Interested in changing functions? Want to find out more about a particular job? Job-shadowing is an informal learning option available to staff members who want to gain insight into another area of responsibility within the same duty station.

What is job-shadowing?

Job-shadowing allows a staff member (the “visiting staff member”) interested in a particular job to learn about the characteristics of the job as well as about related competencies, skills and behaviours by observing another staff (the “receiving staff member”) who actually does the job. This might include accompanying the receiving staff member to meetings or other events related to the job functions. It does not include the visiting staff member carrying out actual tasks or assignments. Please note that this is an informal learning option for staff to avail of as they wish based on the information and guidance below, not a centrally managed programme.

Job shadowing allows the "visiting" staff member to gain knowledge and understating about the responsibilities and tasks in a particular job, while cross-training allows the employee to be trained and preform specific functions related to a particular job. 


Visiting staff members

  • Increase their exposure to different roles and functions within the Organization
  • Can help support their career development

Receiving staff members
  • Can share knowledge and expertise in a particular area, which allows them to review and reflect on their own work and gain a fresh point of view
  • Support colleagues in their career development and aspirations

Participating sections
  • Creating an environment of continuous learning
  • Will benefit from improved communication across offices/teams and foster a culture of sharing knowledge and expertise


GUIDELINES: Tips for visiting staff members Questions to ask

Eligibility Staff eligible for participation in learning activities as per existing policy

Duration The duration of job-shadowing is to be agreed between visiting/receiving staff members and participating sections. It may be done on a full time, continuous basis or during dedicated working hours. Planned leave of the participating staff members should be taken into consideration when planning the schedule

Scope Job-shadowing is possible:

  • within the same duty station
  • between staff members at the same grade level or at a higher grade level
  • between staff members in different categories

Learning objectives Learning objectives should be agreed upon between the visiting staff member and their supervisor, prior to commencement of the activity

Agreement of confidentiality During job-shadowing, visiting staff members will be exposed to and be able to access information that may be confidential and/or legally privileged. Participating staff members are expected to respect the level of confidentiality

  • Identification of a receiving staff member who would be willing to host
  • Agreement of visiting staff member’s supervisor to participate in the job-shadowing activity
  • Agreement of receiving staff member’s supervisor for them to participate in the job-shadowing activity

Confirmation of understanding The arrangement can be confirmed by an email including all of the staff concerned (visiting and receiving staff members and their respective supervisors)

Key pages: 
Important documents: