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Faculty of Social Sciences & Health

Shadowing Scheme

What is Shadowing?

Job shadowing is the opportunity for a colleague in one area of the University to temporarily work for short periods alongside, and benefit from the experience and skills of, a colleague in another team.

Shadowing might look like (but certainly isn't limited to):

Fly on the wall

You may spend time observing the day to day work of your host. This may involve a range of activities such as attending meetings, watching interactions with students, colleagues, etc. This type of shadowing works best when you is looking to gain a greater understanding of how a colleague approaches their role or a specific activity. The person you are shadowing should provide opportunities for questions to explain their approach.

Burst Interactions

You may shadow the host for specific activities for small amounts of time (1-2 hours at a time) over an extended period of time. This approach works best when you want to understand end-to-end processes in another team.

Hands On

You may wish to work for a short period alongside and under the guidance of a colleague to get an applied understanding of how they undertake some of their responsibilities. This may not always be appropriate and would need to be discussed on a case by case basis (and should be used as a learning opportunity not to meet workload demands).

Benefits of Shadowing:

  • See how other staff and teams work.
  • Gain insight into the roles and responsibilities of other members of staff and other departments.
  • Reflect and learn from others.
  • See the bigger picture and understand more about how the University functions.
  • Can be used as a way of “testing out” possible career options.

Overview of Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Shadowing Scheme

Work shadowing within the University is not a new initiative. Within and across departments and schools many successful instances of informal shadowing exist. It is not intended that this scheme should prevent these from this happening on any informal basis. Rather, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health will provide a framework which is intended to promote work shadowing within and across departments and make opportunities transparent for all. The scheme will:

  • Identify staff within departments and schools who are willing to be shadowed
  • Provide a consolidated list of shadowing opportunities
  • Help to consolidate networks of staff undertaking similar roles across the Faculty who may share good practice, resources, knowledge, and skills
  • Provide a mechanism for evaluating experiences of those involved to inform future support

Faculty Scheme Process

Each year the Faculty Manager will circulate a call for colleagues to volunteer to be shadowed in particular areas of expertise. The link to volunteer to be shadowed is on the right.

A list of opportunities will then be provided online to inform colleagues' consideration of professional development. (As this is the first year, the list of opportunities will be appear shortly)

It is intended that potential work shadowing opportunities should be considered as part of the Annual Development Review process and could be identified by the reviewer or reviewee. Where a member of staff and their line manager identify a development need which may be met by shadowing they may approach directly the member of staff to be shadowed and consider the feasibility of an arrangement. There is no central oversight in the take-up of shadowing opportunities. While the process for collating shadowing opportunities will take place annually, shadowing may take place at any time in the year appropriate to the availability of staff and the particular processes being shadowed.

In setting up the shadowing opportunity, consideration should be given to:

  • the overall time commitment required for the period(s) of shadowing;
  • the appropriate period within the academic cycle for this to take place;
  • whether there is scope for several staff to shadow at once;
  • the intended learning outcomes of the shadowing opportunity;
  • whether any cover arrangement should be put in place.

It is recognised that through pressures of time or changing patterns of work, shadowing may not be possible even if colleagues have indicated they are willing. A member of staff or their line manager retains the right to decline to be shadowed if this proves impracticable.

Practical Questions for Shadowing

Person being shadowed

Person shadowing

When is the best time for someone to shadow me?

What do I want to find out through shadowing?

What do I need to let the shadow know before they get here?

What questions do I want to ask?

Who should Iet know that the shadowing is taking place?

What do you want to know about the team you’re visiting?

What do colleagues hope to get from the shadowing?

Are there any specific tasks or elements of the job you are particularly interested in?

What do I need to know about them?

What do I know already about this job/department/team?

Do they have any additional support requirements that I need to be aware of?

What will I do as a result of this shadowing? (including how I will feed the learning back to my team)

Assessing the Benefits of Shadowing

Following the completion of the shadowing opportunity, both parties should complete a brief evaluation of the success using this online form. Collated feedback of evaluations will be used to assess the value of the shadowing scheme and to inform future developments.