Curb Turnover Using Job-Rotation Plan, Not Job Sharing

You know that employees who feel stalled in their careers are more inclined to quit. But how can organizations keep their workers energized and constantly training for a step up?

One solution that’s gaining steam: a new breed of job-rotation program.

The typical job-swaps of the past had a high failure rate, and HR efforts would often fizzle over time. Those programs focused on job sharing, which employees perceived as more for the benefit of the employer, than for them.

Today’s job-rotation programs are positioned more squarely as an employee benefit: a more formalized career-development and succession-planning tool that can help employees advance and learn.

Example: At the Georgia Institute of Technology, six top performers are chosen for an 18-month job-rotation program in which they shadow the directors in each of seven departments.

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Here are some recommendations to follow in setting a job-rotation plan:

  • Don’t limit it. Consider job rotations for employees in nonexempt jobs, as well as in professional and managerial jobs. This can help develop and retain employees in all types of jobs.
  • Bill it as voluntary. Employees should perceive job rotations as voluntary and positive from their point of view. Decide if your job-rotation assignments will be up for bid, assigned or must be sought out.
  • Define goals. Clearly understand which skills you’ll enhance by placing an employee into the job-rotation process. Address skills that aren’t part of the rotation through specific training and management coaching.
  • Make it flexible. Some organizations rotate employees too fast in early-career stages and too slow in later-career stages. Job rotation can be a good way to reduce job plateaus by adding new energy to employees’ work. Consider half-day or project-based rotations that don’t require a formal shift in location and managers.