Job Shadowing and its Types

Career Management
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Munadil Shafat
Student (MBA), Bangladesh

Job Shadowing and its Types

Job Shadowing (JS) is a unique kind of on-the-job training in which employees of one area of an organization are given the opportunity to work alongside another individual, usually in a different area of that organization.
JS 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, and gain an insight into that particular work area. It can also be used to provide an individual within a department the opportunity to work alongside more experienced colleagues so they can learn and develop within their current role.
The visiting staff member can be called the "Shadow" and the person that agrees to be shadowed can be called the "Host". In this approach, the visitor literally accompanies the Host like a shadow, thus this naming.

Types of Job Shadowing

There are three ways in which Job Shadowing can happen:
  1. OBSERVING: The Shadow observes the day to day work of the Host. Therefore, he follows him in meetings, observe customer dealings, etc. This will give the Shadow a practical insight of the job roles of the Host in typical workdays.
  2. BRIEFING: Not everything the Host is doing (or not) can be observed. There are some things that happen on autopilot. To make the Shadow understand such things, including nitty gritty details of the role, the Host can offer a regular briefing to the Shadow.
  3. HANDS-ON: What better ways to learn something than by doing it? The Host can (periodically) delegate some of his tasks to the Shadow as an extension of the observation. By repeating and doing what the Host did in front of him, the Shadow gets an in-depth experience of how it feels to play the roles of the Host while being closely observed by the Host.
JS is often used as a part of an organization's Job Rotation program. While job rotation was primarily introduced so that conveyor belt workers would tire less quickly, JS is unique in its own right, because the primary objective of JS is to provide a means for career exploration for employees in different domains. Any further info? Do you have experience to shadow or being shadowed?
Source: Job Shadowing Guidelines by University of Bristol


Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

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Benefits of Job Shadowing for the Host

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Benefits of Job Shadowing for the Shadow (Visitors Guest)

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Benefits of Job Shadowing for the Organization

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