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Boost productivity & retention with a job-rotation plan

by on
in Centerpiece,HR Management,Human Resources

job rotationSmall and midsize organizations, by necessity, often temporarily rotate employees between jobs due to small staffs and turnover.

So why not turn an informal necessity into a formal career development program? A rotation plan can teach new skills, increase engagement and provide career paths for stagnated top performers who’ve outgrown their positions.

The pros

Job-rotation programs help exempt employees improve business skills more than technical and admin abilities. Also, nonexempt workers enhance technical skills over admin know-how.

Organizations can identify promising candidates for promotion and give them experience they need to advance.

Institutional knowledge increases because workers know more about the business and can perform more jobs.

The cons

Productivity drops temporarily as workers learn new jobs, make mistakes and possibly fail some assignments.

The workload will increase for those who don’t rotate. As a result, department managers may balk at including their most productive employees.  

Studies show that early-career professionals and managers are most interested in rotation because they believe it benefits their advancement. Later-stage employees are least attracted.

5 guidelines to a smart program

  1. Create a job-rotation policy that defines eligibility and explains which jobs are included. It’s difficult to include highly specialized jobs that require special training or degrees.  
  2. Make it clear that job rotation is voluntary, not mandatory. Employees who do it willingly are more likely to succeed.
  3. Include professional, management, nonexempt and nonexempt employees of all ages and experience. Don’t rotate new hires and younger employees faster. Reason: Broad inclusion helps managers and employees discover hidden talents that can benefit the organization.  
  4. Prior to each rotation, define the skills that employees should learn and explain management’s expectations.    
  5. Don’t rotate employees too quickly. People should spend enough time in each task to learn the skills required to perform it well.  

Final tip: Job rotation requires teamwork from the entire organization, including managers and employees who don’t participate directly.

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