All you need to know about Job Rotation

What is job rotation? Why is job rotation important for any organization? Read on to find out…

Very often organizations need to hire and fire employees according to their requirements. Frequent hiring of employees means that more costs are incurred by the company, not to mention the opportunity cost of losing out on the previous employees due to whatsoever reason. Additionally, every department in every organization will need individuals with different skill sets which increases the need for talent acquisition all the more. How can companies overcome this effectively without having the need to spend time and money hiring? This is where job rotation comes in. It is a technique used for employee development as well as to fill temporary gaps and vacancies without having to hire. It helps employees to develop a variety of new skills in changing jobs. It also enables employees to advance and develop their careers, which is an important aspect of attracting and retaining both Millenials and the GenZ.

What is Job Rotation?

Job rotation is defined as the technique by which organizations move employees within jobs in the same company. Such rotations are mostly lateral, which means that they happen between jobs on the same level and are not usually considered as a promotion. They are also mostly temporary with individuals moving back to their original departments/positions once the work is over. Very rarely does job rotation involve a promotion. It helps employees to develop their skills and advance their careers.

Why is Job Rotation important?

Job rotation has various advantages as it is a way of starting to work on something new, reduces the boredom of employees, stimulates motivation, and is a great way to acquire new skills. Not only employees, but job rotation also benefits employers in a number of ways. Following are the few advantages for employers:

1. Learning

Job rotation is an excellent way to transfer specific skills, knowledge, and competencies, leading to human capital accumulation. For example, an employee may learn the full production process because they have served in different roles that provide them with a holistic perspective. Another example is that many HR professionals lack business skills. A good way to build these skills is by rotating HR professionals outside the HR department — and having people from the business rotate in the HR department. This is a practice also recommended by John Boudreau and Ed Lawler.

2. Flexibility

Job rotation allows employees to do different jobs leading to a more flexible workforce. If people can be deployed into two or three roles, the total available workforce will be much larger and much more flexible to fill any of the available roles.

3. Employee Replacement

When a critical employee suddenly leaves, their role will have to be replaced by someone in the company. Job rotation plays a crucial role here. By (temporarily) deploying a peer who is somewhat familiar with the role and very familiar with the company, the critical role can be filled quickly without having to hire someone new and start from scratch.

4. Orientation and Placement

One of the important areas where rotation is often applied is in traineeships. During a traineeship, a graduate usually works four different roles in the timespan of two years. This enables the graduate to explore hidden talents and identify the roles that they like and are good at. At the same time, it enables the organization to explore where in the organization the new hire can add the most value, which is also referred to as job-employee matching. This is a great way to ensure that new talent will be optimally deployed.

5. Satisfaction

When someone is working in a job for 4 or 5 years, they are at a high risk of leaving. Job rotation offers the opportunity to these individuals for a change of scenery and challenge people, leading to increased satisfaction and lower employee attrition.

Following are the advantages of Job Rotation for employees:

1. Motivation

One of the limitations of staying in a role for too long is a loss of motivation. Job rotation ensures a change with new responsibilities that challenge the employee to learn and adapt. This is a great way to reduce boredom, motivate employees, and increase their personal agility.

2. Learning

Learning is not only a benefit for the employer but also to the employee. Especially people who entered the workforce recently have a strong need for learning and development. Job rotation — for instance in combination with peer coaching — can offer these opportunities.

How to achieve a successful job rotation?

Job rotation is not something that can be done in a day’s time. It needs proper planning and implementation. It has to be planned, systematic, and effective and should add some value for the employees in the process. He/She must be able to build skills that allow them to be retained by the organization and contribute more effectively to the results and outcomes of the company. Following are the few ways in which organizations can plan out their job rotation process:

1. Start your job rotation with an end goal

The plans for job rotation will differ according to the end goals. If the end goal is to form a department in which every employee is cross-trained to do every job, then the rotation should involve careful structuring. If the end goal is to develop the employees for career advancements and promotions, then the rotation plans will be different.

2. Plan your job rotation carefully

An optimum training plan helps the employee build upon the skills learned at each step of job rotation. So, the plan involves the employee participating in a series of jobs. The effectiveness of your plan must be regularly evaluated so that the best plan is in place.

3. Create employee buy-in

Another potential disadvantage is that rotation may lead to disgruntled employees. It is, therefore, crucial to creating buy-in. This can be done by clearly explaining the benefits for the employee and convincing the employee rather than coercing them. Creating employee buy-in can turn something perceived as a bad situation into an opportunity.

4. Ensure proper training of employees before rotating

Ensure that people are properly trained before they are rotated into a different job. Entering a job while lacking the required knowledge and skills to perform well will decrease motivation and increase the time required to reach optimum productivity level. As mentioned above, both peer coaching and peer mentoring can be very valuable here.

5. Make sure that both employees and the organization benefits from the rotation

Constantly teaching employees new job skills is time-consuming and saps organizational energy. If the employee sees nothing in it for them, after they put forth the effort necessary to learn new jobs, job rotation won’t work or motivate employees.

6. Monitoring continuously and proper feedbacks after rotation

Once someone has rotated into a role, ensure you monitor them closely, and provide ample feedback. Over time, people will become more independent and require less structure. In addition, create clear success criteria for the job and communicate these. This helps the employee understand what is expected of them.

Job rotation is viewed as desirable by employees because of the impact a lateral move or promotion has on the employee’s opportunity for personal and professional growth and motivation. Job rotation is seen as a continuing commitment from the employer that enables employees to develop and grow in their employment and pursue a desirable career path.

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Suchismita Panda