(Flexible work in the Tandemploy office. © Mai / Heygster)
Three years ago, the Berlin-based company Tandemploy launched the job-sharing platform of the same name and since then has become an integral part of the HR scene and discussions about the “future of work.” The interest in working models and tandem matching on the platform has not subsided – it represents a very concrete way to really shape work differently.
In the meantime, a lot has happened. With its new software, Tandemploy is flexibilizing entire companies – from SMEs to global corporations – from the inside out.
Anna Kaiser and Jana Tepe, the two founders and managing directors of a 20-strong team, told us in an interview what this is all about and what their further plans are.
Your job-sharing platform has already received awards more than 15 times and there is hardly a media platform that hasn’t reported on it. Why is there something new now – and what is it exactly?
Anna: We never stop, of course. With our job-sharing platform, we are still aiming for job seekers to find tandem partners with us, so they can apply as a pair (as a jack-of-all-trades, so to speak). For companies, we’re tapping a new target group of highly qualified, talented people who are intentionally looking for other jobs.
Jana: On the other hand, there are of course millions of people who already work in organizations – and want to have more flexible forms of work there. And for companies too, the pressure to be more agile and therefore more competitive is increasing considerably.
Anna: More and more companies came to us and asked for solutions on how to make their work models more flexible within the organization – and to match their employees with tandems.
What happened next?
Jana: That’s when it “clicked” – and based on our Tandemploy technology, we developed software that companies can now use internally. This software goes far beyond job sharing – but of course it still has that building block. In addition to job sharing tandems, our Tandemploy software also brings together colleagues for mentoring tandems, projects, or a job rotation or a job switch.
So, job sharing was your first concrete starting point for another working world – and now you are making it more flexible?
Anna: (laughs) Yeah, that’s about right. Tandemploy is now much more than job sharing. To make an organization more flexible and slowly break up rigid structures and silos, a mosaic of flexible working and collaboration forms is needed. Job sharing is definitely one of them – but there’s even more than that!
Tandemploy.com was the world’s first job sharing platform. What is special about your software?
Jana: It’s the first flexibilization software that’s used by the employees themselves (bottom-up!). It’s not HR and the management that make the difference, but rather everyone together. Each employee creates a profile and automatically receives matching suggestions for suitable colleagues with whom he can share or exchange a job, combine his knowledge, or implement a project. In this way, employees develop initiative and, above all, concrete solutions rather than having problems with their executives. And HR finally gets authentic evaluations about what the employees really, really want.
Anna: There is just so much to do in the whole topic of “making work models and structures more flexible!” It is the theme of “HR-Trends 2017” and is considered the most important prerequisite for the successful digitization of business processes and models – but, on the other hand, it is far too often labeled as a “fashion topic.” It’s absolutely critical to success and therefore vital for survival.
Are there any examples of how companies have flexibilized from the inside out with the Tandemploy software?
Jana: We had expected the success of our software, but we were still surprised quite a bit by the intensity of it. In the meantime, several DAX companies (sometimes also worldwide) are using our software – and now more and more medium-sized and smaller companies are joining in.
Anna: The response of the employees in the companies is great – because only the use of the software shows them, “You can (and even should!) help shape the future of work; it’s not an empty statement for us, but rather something that we want to tackle together with you!”
In the 4 years since Tandemploy’s founding, you have done a great deal; you have been able to get things going in the world of work. What has that done for you, as entrepreneurs and as people? What has changed at Tandemploy itself?
Jana: We have grown as people, as entrepreneurs, and of course as a company. Soon, we will have 25 team members – which is a very different situation than just three of us – to design things on the drawing board and quickly discuss it across the table. We also need rules and rituals to be able to work together as flexibly as possible. We’re experimenting a lot with new ways of working and we always want to preserve the greatest possible openness here, as well as our optimism and joy.
Anna: As entrepreneurs, we naturally feel a social responsibility. We young companies can actively change things, go new directions faster – maybe even set new standards. A trainee recently told us that we had messed him up for the job market forever, that he could never work anywhere else. That’s the nicest thing that can be said to Jana and me – even if we expressly wish that it will be the other way around, and that the job market becomes more and more flexible and more humane because of our work, at least to some extent
What are your upcoming plans? What’s next?
Jana: We just completed a financing round of 3 million euros and brought great investors on board. With the former Finance and Human Resources Director of SAP, Dr. Ing. Werner Brandt, as well as the founder and managing partner of the hkp /// group, Michael Kramarsch, we have gained two incredibly experienced strategic partners who share our vision and with whom we will now focus on promoting further development of our software.
Anna: What’s coming up – Jana has already hinted at it briefly – is, first of all, the further development of our Tandemploy software and its features, and, most importantly, the grassroots flexibilization of our working world. Flexibilization is simply not a top-down process that somehow diffuses throughout. That just doesn’t happen; you’d be waiting a long time.
What is your vision?
Jana: We are changing the world of work. We won’t be satisfied with anything less.
Thank you very much, Jana and Anna, for your time and the exciting insights!
Tandemploy has been developing innovative HR technology for flexible work and job sharing since 2013. The Berlin-based company is known for its job-sharing platform, Tandemploy.com, and recently took its software one step further. It is world’s first cloud-based flexibilization software that really puts people in the spotlight. Here, employees create the oft-proclaimed “Future of Work”: bottom-up, self-motivated, integrated into their daily work routine, and suitable for the respective corporate culture. In a closed space, each employee can create a profile and easily find interesting colleagues within the organization by means of smart matching – for example, for projects, job rotation and mentoring tandems.