Why Companies Should Take Advantage of Job Shadowing

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 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.

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.
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.