What is Job Rotation? (With Benefits and Examples)
Updated September 25, 2022
If you're new to a job or an industry, it's essential to understand their processes and work style to adjust quickly, one of which is job rotation. Job rotation involves moving employees between jobs to improve motivation, flexibility, and employee learning. Understanding the processes of job rotation can help you learn new skills, increase your dexterity, and enable you to learn more about the organization where you work.
In this article, we discuss what is job rotation, highlight its benefits and disadvantages, give a few examples of how it works in industries, and how companies apply it in their business.
What is job rotation?
Job rotation is a working custom that involves moving employees to a new role in the same organization, either on a set basis or a more regular period, to groom flexible employees. It is often temporary as they may return to their original position after some time. Job rotation is not to be mistaken for a promotion as it is a lateral move. Rotating jobs is a popular organizational technique targeted at achieving job enrichment, additional skills, job simplification, job efficiency, and job (re)design.
Aside from the advantages to the firm, employees also enjoy a fresh work atmosphere, as it reduces boredom and improves motivation while simultaneously gaining new knowledge and competencies. It is important to note that job rotation requires you to have prior qualifications for the new designation, as it is unprofessional to assign a certified lawyer to the firm's accounting department. A better situation is transferring a corporate and company lawyer to the litigation department to represent the firm's client in court.
Benefits of job rotation for employers
The following are benefits of job rotation to employers:
Human capital accumulation
Job rotation is one of the best ways to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills in the workplace. Job rotation, in turn, helps the company groom skillful and motivated employees. An example is a factory worker who initially specialized in handling tools and machinery, now fully capable of managing the entire production process due to serving in different roles throughout employment.
Rotating jobs ensures a flexible team as employees who can fit in more than one position can fill any available role when necessary. It allows the company to train and keep the same set of employees. An example is an HR officer taking up business skills.
Another perk of rotating jobs is that an employee can temporarily take up the position of a recently and spontaneously dismissed colleague. Doing so leaves no vacuum in the discharge of duties. The company knows they can fall back on one employee while trying to fill up the vacancy.
Orientation and placement
During the traineeship, rotating jobs help the organization explore the strengths of a recruit and identify where they can add the most value. Job-matching involves the new hire working three to four different roles within two years. Also, the company can assign an employee who wants a job position they feel they'd function at best.
Benefits of job rotation for employees
The following are the benefits of job rotation to employees:
It is no doubt that staying in a role for so long can get monotonous, and employees may lose the motivation to work. Job rotation creates newer work atmospheres with new tasks and responsibilities that push the employee to learn and adapt to the new role. It also improves the personal agility of the workers.
Related: How to Motivate Employees
The practice of rotating jobs helps employees gain knowledge and skills in several job roles. It increases the opportunities for employees to try out several jobs and figure out which is most comfortable for them. This way, they feel more fulfilled as employees.
Opportunity to learn
Employees also learn from job rotation. Job rotation coupled with peer coaching is a great opportunity to train the employees, especially new employees who require learning and development. It increases innovations from employees while identifying and improving their skills and interests in new areas.
Disadvantages of job rotation
While rotating jobs has several advantages, it also has some drawbacks:
Lack of clarity in a role
When a company occasionally rotates employees, it can lead to role confusion where an employee rotated to a different department is still involved and needed in their original role, which they hold superior knowledge. The employee can get confused and unsure of their role in the organization. A peer mentoring program can help in this case.
The lateral nature of a job rotation is a sidestep and not the next step. Throwing employees off their planned career paths without a promotion or incentive could be discouraging. Employers can offer their employees bonuses and job incentives to help boost employee morale during this exercise.
Employees new to a job role have to familiarize themselves with it before they can begin to perform at an optimal level. This lapse in productivity leads to inefficiency. Rotating an employee out of a job they like without prior consultation is a potential discouragement, and they may end up leaving the company.
Best ways to make job rotation work
It is evident now that if a job rotation is mismanaged, it can go wrong. Below are some of the best practices that promote the positives and reduces the negatives of job rotation:
Set goals: Highlight what you hope to accomplish at the end of the process. By setting goals, you have an objective you're working towards.
See it as a learning experience: If you can see the job rotation exercise as a learning experience, it can be a fulfilling experience for you as an employee. Make an effort to learn whatever you can in order to advance your career goals.
Feedback: Ensure you give good and constructive feedback to your employers whenever you have issues regarding the exercise. With this, you're able to communicate effectively, so your work experience is favourable.
Document your experience: Written documentation on various parts of each task is helpful in job rotation since it allows you to track and monitor your progress at each stage of the exercise. This documentation reinforces your knowledge while also systematizing your approach to the exercise.
Ask for help: If you're having problems adjusting to the exercise, ask your manager to assist you.
Job rotation examples
Here are some samples of job rotation and how it works in real industries:
Example 1: Nursing
Stones Hospital has created a nursing job rotation program where they assign nurses to different departments quarterly. This change enables the nurses to understand how the various departments work within the hospital, preparing them for interactions with coworkers in other departments.
The program reduces turnover and stress of the nurses as the transfer from one department to another prevents the overload from a particular department. There is better cohesiveness amongst the general hospital staff, and available staff feel part of a larger team.
Example 2: Manufacturing
The Woodland Construction Company is a production company that manufactures construction equipment and machinery. They have various roles in their factories. They've discovered that employees who spend too much time at their stations are likely to suffer physical consequences and injuries from their work, thus creating a job rotation program to reduce the rate of damage and injuries.
The rotation program is an important safety measure and is therefore compulsory for every employee within the company to take a new position every three months.
Example 3: Brewing
Devin Breweries offer a rotating traineeship for recent graduates and aspiring brewers to learn several aspects of the business. They can sign up for a multi-year program that allows them to take a new role every six months, helping them learn the business's operation.
The traineeship program allows the recruits to identify the specific business area that appeals to them the most, which the company takes note of and helps develop the necessary skills.
Example 4: Marketing
Impact Marketing Co. owns several office branches all over the world where they work with clients of diverse personalities. They have created a job rotation program, allowing their employees to work in a different location every 18 months. The job title remains the same, but the clients change. This enables the employees to develop new communication and marketing skills.
Their employees support the program as it allows them to travel worldwide while building their careers. This practice has helped Impact Marketing Company attract talented employees.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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