JOB SHADOWING IS an informal process where one staff member works alongside either a more experienced colleague or someone who is doing a different job. Individuals can shadow colleagues within the organization, or arrangements can be made to shadow in external organizations within either the same or different sectors. The benefits of shadowing for the individual are that they gain experience, make contacts, expand their knowledge and may develop a greater understanding of a different area of work. Taylor (2013) writes about her experience as a teacher librarian in an Australian school, about using job shadowing to overcome isolation, share experience and network with others.
As a manager or supervisor of staff, you can use shadowing to keep existing staff engaged, helping them to develop new skills or services. You could also offer opportunities to students or staff from other organizations, inviting them to shadow one of your team. This is a good way of contributing to the profession, but also of scouting for new talent and growing your own team. In larger organizations, you could make arrangements for LKS staff to shadow other professionals to gain a greater understanding of user needs and to spot opportunities to develop new services. For example, in a university an LKS professional could shadow an academic member of staff or, in the NHS, shadow a clinician.
Below are a number of scenarios where shadowing could be considered: