Job rotation and why every employee needs it

Carl Tapi / Posted On: 10 March 2021 / Updated On: 25 May 2022 / Organisational Design and Development / 721

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Job rotation and why every employee needs it


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What is Job Rotation

According to Bennett (2003), job rotation is a planned replacement of employees among various jobs within a period to enhance skills, job independence. Similarly, Gomez, Lorente & Cabrera (2004) define job rotation as working in varying posts or situations at periods that are categorized on a range of individual knowledge, skill, and capability of employees. In this regard, Dubois (2000), Williams, Cantillon, and Cochrane (2000) and Ebadan and Winstanley (1997) concluded that if employees value job security, increased lateral moves will be imperative to allow organizational renewal and growth in the future.

 

Job rotation aims to broaden knowledge, skills, and experience by moving people from job to job or department to department (Delpasand, Raiisi, Begdely & Shahabi, 2010; Lindbeck & Snower, 2000; Olorunsula, 2000). It can be an inefficient and frustrating method of acquiring additional knowledge and skills unless it is carefully planned and controlled. Jaturanonda, Nanthavanij, and Chongphaisal (2006) found that organizations from the private and public sectors considered the combined ‘knowledge, skills and abilities as the predominant decision criterion on who to rotate, irrespective of the purpose of job rotation.

 


When job rotation is carefully planned and formally developed it has numerous perceived benefits (Cheraskin & Campion, 1996).

 

Benefits of job rotation

 

Reducing Monotony of the Job

The first and foremost objective of job rotation is to reduce the monotony and repetitiveness involved in a job. A bored employee can have a substantially negative impact on the level of motivation of other employees. A demotivated workforce will ultimately result in high absenteeism and employee turnover rates usually accompanied by poor customer service (Melamed, Ben-Avi, Luz & Green, 1995). Job rotation has been found to relieve boredom and monotony. According to Azizi, Zolfaghari & Liang (2009), the most important employee benefit of differentiation at work is the prevention of monotony. A range of issues including repetitious work causes boredom and where boredom exists, unproductive behaviours and attitudes such as apathy, disinterest in a job, unhappiness, frustration and escapism, and avoidance dominate when employees are bored (Melamed et al., 1995).

 

Succession Planning

The concept of succession planning is ‘Who will replace whom’. An important function of job rotation is to develop a pool of employees who can be placed at a senior level when someone gets retired or leaves the organization. The idea is to create an immediate replacement of a high-worth employee from within the organization.

 

Creating Right - Employee Job Fit

The success of an organization depends on the on-job productivity of its employees. If they are rightly placed, they will be able to give the maximum output. In case, they are not assigned the job that they are good at, it creates a real big problem for both employees as well as the organization. Therefore, fitting the right person in the right vacancy is one of the main objectives of job rotation.

 

Exposing Workers to All Verticals of the Company

By rotating jobs and sharing responsibilities, multiskilled employees being closest to the place of activity can define and frame quality problems and implement appropriate solutions at the point of occurrence and, thus, boost productivity (Babson, 1993; Mitroff, 1998; Womack, Jones & Roos, 1990). This provides the organization with a true competitive edge because employees that rotate jobs in the organization see the problem not from a single viewpoint but all the aspects of the job as they have been exposed to the other jobs in the organization. Several researchers have reiterated the positive impact of job rotation on problem-solving (Fægri et al., 2010; Taylor & Greve, 2006) except for Allwood and Lee (2004) who found that job rotation did not enhance problem-solving nor productivity.

 

Testing Employee Skills and Competencies

Job rotation can contribute to the enhancement of social and individual human capital. Rotating through jobs and departments enables employees to develop new relationships with other employees across the organization which also exposes them to gaining on-the-job experience (Bennett, 2003), a lot of which they learn from other more experienced employees. As a result of job rotation and consequently developing and improving skills, employees can engage in better human relationships with each other and cope better with conflicting situations (Saravani & Abbasi, 2013).

 

Developing a Wider Range of Work Experience

Employees, usually do not want to change their area of operations. Once they start performing a specific task, they do not want to shift from their comfort zone. Through job rotation, managers prepare them in advance to have a wider range of work experience and develop different skills and competencies. It is necessary for the overall development of an individual. Along with this, they understand the problems of various departments and try to adjust or adapt accordingly.

 

Employees perceive that job rotation has a high degree of positive impact on employees, productivity, job security, and on the organization respectively. In terms of the impact of job rotation on employees, a significant percentage of employees were convinced that as a result of job rotation employees become more marketable and their need for a challenge is addressed. Furthermore, employees felt that job rotations fulfill their need to gain skills variety as a result of working in different jobs and increases their self-confidence. Nafei (2014) emphasizes the importance of job rotation in developing employee horizons and empowerment and bringing about increased performance and organizational effectiveness as a result of job satisfaction and skill diversity.

 

Job Rotation and Performance

With regards to the impact of job rotation on productivity, a significant segment of the employees was convinced that as a result of job rotation, productivity increases with the new skills learnt and that they have become better at problem-solving.

 

Jorgensen, Davis, Kotowski, Aedla, and Dunning(2005) found that the production-linked aspect of increased employee skill was viewed as the largest benefit from job rotation. Similarly, Taylor and Greve (2006) found that job rotation brings about enhanced diversity in employees’ knowledge and can improve their problem-solving and creativity in performance and Fægri et al. (2010) found that job rotation improves problem-solving skills and shared understanding of the job. Likewise, numerous researchers view job rotation as an effective operational practice to enhance performance and productivity (Jorgensen et al., 2005; Origo and Pagani, 2008; Zare, 2005). Similarly, Rashki, Hasanqasemi, and Mazidi (2014) found that there are significant relationships between the importance of job rotation and staff performance.

 

Carl Tapi is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/carl-tapi-45776482/ Phone +263 (242) 481946-48/481950 or cell number +263 772 469 680 or email: carl@ipcconsultants.com  or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Carl Tapi
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