. Working as an account director gives us certain insights. We use this to optimise Merkle's delivery management.

In job sharing in delivery management, are there clear areas of responsibility or do you work on everything together?

Nina: We are both equally responsible for delivery management. Only at the beginning did we set priorities because it was easier for our environment to classify. In the meantime, however, we live the job in an actual sharing model. This means that the focus areas only exist on paper (laughs).

What are the advantages for companies and employees of sharing a job?

Nina: It is cool to have a sparring partner for all decisions and funny - but also critical - situations.  We represent each other and are therefore always available for our colleagues.

Natalie: Accessibility is of course a big advantage of the job-sharing model. In addition: If there is a fire, there are always two people who can intervene. That also gives more security.

You work in different countries - Natalie in Germany and Nina in Switzerland. How does that affect your job sharing?

Nina: It is indeed the case that we now have a kind of country focus here. This is also due to the fact that Switzerland and Germany have different legal systems. These are relevant for personnel management. This division also means that we are closer to the respective teams. Apart from that, the different location means that we have a lot of virtual arrangements - but in times of Corona, these are the order of the day anyway.

How do your employees actually like having two female bosses?

Natalie: Many employees are happy that one of us is always available. We also often hear that we complement each other well. One employee even said recently that it would have been really good to have us as a dual leadership team in this unusual year 2020. We are of course extremely pleased with this feedback.

This is why Nina and Natalie complement each other perfectly as jobshares:

  • Nina has been with Merkle for 15 years - she knows all processes, standards, contacts, customers and culture perfectly. She also has a wealth of experience in delivery management. 
  • Natalie has been working in delivery management for over 15 years. During this time she has managed various digital units and gained international project experience. So she brings along rather the view from outside.