Job shadowing

  • One relatively easy way to enhance your skills and experience at work is to job shadow one of your colleagues while they are carrying out some of their duties.

    You could choose a colleague with whom you have a lot of contact in your job so that you can see things from their perspective or a more experienced colleague who can help you to develop your expertise in a specific area.  The intention is that your job shadowing will help improve your job satisfaction, help you to gain insights about other roles and departments, enable you to reflect and learn from your colleague or provide an opportunity for ‘test-driving’ an alternative career/job.

    There are also benefits for the person being job shadowed. They will share their work experiences and expertise with a colleague and can ask for feedback on how their role is seen with the job shadower’s ‘fresh eyes.’

    There are different types of job shadowing:

    • Observation – spending an agreed period of time watching the day-to-day work of a colleague for an agreed period of time.
    • Activities-based – identifying specific activities to observe as they are carried out. It can be useful to have a briefing and de-briefing session before and afterwards to better understand the activity.
    • Hands-on – carrying out some of the specific tasks of the job being shadowed – which may require some local or course-based training in advance.

    Before your start your job shadowing, it is a good idea to identify some clear objectives about what you hope to gain from the experience. You can share these objectives with the person being shadowed so that they can help you to achieve them. Your line manager can help you to identify a suitable colleague to job shadow, to establish your objectives and to make the arrangements.