Meet the Team
December 19, 2023

Nadine and Tim – Assistant Plant Managers in a Job Tandem

Nadine and Tim have been working as a job tandem since January 2022. In their story, they explain how their vertical job tandem enriches the company and adds value for Evonik.

Why did you decide for working in a job tandem?

Nadine: During my parental leave, I heard from a colleague who was looking for an Assistant Plant Manager. Because I was open to new challenges after coming back from the United States and wanted to work part-time during my parental leave, we came up with the idea of a job tandem. That’s how I met Tim, who is now my tandem partner. In fact, we met over the phone (coronavirus times)! For me, it was important to connect on an interpersonal level. During the conversation I quickly discovered that Tim and I are on the same wavelength, that we have similar values and “speak the same language.” So I trusted my intuition and decided to do the tandem. Today, we can both say it was absolutely the right decision!

Tim: After my parental leave, I was working part-time in Research. A job tandem was a good chance for me to further develop my skills in Production. So I was looking for someone who is very open-minded who speaks the same language, but with a different background. If you’re on the same wavelength and have a similar way of thinking, you can accomplish a lot together. And we do!

What makes your job tandem so special?

Nadine: The special thing about it is that we’re a vertical tandem, and we complement each other very well. While I concentrate on projects that will move the department forward, Tim takes care of the day-to-day business. That means I could use and implement my project management experience right from the start. The advantage of our tandem’s vertical arrangement is that we don’t have to understand the other person’s topics in depth. So we can concentrate on our own area and still be the experts in that area.

Tim: Right from the start, we concentrated on working efficiently and finding our footing quickly. Because we divide up the tasks, we can use our own know-how in both areas to successfully implement the targets. But that also means we don’t want to make any decisions about the other tandem partner’s area, so we often have to manage our colleagues’ expectations. When we announced our tandem, everyone thought Nadine and I were set up horizontally and we would both handle all the issues together. Despite the separation of responsibilities, we are constantly learning from each other in all the overarching areas.

“We can execute and deliver results faster as a tandem!”

Nadine: After my two years working as an Assistant Plant Manager in a different area, I knew what was important for projects and how the workflows are set up. Organizationally and in terms of workflow, I have a certain advantage. But doing the right thing requires a certain level of technical detail. I was missing the specific know-how for the new area. Thanks to my conversations with Tim, who is familiar with all the background and knows what will and won’t work, we are constantly improving the quality of our projects. We can execute and deliver results faster as a tandem! We use the synergies of the vertical tandem to achieve a good performance.

Tim: While Nadine handles the project issues, I focus on site-related issues in the day-to-day business. Because of my work in Research, I know the manufacturing processes, the products, and the Darmstadt location well, and I am connected with the people at the site. Working together, we fulfill our position much more quickly because we learn so much from each other! The division of duties also guarantees that projects aren’t neglected when the day-to-day business is intense, and vice versa.

“It takes open-mindedness and trust.”

Nadine: The tandem kicked off a reflection process at our company; it showed us that alternative work forms can be a great thing. We each concentrate on our own strengths, and we help each other so we can both succeed. At the same time, I still see some old patterns and ways of thinking. I want to encourage people to be more open to alternative work forms, to recognize the positive examples and to keep supporting them. Because it works!

Tim: A job tandem depends on open-mindedness. In a tandem, maintaining an open work culture is essential, and you need to be able to share everything. In addition to open-mindedness, a tandem also requires trust. From the outside, too – including the management level – you should be able to trust that the tandem will do its job well, because the tandem partners are highly motivated and can handle it. So I want to encourage people to take a leap of faith: namely, trust others!