Job rotation is a technique for increasing employee motivation and learning. This post will define job rotation, discuss its benefits and downsides, and provide instances of businesses that have effectively implemented job rotation into their operations.
What Is Job Rotation?
Rotating employees between jobs within an organization is known as job rotation. An employee is transferred to a different job role. These rotations are mostly lateral, which means they take place between jobs on the same level and aren't considered promotions (Vulpen, 2021). They are also frequently temporary, with workers returning to their previous position after a set period. Employees are shifted between tasks or positions at regular intervals to expose them to all verticals of a business, which is known as job rotation (MSG, 2021).
Why Is Job Rotation Important?
It is a deliberate method to assess an employee's skills and competencies to place them appropriately. Furthermore, it alleviates job monotony by providing them with a broader range of experience.
Some of the benefits of job rotation include:
- Staff exposure to various business areas - A better understanding of other parts of the organization can help the employee be more effective in their decision-making.
- Offers new views on current positions - When employees are given new roles, they can bring a fresh perspective to the organization.
- Accelerates professional development - If placed in a situation where they must immediately ramp up their knowledge and start applying it, employees will pick up new employee skills quickly. Job rotation creates more room for professional growth.
- Enhances recruiting and retention - Professionals want to work for companies that provide better career development opportunities, therefore, companies that promote role rotation make themselves more attractive employers which in turn reduces employee turnover. Job rotation is likely to improve employee satisfaction because it removes job monotony.
Task rotation is a well-thought-out strategy for reducing boredom from doing the same job every day and uncovering an employee's undiscovered potential (MSG, 2021). It aids management in identifying employee talent and determining what they excel at (MSG, 2021). On the other hand, it allows a person to pursue their interests while also gaining experience in a variety of disciplines or processes—both the management and the workforce benefit from the process.
Starting a new work is exciting and demanding. It decreases monotony, promotes motivation, helps assess person-job fit, and it's a wonderful method to learn new knowledge and abilities by performing new tasks (Vulpen, 2021). Organizational development techniques such as job rotation are well-known. Job simplification, enrichment, and enlargement are important aspects of job (re)design (Vulpen, 2021).
What are the types of job rotation?
There are two types of job rotation, depending on how the company changes the employee's job description and the goal of job rotation:
1. Task Rotation
Employees who work in cognitively or physically demanding jobs are typically assigned to a task rotation. Employees are switched from a stressful job to a less demanding position to provide a break from monotonous work.
2. Position rotation
The organization changes the employee's designation, location, or department in the case of position rotation. This gives the individual the chance to learn new skills, obtain new knowledge, and gain new perspectives on the job. There are two types of cross-functional rotation: function rotation and cross-functional rotation. Employees' responsibilities and areas of operation stay the same during function rotation. The employee's level and work duties are modified while on cross-functional rotation.
- Learning -Job rotation is an excellent approach to transferring specific skills, knowledge, and competencies, which leads to the buildup of human capital (Vulpen, 2021). An employee, for example, may learn the entire production process because they have worked in several roles that have given them a holistic perspective. Managers, meanwhile, may need to work in many departments before being ready for a senior leadership role that requires this experience. Another example is the absence of business skills among many HR specialists. Rotating HR personnel outside of the HR department – and having people from the company rotate in the HR department – is a smart strategy to develop these abilities (Vulpen, 2021).
- Flexibility - Employee rotation allows them to do various duties, resulting in a more flexible workforce. Your overall available workforce will be more significant and far more adaptable to fill any available roles if workers are deployed into two or three positions.
- Employee replacement - When a key person leaves unexpectedly, their position must be filled by someone from within the firm. Job rotation can help in this situation. The critical job can be rapidly filled by (temporary) deploying a slightly familiar peer. Employee replacement
- Orientation and placement - Traineeships are one area where rotation is frequently used. A graduate typically works four different roles during a two-year traineeship. This allows the graduate to discover latent abilities and discover roles that they enjoy and excel in. Orientation and placement
Simultaneously, it enables the organization to evaluate where the new hire can provide the most value, a process known as job-employee matching. This is an excellent strategy for ensuring that new talent is fully utilized. Similarly, if someone wants to explore a new role inside the organization, they can be rotated. The person is free to return it if it does not function. This may prohibit a gifted individual from leaving.
- Satisfaction and attrition - When someone has been in the same work for four or five years, they are at significant risk of quitting. Job rotation provides a change of scenery and challenges employees, resulting in higher job satisfaction and decreased employee churn. Satisfaction and attrition
- Satisfaction and attrition - One of the disadvantages of staying in a role for an extended period is a loss of drive. Job rotation provides a change of environment and new duties, which pushes employees to learn and adapt. This is an excellent approach to alleviate boredom, inspire colleagues, and improve personal agility. Motivation
Disadvantages of job rotation
- Inefficiencies - When an employee starts a new job, they must learn the ropes before achieving their maximum output. As a result, the rotation might generate frequent disruptions in work and result in inefficiency. Inefficiencies
- Misunderstanding - Another drawback is that someone who rotates out of a position may retain superior (tacit) knowledge and relationships than someone who stays in the same position. This may cause role ambiguity if this person remains (partially) involved in the role. One way to deal with this problem is to set up a peer mentorship program. Misunderstanding
- Disgruntled employees - People's motivation may be harmed if they are rotated out of a job they enjoy. Disgruntled employees who do not like the new position are unmotivated and may consider quitting. Disgruntled employees
- Lack of opportunity - Job rotation is typically horizontal, implying that employees are allocated to a different role on the same level rather than being promoted. This may appear to be a diversion rather than a next step, leading to people deviating from their original career path. Assessing their level of motivation and framing the rotation as an opportunity to develop more diversified skills that will benefit them later in their career is a sensible strategy here.
Sample job rotation policy
The purpose of the job rotation policy is to create a transparent and disciplined framework for internal talent movement while also achieving the organization's specified goals.
- The work rotation policy aims to give growth opportunities for all business employees and help employees achieve their career goals based on their years of experience in a specific job role. It also assists the firm in meeting its talent requirements.
- The job rotation policy outlines the rules and regulations that govern the organization's talent mobility.
- Structured Job Rotation and Succession Planning Based on Tenure
- Employees will be suggested for a job rotation process twice a year, based on their maximum tenure.
Job Rotation Process Outline
- The HR department will enable the role change discussions after:
- Identifying employees who are nearing the end of their maximum tenure
- Verification of the employees' potential roles
- After a job rotation, create a career path for the personnel.
- Role evaluation is carried out in relation to the business and skill requirements.
- After a position shift assessment, the transition is planned.
- The employee's new work is likely to be assigned to them.
- The individual receives the essential training to ensure a successful job rotation.
- The job rotation is preserved for two months after the role change is enacted.
- The employee gets the relevant papers from the HR department.
- The employee's future career path is discussed in advance.
- In all working conditions, the above job rotation principles are carefully enforced.
- The standard tenure matrix determines the employee's minimum and maximum tenure.
- With the consent of the company's business head and HR head, the job rotation plan can be amended in select rare instances.
- The individual should embrace any suggested role change by management for the organization's benefit.
- The employee's performance metric will alter due to the new job assignment.
- Employees have the right to request a job rotation be delayed or postponed if they have any legitimate health concerns.
- The HR department is responsible for making the job rotation a success by carefully understanding the organization's talent needs, the employee's skill set, and the need of the hour.
- The duration of a newly given work might be extended if the business needs it.
To Rotate, Or Not To Rotate…
Is job rotation really beneficial to both employees and employers?
The key is to set a transparent methodology and criteria for all parties involved. Clearly articulate the benefits to secure team buy-in. Evaluate the programs regularly to ensure they continue to be beneficial to the individual and the company.
Milton Jack is a Business Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
Phone: +263 242 481946-48/481950
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