“I’ll be shadowing in the University & Talent Relations department,” I told friends at a birthday party a little while ago. “You’ll be doing what?” they asked in response. So, what exactly is shadowing, and how did it go? How did I learn about shadowing in the first place?
My name is Ina Wellenberg, and I’m a PR manager in the Communications department at Bayer Vital GmbH. I’m responsible for PR activities for various Consumer Health brands in Germany. But at the beginning of July, I packed up my laptop, pen and notebook and moved to Bayer Business Services, in the University & Talent Relations department. For the next four weeks, I got to experience the department’s constantly changing workflows. I planned, edited and uploaded blog posts for the career blog, wrote Facebook and Instagram posts, helped revise the career website and attended events. My background in communications came in handy, and – thanks to friendly colleagues – I had a terrific, interesting time, and I learned a lot, too.
Job shadowing provides an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of another department’s procedures and areas of responsibility. At the same time, I was able to share a few insights with my colleagues about working in a sales organization. Thanks to this exchange, I returned to my “home” department with many new suggestions and ideas, and I was also able to expand my personal horizons.
A Development Dialogue pointed the way
The idea of shadowing first came up during my Development Dialogue with my supervisor. I mentioned that I’d like to a get a feel for the bigger picture, without having to make a permanent job change. We identified job shadowing as a potential solution, which was then set up in coordination with the Human Resources department, as well as my home and new departments. It was important to find a time that worked for everyone involved, when my colleagues would be able to cover the responsibilities of my actual job. For urgent matters, of course, I was still available for my home department the entire time.
For me, shadowing was a breath of fresh air, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to get to know another part of Bayer in depth. At the end of the four weeks, I returned with not only my laptop, pen, and notebook, but also with a wealth of fantastic memories and experiences.
This post is also available in: German