Time & Attendance
Prevent Call Outs
Implementation & Launch
By Jana Reserva
Mar. 2, 2023
Job rotation is a business practice that allows employees to temporarily move between job roles. It’s a strategy that, at its core, seeks to develop employee skills and interests in new areas of the organization.
It is a practice that is vital to many different aspects of workforce management — from employee engagement to succession planning. Here are five key benefits of job rotation and why you should consider implementing a system for it.
Communicating a person’s value to the team is at the core of employee engagement. While the proverbial pat on the back and consistent encouragement are useful, exposing employees to other job roles is a much more concrete way of communicating to an employee the value they bring to the entire organization.
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Job rotation can pave the way for employees to upskill. Through this experience, employees can gain the knowledge and technical skills needed for a higher position or role. In addition, hiring or promoting from within the organization can boost employee retention and keep recruitment and training costs low.
Job rotation can be vital to an organization’s training and development program. While employee courses and company-sponsored seminars are great opportunities, job rotation enables employees to learn from first-hand experience. It promotes learning by doing and allows employees to try their hand at all kinds of new skills they otherwise would never have a chance to practice. While job rotation may introduce new technical skills to an employee’s repertoire, it can also hone soft skills they might already possess like teamwork, communication, self-direction.
When you conduct job rotation, you get to assess your talent base. You can determine which employees have the potential for specific roles or discover certain gaps needing to be filled. With this insight, you can make your succession planning more effective, especially when a core team member in the organization leaves.
Furthermore, job rotation equips your staff to be more flexible. In unexpected changes or shifts in the organization, your employees can rise up to the occasion and be more comfortable dealing with these changes — all thanks to the exposure and crosstraining they gained during job rotation periods.
Job rotation helps break silos between departments by allowing employees to work outside of their traditional teams. This promotes better communication and rapport and helps employees ease into the idea of working on cross-departmental projects or tasks. In addition, it fosters better relationships and a stronger sense of belonging across the organization.
Job rotation generally benefits all kinds of organizations, but it has critical benefits specific to business size or industry.
Due to their limited talent pool, small businesses must ensure that staff are flexible and multi-faceted, ready to adapt to any situation where they are needed to fill in. Doing this saves on wage costs in the long run, as investing in recruitment and training is not a luxury small businesses typically have.
Job rotations in large organizations primarily helps professional development and succession planning. Rotating employees allows staff to enrich their network within the company, equipping them with more knowledge and capacity to participate in cross-functional projects or even qualify for lateral movement.
Hospitality businesses, retail stores, and restaurants can use job rotation to equip their employees with the skills necessary for better customer service. Aside from that, allowing them to rotate to different roles in the company can improve their agility when facing shorthanded situations.
Manufacturing and industrial businesses
Job rotation provides employees with a deeper understanding of what happens at every step of the production line. This can broaden their skills, equip them to be more flexible, and provide opportunities for them to suggest how to make things more efficient.
While job rotation has advantages, it can also be detrimental if not done right. It can disrupt operations, reduce productivity, and increase training costs. There are also cases when employees tend to resist going on job rotations. So these are factors you must consider as you devise a plan for your organization.
To make job rotation effective for you, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
Set specific goals and timelines
Employees perform best when there is clarity. Rotating them in between different roles is no exception. Clearly state why they will be temporarily assigned to a different position and what’s expected of them after training.
For instance, if you want to move an employee from marketing to support, set a clear goal and objective after job rotation. Is it how quickly and accurately they respond to product-related queries? Or is it the number of content types and topics the marketing team could do based on actual customer questions?
It’s also essential to set a specific timeframe. For example, job rotation can last a few weeks to even a few years. Regardless of the duration that makes the most sense for your organization, it’s best to determine and specify this right off the bat to manage expectations.
Devise a preparation plan for employees who will go on job rotation
Transferring to another team and doing a new set of tasks can be daunting to employees. That’s why you must allow them to prepare before they go on job rotation. While the goal is to equip them by experiencing the job first-hand, that doesn’t mean that you just allow them to go in blind. It would be beneficial to schedule orientation sessions with the supervisor they will work with. Providing learning materials to help them have a basic knowledge of the job will also help.
Time job rotations accordingly
Identify if there are periods within a year where there’s not much activity, and consider scheduling job rotations during this period. Then, because it’s not too busy, you have more room for adjustments and coaching. For instance, if you’re in hospitality, you can schedule job rotations during off-peak seasons.
Remember to gather feedback after each job rotation finishes. Doing so will give you insight into your job rotation program’s effectiveness. Make sure to act on employee feedback and improve whenever necessary.
Develop job rotation policies according to career path
Identify what career paths employees want to take. Some employees are more interested in technical advancement, which means it’s more focused on a particular function or being an individual contributor. Meanwhile, some workers are more inclined to go on a managerial track, where they would be more involved in leadership and managing teams.
Whatever it is, make sure that you curate a job rotation program according to employees’ preferred track. Employees are more likely to be receptive to the program when it’s aligned with their career goals.
Using the right technology helps you implement and stay on top of job rotations. Workforce.com has the tools for ensuring that staff is scheduled correctly, job rotations are timed at the most appropriate time, and that communication is seamless during this period.
Scheduling for job rotations
Creating shifts for employees on job rotations is as simple as creating regular schedules. Select the location and department they’re assigned to work in and add necessary notes or reminders before you send out the schedule.
Workforce.com also gives you an oversight on potential gaps and areas you need to fill once job rotation starts. This enables you to quickly find another team member who’s qualified to work any vacant shift.
Identifying the right time to implement job rotations
We talked about how crucial it is to time job rotations during slow work periods. Workforce.com’s reporting and analytics give you an insight into these things by looking at your historical data to identify less busy seasons.
Communication and gathering feedback
Get immediate and regular feedback from your employee during job rotation. Within the Workforce.com app, staff are prompted to rate their shift and can easily share feedback on how it went while on the program. With this, you can address concerns promptly and ensure that employees on job rotation are achieving their goals and objectives.
Workforce.com is a robust workforce management platform designed to streamline performance, skills management, scheduling, and employee engagement for mid-market businesses to enterprises. It’s built with tools to ensure you’re never over or understaffed, regardless of the season.
If you plan to implement job rotation schedules within your organization, Workforce.com can help ensure that your operations are running smoothly, even with staff temporarily assigned to other roles.
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