Job Shadowing Improves Employees, but Most Companies Don't Take Advantage

i4cp study finds that only a third of companies offer job shadowing, despite apparent benefits

SEATTLE, WA (September 14, 2009) - Job shadowing provides a better understanding of organizations, develops skills, facilitates succession planning and helps retain employees. Despite those benefits, most companies don't offer this opportunity to their employees, according to a recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). Today, only 31.3% of organizations offer job shadowing, although another 14% say they plan to implement a job shadowing program in the coming two years.

Of the companies that do offer job shadowing programs, ownership varies considerably. Job shadowing is a part of an organization's mentoring program, according to 56.5% of respondents, and over half said that any employee can participate. Individual business units are responsible for job shadowing programs in 34.8% of responding organizations, while training and development or HR are each responsible in a little over one-quarter of companies.

"Job shadowing is a great way for experiential learners to gain broader knowledge of the processes and skill sets they will need to hit the ground running in a new position," said i4cp associate editor Eric Davis. "Like any coaching and mentoring program, though, it's critical to carefully select those to be shadowed to make sure the ‘shadow' is onboarded correctly. That aspect of implementation is where higher-performing organizations tend to excel."

Measurement of job shadowing programs is a bit mixed. While almost 70% of respondents said that they keep tabs on employee participation, only 8.7% said their organizations measure the monetary value of job shadowing. The success of the program is generally based on feedback from participants (80.6%) and managers (70.1%).

The study did reveal some gaps that low-performing organizations could take advantage of to improve their job shadowing programs. While over 40% of respondents from high-performing organizations - those with considerable growth and market share over the last five years - said they allow employees to shadow only their strongest employees, only 9.1% of low-performing organizations said they do the same. Furthermore, a similar percentage of high-performing organizations introduce job shadowing as an option during the onboarding process, whereas only 7.7% of low-performing organizations do the same.

The Job Shadowing Pulse Survey was conducted by i4cp in June 2009. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.

About i4cp, inc.

i4cp is the world's largest vendor-free network of corporations focused on improving workforce productivity. Our vendor-free community facilitates innovation by giving our members - among the largest and most respected organizations in the world - access to:
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  3. Tools to put ideas and research into action,
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With more than 40 years of experience and the industry's largest team of human capital analysts, i4cp is the definitive destination for organizations seeking innovative ways to improve workforce productivity. For more information, visit
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.