Job rotation is a technique used by some employers to rotate their employees’ assigned jobs throughout their employment. Employers practice this technique for a number of reasons. It was designed to promote flexibility of employees and to keep employees interested into staying with the company/organization which employs them. There is also research that shows how job rotations help relieve the stress of employees who work in a job that requires manual labor.
- Employee Learning
- Rotation making employees more versatile
- Gives employees a broader understanding of the business allowing them to be better prepared to be promoted to management.
- Employer Learning
- Using job rotation employers can learn their individual worker’s strengths
- Employers receive a flexible and knowledgeable workforce that can be sourced throughout the company or agency.
- Employee Motivation
- Rotation reduces boredom.
- More knowledge of the company as a whole may lead to more promotions.
Job rotation may also be used to alleviate the physical and mental stresses endured by employees when working at the same position, year after year. By allowing employees to rotate to other positions, the risk factors for some types of musculoskeletal disorders may be reduced Job Rotation is also believed to have the ability to decrease the amount of boredom and monotony experienced by employees who work the same position for extended periods of time. Job rotation caters to the employee’s preferences in a variety of tasks, letting them be more flexible in their positions while endowing workers with a wide range of skills. This also allows the worker job security by developing multiple skills instead of specializing in one aspect. In times of urgency or emergency employees in job rotation are prepared to deal with unusual operations other more specialized workers may not be able to.
Employers are able to evaluate employees not only for their output but also for their personality traits and team work skills. “Output measures may easily be translated into attributes such as leadership abilities, technical competence, relations with others and judgement.” Job rotation benefits the private sector by allowing workers to become flexible in skills needed throughout the company not just in one section or division, this allows companies to benefit through lower costs of needing to train new employees to do the same job. There are different reasons a company may choose to use job rotation such as using job rotation as a learning mechanism. Research suggests that there are significant benefits that may outweigh the costs involved with training employees for diversified positions. This employment opportunity has an effect of boosting morale and self-efficacy. The company may benefit from using job rotation by having the ability to staff key positions within a company that are needed at the moment instead of having to train a specialist to fill an urgent position. This practice may allow a company to run more efficiently, and as a result, become more productive and profitable.
One of the drawbacks of staying in a role for too long is a loss of motivation. Job rotation ensures a change of scenery 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.
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.
Satisfaction & attrition:
When someone is stuck in a job for 4 or 5 years, they may be at a high risk of leaving. Job rotation offers the opportunity for a change of scenery and challenge people, leading to increased satisfaction and lower employee attrition.
When a critical employee suddenly leaves, their role will have to be replaced by someone in the company. Here, job rotation can play a role. 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.
Orientation and placement:
An area 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.
Rotation allows employees to do different jobs leading to a more flexible workforce. If people can be deployed into two or three roles, your total available workforce will be larger and much more flexible to fill any of the available roles.
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. Similarly, managers may need to experience different departments before they’re ready for a senior leadership position in which they need this experience.
Job Rotation Objectives
The concept of succession planning is ‘Who will replace whom’. Its main 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.
Reducing Monotony of the Job:
The first and foremost objective of job rotation is to reduce the monotony and repetitiveness involved in a job. It allows employees to experience different type of jobs and motivates them to perform well at each stage of job replacement.
Creating Right-Employee Job Fit:
The success of an organization depends on the on-job productivity of its employees. If they’re 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 employee as well as organization. Therefore, fitting a right person in right vacancy is one of the main objectives of job rotation.
Testing Employee Skills and Competencies:
Testing and analyzing employee skills and competencies and then assigning them the work that they excel at is one of the major functions of job rotation process. It is done by moving them to different jobs and assignments and determining their proficiency and aptitude. Placing them what they are best at increases their on-job productivity.
Exposing Workers to All Verticals of the Company:
Another main function of job rotation process is to exposing workers to all verticals or operations of the organization in order to make them aware how company operates and how tasks are performed. It gives them a chance to understand the working of the organization and different issues that crop up while working.
Developing a Wider Range of Work Experience:
Employees usually don’t want to change their area of operations. Once they start performing a specific task, they don’t 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 an overall development of an individual. Along with this, they understand the problems of various departments and try to adjust or adapt accordingly.
Disadvantages of job rotation
Another disadvantage is that the person who rotates out of a role may still have superior (tacit) knowledge and connections. This may result in this person staying (partially) involved in the role, leading to role clarity. One way to tackle this issue is by having a peer mentoring program in place.
When an employee joins a new role, they need to learn the ropes before reaching their optimum productivity level. Because of this, rotation can lead to frequent interruptions in work and corresponding inefficiencies.
Lack of opportunity:
Job rotation is often horizontal, meaning that people will not get a promotion but rather a different role on the same level. This may feel like a sidestep instead of a next step, throwing people off their envisioned career path. Assessing their level of ambition and framing the rotation as an opportunity to learn more diverse skills that will benefit them later in their career is a best practice here.
Rotating people out of a job they like may reduce their motivation. A potential disadvantage is disgruntled employees who will not like the new job, lack motivation, and may even consider leaving the organization.