The benefits of job shadowing are excellent for students, employees returning to the workplace or anyone wanting a change in career direction. It allows you to learn from professionals with expertise in your chosen area. After that, you can determine if it’s the right career path for you.
This post explains everything you need to know about job shadowing, including guidelines for what to look for in a company offering a job shadowing placement.
Job Shadowing Definition
What is Job shadowing? It’s sometimes called work shadowing, serving as on-the-job learning. Often, job shadowing is part of onboarding a new employee who follows and observes an employee within a company.
The objective is to learn the skills associated with that job. After that, the shadower might consider joining the company and commencing training for a new career so they can do the same job.
What is the Purpose of Job Shadowing?
There are several reasons for job shadowing, including the following: –
- Career Development: A junior employee may shadow a more senior employee, or it could be a career progression. An employee may want to assess if they would enjoy a promotion they are considering and the required competencies for the role
- Leadership Development: many organisations encourage budding leaders to shadow senior leaders to learn the art of leadership
- In-house Training: shadowing is ideal for an employee considering a career move within a company. It prepares them for the time they transition into the new role
- Onboarding: A company may assign a new employee to an experienced staff member to learn the ropes
The Benefits of a Job Shadowing Program
There are many benefits to a company establishing a work shadowing program, and it’s helpful for employees from many angles. Gaining a multitude of skills in the workplace can significantly increase your value as an employee.
Orgnisational Benefits: –
- Low-cost employee development: Companies usually create a work shadowing program internally, and it is easy to implement once established
- Increase in productivity: Learning new tips and efficiency tricks can help employees become more adaptable to taking on work tasks and, as a result, are better at their jobs
- Improved employee relations: Learning how other people work and their responsibilities can increase peer engagement, especially if the shadowing is cross-departmental. Those mentoring may also gain an increase in job satisfaction by teaching others
- Developing future leaders: Employees learn every aspect of the organisation’s business structure and the people helping to build its future. They get to see what is involved in leadership and gain valuable insight into how the company works as a whole
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging(DIEB): Increase engagement and retention across diverse demographics
Types of work shadowing
The work shadowing experience may be slightly different with each industry type, but you can expect to do all or some of the following: –
- Observe: you shadow someone throughout their working day, observing and asking questions when appropriate
- Practical experience: After watching for a while, you will practice implementing some of the tasks under supervision by your mentor.
Preparing for a Work Shadowing Experience
Firstly, ask for an agenda, as correct preparation enables you to gain the most benefits from job shadowing.
Secondly, prepare a list of exploratory questions based on what you know and what you would like to learn.
Questions to Ask When Job Shadowing: –
- What qualifications and skills are essential for your role?
- What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
- Are there any challenges in this role? If so, what are they?
- How can you progress in this field?
- Can you work remotely?
- Are flexible hours available for your job?
- Can you recommend any courses, books, videos or websites I can visit to learn more?
- Would you do anything differently if you started again?
How to Make the Most of Your Job Shadowing Experience
Job shadowing opportunities are an excellent way to advance your career. Therefore, making the most of your time with a mentor is vital. Be proactive, ask questions (ideally starting with the prewritten questions) and take copious notes. You may think you will remember everything, but storing new information is challenging if there’s a lot of it.
Tip #1: Ideally, if you are joining the workplace as an external candidate, choose an organisation with a healthy work environment. Job shadowing in a toxic work environment is unlikely to be a pleasant experience.
Tip #2: Get involved. Ask your mentor for hands-on experience and request feedback. Tell your mentor that you are open to criticism because you are keen to learn and take responsibility for tasks.
Tip #3: Always be professional. Show respect and consideration towards your mentor, and be polite, even if the mentor does not have good communication skills.
Tip #4: Be fearless. Take this opportunity to get out of your comfort zone because accepting new challenges will help with personal and professional development.
Tip #5: Afterwards, send a thank you note to your mentor, expressing gratitude for sharing their time, knowledge and expertise. Ask if you can come back to them if you have more questions.
Planning an Organisational Job Shadowing Strategy
Adding a work shadowing strategy into the workplace can add exceptional value, and it needn’t be expensive to set up.
Firstly, decide upon the reason for a mentoring program. Secondly, calculate the cost of taking an employee away from their regular job. Finally, research where the knowledge and expertise gaps are in the workplace and who is qualified to help upgrade employee skills.
If you’re running an in-house job shadowing program, figure out what incentives will encourage employees to participate. The program should enrich the employee experience, enabling them to learn new competencies to enhance their career. It can also help increase engagement and retention rates.
For the mentors, seek employees who actively want more responsibility, perhaps those wishing to transition into leadership roles.
Finally, track all efforts and outcomes of the work shadowing program to assess the efficacy of it becoming a long-term strategy.
Guidelines for Implementing a Job Shadowing Program: –
- Choose a mentor and a shadow and discuss expectations, timescale and potential outcomes
- Liaise with line managers and the shadow, detailing specifics such as core objectives and length of time and assigning the shadow’s current job tasks to another employee
- Issue a request for review
- Agree on specific timelines
- Create an action plan, including job shadowing tasks
- Implement the job shadowing
- Track the job shadowing weekly
- Provide feedback to the shadow, mentor, manager’s and stakeholders involved (if appropriate) and measure data based on outcome objectives
- Use the feedback to fine-tune the program
When setting up a new work shadowing program, decide what you want to achieve. For example, reduce external hires by training internal staff or cross-training employees for specific roles. In addition, goals should be easily measurable with established guidelines.
If the task is virtual job shadowing, it can be trickier to track but not impossible if you select quantifiable data from the outset.
The primary focus of initiating a job shadowing program is that employees, leaders and managers understand the reasons for the program. Tell them how it might lead to future career opportunities, higher salaries, and add value to their current role.
Job shadowing is a learning and development opportunity that can significantly increase job satisfaction by increasing engagement in the workplace.
Are There Any Cons of a Work Shadowing Program?
Although job shadowing is an excellent strategy for employees, there can be some limitations to implementing it within the workplace: –
- Reduced productivity: If staff are away from their primary job, it can cause a temporary dip in productivity. However, in time, the gains outweigh this minor issue
- It can be tricky to organise: Navigating the logistics of aligning employee schedules can be problematic
- Encouraging employees and managers to engage with the program can be tricky. To increase engagement, it’s essential to specify the benefits to the workforce
Conclusion: The Fantastic Benefits Of Job Shadowing In 2023
Job shadowing in Web3 is an excellent opportunity to upgrade employee skills, beneficial to the organisation and the staff involved.
Work shadowing may help increase organisational engagement and retention rates, primarily due to enhanced job satisfaction. Long-term employees can sometimes become stagnant, doing the same job every day. Getting them out of their comfort zone and learning something new helps them reawaken their work interest.
As an employee, adding additional skills to your resume is an excellent benefit. If you decide to leave the company, you can add the details to your resume. Job shadowing can also prepare you for a leadership role in your current company.
Web3 careers are in demand. Upgrade your skills by job shadowing and find a new lucrative position in this expanding industry. If you need help getting started, talk to the CB Recruitment specialist team, and let’s explore your options.
James was a superb manager, always happy to help and direct me to the best solution. He made my time at Hays very pleasant and helped me to build my confidence. He guided me well through my journey and with hand on heart is on of the best managers I had pleasure to work with.
Dominika Zakowana BArch (Hons)
Architectural Technician/ Surveyor at Ampersand Associates