Job Rotation Program: Advantages and Disadvantages For Your Business
Many business owners are always looking for new and innovative ways to keep their employees engaged when it comes to workplace productivity. One strategy that has become increasingly popular in recent years is job rotation. Job rotation is a program where employees are moved between different jobs or positions within the company. This can be a great way to keep employees engaged and motivated, but it also has its drawbacks. This blog post will explore the pros and cons of job rotation programs for businesses.
What is job rotation?
Job rotation is a practice of laterally rotating employees from one position to another within the organisation. These rotations happen between different roles of the same level and are not seen as promotions. They are temporary and employees return to their original roles after a certain period.
Most companies undertake job rotation to familiarise employees with different facets of their business, expand their working prowess and usability across verticals, and stimulate motivation to kill boredom. It is also an opportunity for the employees to showcase their talent and quick learning abilities and prove themselves as an asset to the company.
Advantages of job rotation
Job rotation has a long list of advantages that can benefit both employers and employees. Here are some of the most significant of them all:
Provides a wider learning graph
Job rotation is an excellent way of helping employees develop different skill sets and gain more knowledge and competencies as they work in different positions and departments. It also helps employees gain a deeper understanding of processes and how things work in an organisation.
Such cross-vertical and inter-departmental understanding of processes is especially beneficial for managers and senior leadership groups. Their knowledge can have a positive trickle effect benefiting the entire organisation.
Creates a flexible workforce
Working in different positions and learning new skills helps employees become more flexible. They can be utilised in various departments and at different positions. This helps organisations have ready and available alternatives in case of emergency or absence of employees.
Training, orientation, and placement
This is usually carried out with new employees or freshers. Newly appointed employees go through various job rotations so that they can identify what they would want to pursue. It also gives the organisation a clearer idea about where the hired employee fits the best within the organisational structure. It is a highly effective way of optimally utilising a newly hired talent.
Higher employee satisfaction, lower attrition
A few of the most common reasons for employees leaving an organisation are the lack of job satisfaction and fewer growth opportunities. Job rotation helps employees gain more insights and knowledge about different functions, offers newer opportunities and challenges, and gives them more prospects to grow professionally. This results in higher job satisfaction and ultimately leads to a lower attrition rate.
Disadvantages of job rotation
Although job rotation comes with ample benefits, there are certain disadvantages as well:
Frequent interruptions in work
When employees join a new role, they need time to reach their optimum productivity. This transition period can disrupt productivity and increase inefficiency. Each employee takes their own time to adjust and adapt to a new role. It is important to talk to the employee before changing their roles frequently.
An employee pursuing multiple roles can lead to misunderstanding and confusion about what they are supposed to do. One way of tackling this situation is to have a peer mentoring program so that employees can learn from one another and help settle down in different roles.
Unsettling the employees
Regular and frequent rotation may lead to a sense of being uprooted and unsettled. Another potential disadvantage is disgruntled employees. If an employee likes a certain position or role and is shifted to another position that they don’t enjoy as much might result in dissatisfaction and reduced productivity.
Best practices of Job Rotation
If you opt for job rotation, it must be a well-thought-out decision. Simply implementing it because your peers are doing it isn’t the best reason.
You must first ensure that it is possible in your organisation and the nature of your business, whether your employees are open to it, and will it benefit them or not. Here are some best practices to follow:
Ensure it benefits the employees
Job rotation should be implemented only if it benefits your employees. Blindly following the trend because everyone around you is doing it is not the right reason. If employees are purposelessly rotated, it leads to inefficiency, lowered productivity, role unclarity, etc.
Make the purpose clear to the employees
Before you rotate your employees, they should be told why this program is being implemented and why they are being shifted to another role. The employees knowing the purpose and reason for job rotation will help them accept and excel it better.
Monitor the performance of each employee
Once you identify the purpose of job rotation, you will also be clear about what you are looking at from the employees after their roles are changed.
Monitor their performance to get an idea about whether the plan is working or not. You can divide them into groups and assign a mentor to keep track of their progress and guide them wherever possible.
Align job rotation to an employee’s career path
Managers must know what employees are looking for in their career progression, and their job rotation should be aligned with their goals. This will help them gain desired skills and benefit the organisation and keep them interested in new positions.
Take their feedback
Job rotation should never be a compulsion, and the employees should not be forced into it. So, take their feedback about whether they are enjoying the process or not. Take appropriate action depending upon what they say. Let your employees also give feedback about their new positions, department, and processes. A new perspective might help you improve things.
Examples of Job Rotation Programs
Several companies across the world have adopted the job rotation program to give their employees a larger scope to learn and improve on their job. In return, these companies benefit from a flexible and better-learned workforce. Let’s look at some famous examples:
An American PR and marketing company, Edelman, sends its high-performing employees to an international location to live and work for up to 18 months. The idea is to prepare its employees to work in a completely different environment and learn from different perspectives, challenges, and diverse cross-cultural exchanges.
Job rotation of nurses
A recent study showed that the job rotation of nurses benefited them greatly as they gained more knowledge, skills, and influence. Interpersonal exchange of knowledge and new learnings also helped them create a more efficient workforce.
The Slumber Yard
For mattress review, an online giant, Slumber Yard, opted for job rotation to reduce the impact of employee turnover. With its employees trained in multiple disciplines, they can slide into another employee’s role in case of a turnover. This reduced stress and below-par hiring.
Technologist Program at Heineken
The Dutch beer brewer has a job rotation program called the Technologist Program that rotates selected trainees to work in different departments like packaging, product development, quality assurance, etc. Depending on how they fare in various roles, they are then assigned a department they are best suited to. This program ensures that the best skills are implemented in the right departments.
Job rotation is an excellent opportunity for both employers and employees to test and hone their skills. The benefits are for everyone to reap. But it is also essential to plan and execute it right. If done well, it can increase the employees' skill sets, create a flexible workforce, and maintain higher job satisfaction.
But if implemented without putting enough thought into it, the results can be disgruntled employees, reduced productivity, and confusion on role responsibilities. It is, therefore, critical that you analyse your reasons for going for a job rotation program and inspect whether your employees want it and whether your business can afford it before jumping on the bandwagon.