Job shadowing

From CEOpedia | Management online

Job shadowing is a career development and growth opportunity program for an employee of the company to learn about the job in other teams or departments. The idea of the job shadowing is that an employee that requested shadowing has a chance to work with an employee who conducts a shadowing for one day. This program allows employees to learn more about the job in other departments, broaden their existing knowledge about other teams and acquire new skills (Buzzeo J. and Cifci M., 2017). Many companies provide job shadowing opportunities in their organisations to encourage employees to learn about other teams and broaden their knowledge about the company.

Job shadowing

In order to get a job shadowing employee has to agree on the details with his line manager and share his interest with the manager of the team, where a shadowing will be conducted. This allows the team, which will be hosting a shadowing session to better prepare for the session and allocate people for this activity. It is also common, that more than 1 person can be the host of job shadowing program. Once the host team is ready, the employee, who requested a job shadowing is invited to the team on an agreed day. It is worth mentioning that an employee who is going on a shadowing does not have to perform his or her job duties while one is not at the desk.

On the job shadowing, a person (or a team), who is conducting the session provides an overview of the tasks and responsibilities of the team. Depending on the objectives of the employee, the shadowing might focus on different aspects of the job. For instance, an employee might select a senior manager for a shadowing session to get mentorship and to learn more about management. The positive side of such shadowing is that employee has the freedom to ask for advice or questions (Rony Z. T., Lubis M. F. and Rizkyta A., 2019).

Another way of shadowing is called "observation" shadowing, where an employee is simply observing the host. This kind of shadowing experience might better fit employees that have recently joined and who have little idea about the work of other teams. Furthermore, this kind of shadowing might be used prior to employment to get the first reaction from the candidate (Morell B. L., 2016). The positive sides of such shadowing are that the candidate will better understand if the job suits him or her and the employer might use shadowing as a marketing tool to interest the candidate.

At the same time, for the host job shadowing can become an opportunity to confirm his or her competence and expertise. This can lead to job promotions in the future, as the managers and HR can use job shadowing activities to compare candidates for promotion. As a result of job shadowing, a development path for the host can be proposed on where one should concentrate to grow (Rony Z. T., Lubis M. F. and Rizkyta A., 2019).

It is also very common that universities cooperate with the corporation and organise job shadowing programs to give students a better understanding of what is needed to become a specialist in that firm. This can also help students to understand what kind of job they will be searching for in the future (Alexander E. C., Mader D. R. D. and Mader F. H., 2017).

Job shadowing is a very powerful program that is used by many companies to develop the skills and expertise of their employees. This program can help employees to see the bigger picture of the organisation as well as to learn new skills.

Benefits of job shadowing

Below you can find the benefits from job shadowing:

  • Job shadowing can help potential employees and students to understand the requirements for the role and what knowledge is needed for the job (Alexander E. C., Mader D. R. D. and Mader F. H., 2017).
  • Job shadowing can be used to teach a new joiner on the job tasks and activities one will be performing.
  • Job shadowing program is a powerful tool to learn from others by observing how they are doing their job.
  • Job shadowing can broaden the knowledge of an employee about organisation and business.
  • The bigger picture that can be seen on the job shadowing can help employees to see where they can create more impact in their organisation.
  • Job shadowing can be used by managers and HR to assess the knowledge and expertise of the program host.

Examples of Job shadowing

  • An employee in the Human Resources department may job shadow a member of the IT department to learn more about the inner workings of the technology used by the company.
  • A customer service representative can job shadow a manager in the sales team to understand the process of closing a deal and the strategies used by the sales team.
  • An office assistant can job shadow an accountant to understand the basics of accounting and the procedures and processes used to complete financial tasks.
  • A marketing professional can job shadow a member of the product development team to understand how products are created and developed.
  • A project manager can job shadow a senior executive to learn how to effectively communicate and manage the executive team.

Limitations of Job shadowing

One of the main limitations of job shadowing is that it is not suitable for complex jobs and positions. Job shadowing is usually limited to witnessing the job being done, rather than actually performing the job. As such, it is not suitable for positions that require complex tasks and processes. In addition, job shadowing may not be feasible in some cases due to safety concerns, such as when shadowing in hazardous environments.

Another limitation is that job shadowing is time-consuming and may require a lot of preparation. Shadow programs may require the host to provide additional training and instruction to the employee shadowing them, which can take up valuable time and resources. Moreover, job shadowing can also be disruptive to the team or department, as there may be more focus on accommodating the shadowing employee.

Finally, job shadowing may not be suitable for positions with a high turnover rate, as the shadowing employee may not have enough time to observe and learn the full scope of the job. This could lead to a lack of transfer of knowledge and skills. Job shadowing may also not be suitable for certain positions that require a high level of confidentiality, as the shadowing employee may be privy to sensitive information.

Other approaches related to Job shadowing

One approach related to job shadowing is coaching. Coaching consists of a manager or supervisor providing guidance and advice to an employee to help them develop and improve their skills. This approach can be used to help employees advance in their current job role or to gain experience in a new role.

  • Mentoring is another approach related to job shadowing. This approach involves the manager or supervisor providing advice, guidance, and support to an employee. Mentors often have extensive experience in the industry and are able to provide objective advice and guidance to help an employee develop professionally.
  • A third approach is cross-training. This approach involves an employee learning about different roles within the company in order to gain a better understanding of the organisation and its operations. This can help employees become more knowledgeable about the company and can help them develop skills which can be used in other roles.

In conclusion, job shadowing provides a great opportunity for employees to gain knowledge and experience in areas outside of their current role. Other approaches such as coaching, mentoring and cross-training can also help employees develop professionally and gain a better understanding of the organisation.

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Author: Nikita Shtemenko