HR - learning & organisational development

Job Shadowing

It is recognised that Job shadowing can contribute to the development of an organisational culture that values depth and continuity of knowledge, encourages continuous learning, which is inclusive and welcomes diversity, promotes creativity and takes a positive approach to change. It is an accessible method of providing individuals with a unique opportunity to find out how other staff work and what their roles involve, as well as developing a deeper knowledge and understanding of other roles and functions within the University.





Meeting people in person, as part of a job shadowing experiences, really helps to improve the way we communicate with each other and I could understand how what do affects them and vice versa

Karen Earl - IS Billing & Administration Officer

Job shadowing is aligned with the Reflect, Plan, Develop (RPD) scheme, where a versatile framework is used flexibly to shape conversations about work priorities and career development at the University. A key focus of RPD is identifying and exploring individual development requirements and the full range of learning and development opportunities available to University staff.

The information provided here aims to outline the key aspects which may need to be considered in requesting, agreeing, planning, undertaking and reviewing a job shadowing opportunity.

Please review the relevant tabs below for more specific information on Job Shadowing.

The Learning and Development team welcome any questions, feedback or suggestions on the site. Please contact us at

We would like to extend acknowledgement and thanks to Manchester Metropolitan University for use of their Job Shadowing Guidelines in developing these webpages.

Job Shadowing - Overview

What is job shadowing?
Job shadowing is where an individual from one area of the organisation has the opportunity to work alongside and gain experience of the role of another individual, whilst gaining an insight into that particular work area. It can also be used to provide an individual within a department the opportunity to work alongside colleagues so they can learn and develop within their current role, plus determine potential  career opportunities and/or help to increase understanding of processes, improve performance especially in organisational skills, specific system skills or when a particular area of skill ‘goal’ has been identified.

Why get involved in job shadowing?
Job shadowing has many potential benefits for staff and departments within the University:
• It can help to improve communication across departments, faculties and sites and encourage continuous improvement.
• It is an excellent networking tool and can facilitate the breaking down of internal barriers across the organisation.
• It is an opportunity for hosts to share best practice and to allow for self-development of the visitor/guest and, often, the host.
• It allows individuals to view processes they are involved in from a different angle and get a better understanding of how their work impacts on each other.

Job shadowing provides the individual with a unique opportunity to find out how other staff work and what their roles involve.
It develops a deeper knowledge and understanding of other roles and functions within the University.
By engaging in job shadowing individuals will be able to:
• 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 identifying possible career pathways or options.

For the individual being shadowed there is the opportunity to:
• Share your experiences with colleagues from a different work area to your own
• Review and reflect on your work through discussion with the person shadowing you which allows you the opportunity to see your role through “fresh eyes”

Benefits of Job Shadowing

For the Visitor/Guest

For the Line Manager

For the Hosting Department

Understand how other departments work

Increases departmental understanding of other areas of the University

Network with colleagues from different areas

Learn from the experiences of colleagues

Increases network opportunities and University wide contacts

Share your experience with others

Understand and appreciate how other roles support the organisation

Provides opportunity to share best practise

Learn from your visitor/guest

Understand and appreciate other needs and priorities outside of your established work role

Useful and cost effective resource/tool to be used for performance improvement or for staff development

The opportunity to view and reflect on your own area of work supported by the “fresh eyed” view of the visitor/guest

The opportunity to discuss your role and its needs and priorities with others

Broadens and increases skillset within the department

Develop your staff’s coaching/mentoring skills

Understand why things work the way they do

Can assist with forward/succession planning





Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 764000 or contact us

Last Updated: 14/08/2017