Marion with her job-sharing partner, Christian.
Marion Hellebrandt started as an intern at Tandemploy more than two years ago. She now works in the Product Team and, together with her tandem partner Christian, forms the interface between IT and the rest of the team. Marion never imagined that she would be part of the IT department. In the interview, we discussed the path to their current job, the different stations, and the advantages of job rotation.
Marion, you work for Tandemploy in the product team – in job sharing, of course. What do you do exactly? What are your tasks?
Exactly, I work with Christian in product. Together, we form the interface between IT and the rest of the team (marketing, sales …). This means that we not only inform the team about the latest features that are available on our software online, but also about new feature ideas that are still in the planning stage. Additionally, all team members can pass on their feedback or that of (potential) customers to us. We filter that and develop new ideas for our Tandemploy software.
In addition to our function as a mouthpiece, we are responsible for coming up with the features. We also work with IT to plan the release cycles and tickets (or tasks) to complete within each cycle. We have a management tool for that. In this tool, we prepare the tickets for IT. During and after the implementation by our IT, we test the software so that errors are resolved as quickly as possible and of course don’t end up online.
Christian and I share our strengths accordingly. Christian takes over more of the conceptual part (coming up with new features), as well as agreements with our customers and our designer. I am more involved in milestone planning, deadline compliance, and testing. I also regularly write the product update to our team as soon as we are back online with a new version. Above all, we are both there for the IT team and support with questions about individual tickets throughout the development process.
You’ve been with Tandemploy for over 2 years now and have been through several job rotation stations. You started as an intern for 6 weeks. How was that? And how did it go afterwards? How were your job rotation stations?
As part of my studies, I had to do an internship. I was one of the first employees at Tandemploy, which meant there was work to be done everywhere – this was lucky for me because I could look into everything. After my internship, I got a permanent position. At first, I was in marketing, but realized that this was not my thing. So, I gradually took over other tasks: I have looked after our blog, organized job-sharing meet-ups, designed workshops, etc. On the side, there were also some topics from IT. I have not necessarily wandered from station to station, but I have taken on subtasks in different areas and thus split my capacity. When it became clear that IT needed product support and I was asked to help, the decision was easy. I simply had the urge to delve deeper into the topic and better understand the complexity of IT. The “product” area did not exist before. That meant I was able to build processes here and at the same time continue to work conceptually. I have gradually given the other areas for which I was responsible to my colleagues.
What did you take away/learn from this time?
Not only did I get to know Tandemploy (and thus all areas) very well, but I also noticed in practice what I am good at and what I like. I was able to try out different areas at Tandemploy from the beginning, so I could find exactly the area in which I like to work and apply my strengths there.
What did you originally study? And did you think back then that you would work in your present position?
Haha no, I really would not have thought that. I already knew that I liked to work both analytically and creatively, but I didn’t foresee that it would be in IT. I studied business psychology for my master’s degree – most graduates go to HR. That was out of the question for me anyway. At that time, IT was an utterly remote and foreign area to me. I would never have thought that I would be part of the IT department. Only by being able to gain insights into IT processes at Tandemploy could I find my place there.
Do you have any practical tips?
Employees should broaden their view and, above all, be allowed to do so. It should be expressly desired by superiors to be allowed to look into other areas. It does not have to be for months, maybe a week is enough to gain insight. One thing we do at Tandemploy is Open Wednesday: all the staff come together and gather topics from all areas that you cannot access in your daily work routine. On Open Wednesday, all employees can look into another area and contribute to a specific topic in concrete terms. The nice thing is that not only do employees experience content from other areas, they can also provide new perspectives and input – which is absolutely valuable. We have found that this day is absolutely rewarding and we make decisions much faster.
Why should one do a job rotation?
Both employees and companies benefit when employees gain insights into other areas and network with colleagues. Because employees …
– get a better understanding of what other areas are doing and can take that into account in their decisions;
– get to know new colleagues, network and get to know important contacts;
– share their knowledge and build knowledge islands within companies;
– get to know exciting areas in their companies.
I find it crazy that there are organizations where all employees are working towards the same goal, but have no idea what their colleagues do. Job rotation is a way to connect employees, to understand work in other areas, and to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
Marion, thank you for the nice interview and the exciting insights!