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Job Shadowing - What It Is and How We Do It at Parkside

To optimize the onboarding process of our new colleagues, we decided to try out the concept of "job shadowing". Find out how exactly shadowing works, who can benefit from it and how we do it at Parkside Interactive.

The concept of job shadowing originally comes from the USA and describes a method in personnel development. It is an on-the-job training in which the (new) employee accompanies other colleagues for a limited period of time and observes their daily work. As a result, the person doing the shadowing gets impressions of other departments, workflows, processes and challenges.

Summary

What is job shadowing?

As the name suggests, the term “shadowing” implies following another person/colleague around and observing them at work in order to learn about the particular job and the field of activities. Unlike in an internship or trainee program, the observer is not doing anything himself, but only watching others do their work.

How long a “shadowing unit” lasts is not strictly determined. From just one day to several weeks, different options are available, depending on the goals and the time available. Which departments are covered is also not specified. However, the more areas of the company the person doing the shadowing gets to know, the better his/her general understanding of the company and/or job will be.

Who can job shadow?

In many companies, job shadowing is used to train managers, whereby prospective team leaders accompany existing managers to learn from them. Corporations also offer this to people who want to join the management team — to make sure they are aware of the problems in the operational area. This method is also ideal for highlighting professional development opportunities. 

However, as mentioned at the beginning, job shadowing is particularly suitable for newcomers and junior employees. Getting to know different departments, processes and ways of working leads to a holistic understanding of the company on a long-term basis.

Benefits of job shadowing

It is well known that after some time in the same team/department, a certain degree of operational blindness sets in. No wonder, when you work with the same colleagues on the same topics every day. Teams, therefore, benefit from job shadowing when a member gets to know work processes that he or she has not seen before. 

The company itself also benefits from the job shadowing program by reducing silo thinking. Vice versa, the person doing the shadowing benefits from cross-departmental knowledge and can integrate these insights into their future day-to-day work. In addition to learning from each other and exchanging experiences and ideas, job shadowing contributes to networking, a better feedback culture and collaboration between the different departments.

Conclusion

Reducing silo mentality, cross-functional understanding, holistic approach and, above all, great social networking are just a few of the advantages of the job shadowing as a concept. The greatest benefit, however, is the versatility of this on-the-job training model — whether it is used to train managers, to highlight job opportunities, or to provide management with insights into day-to-day operations, problems and challenges. 

At Parkside Interactive, we have already explored shadowing as a new personnel development model and our overall experience was very positive.

Marie_Williere Shadowing at Parkside
Shadowing at Parkside Interactive —
our colleague shares her experience
Job shadowing provides a wide range of benefits. That’s why we tried out the format as an onboarding process. Our new colleague Marie was the first to test this concept.
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