Here are the benefits of job rotation in the workplace — and how you can create a program for your employees.
Here's what you need to know:
- There are many reasons that an employee may want to participate in a job rotation program, such as changing directions in their career or expanding their skillset
- Companies can benefit from providing a structured rotation program through increased employee engagement and retention rates
- Some steps you can take to create a program include finding an executive sponsor and setting concrete objectives
In an employee rotation program, an employee from one department moves from their role to take on a temporary assignment within another team. In some formal programs, the intention is for the employee to return to their original job, while in other programs, the intention is to help the employee transition into different areas of the business.
If you’re interested in building a rotation program within your company (or curious about the benefits) we’ve got you covered with this guide!
Why would an employee want to be in a rotation program?
There are many reasons that an employee may want to participate in a job rotation program. Consider the following scenarios:
Many people decide mid-career that they are looking to change directions. Providing a rotation program gives them the opportunity to build new skills in their desired area of interest.
The recent graduate
New graduates may not be sure what kind of career interests them yet. Graduate rotation programs allow them to spend a set amount of time in various departments and rotate through different areas of the business. This helps them try things on for size as they begin to map out their career.
The mid-career professional looking to pivot
Many people decide mid-career that they are looking to change directions. Providing a rotation program gives them the opportunity to build new skills in their desired area of interest while continuing their career without having to seek new employment.
The professional looking to expand their skills
Many professionals may be looking to stay within their current role. However, they may also want to expand their knowledge of the business and build a wider breadth of their responsibility.
How does the company benefit?
The employer can almost always benefit from providing a structured rotation program. Some benefits include (but are not limited to):
- Increased knowledge management: As employees share their lessons learned and unique knowledge across the organization, information can be shared easily through silos and is retained within the company.
- Increased retention rates: If you’re able to provide your employees with opportunities to contribute in new ways while developing their skills, you’ll increase their career growth and career path at the company — thus decreasing the likelihood of them leaving the organization.
- Increase engagement: By allowing employees to contribute more to the company at another level, you also allow people from different backgrounds to develop new expertise and keep them engaged with their work.
These are all net benefits for everyone and can help give your company a competitive edge.
So, how can I get started?
Here is a seven-step plan to help you start your program:
1. Find an executive sponsor
Having a sponsor at the leadership level will help you gain buy-in from managers and employees.
2. Conduct a needs analysis
To get a better sense of how this program can fit into your overall talent management strategy, have conversations with people at all levels to understand where and what the biggest gaps are.
3. Create your program objectives
Based on your needs analysis, you can create objectives to build your program around. Objectives can be something like “upskill employees and create cross-vertical networks” or “build career paths.” Having strong objectives will keep you laser-focused on the “why” and keep your program on track.
Create objectives to build your program around. Objectives can be something like “upskill employees and create cross-vertical networks” or “build career paths.”
4. Evangelize your program
In order for your program to be successful, you’ll need to show managers the benefit and the “what’s in it for me.” Without their support, they might be reluctant to let their employees take on rotations, or be reluctant to mentor employees participating in rotation.
5. Create parameters that work for your company
A rotation program needs to have defined timeframes, duration, available mentorship, criteria for acceptance, an application process, and boundaries around whether the rotation will be full-time or part-time. Much of these decisions can be guided by your needs assessment and objectives.
6. Automate wherever possible
When it comes to designing your program, think carefully through all steps of the process so that you can create automation throughout. For example, investing in Slack bots like Donut can help you automate the communication and feedback process for participants and managers as they go through your program. Think about present needs but design for future needs too.
7. Mitigate and plan for risks
If your managers are not prepared and trained, they won’t do a good job at mentoring the participant throughout the rotation. Thus, the experience will be negative. You might also have employees who are disappointed if their rotation does not turn into a full-time job. This is where communicating the objectives of the program ahead of time is crucial. Highlight your blind spots early on to ensure that you can manage resistance points before they become a problem.
Most importantly, keep your lines of communication open at all times and keep the benefits of the program top of mind as you run into any obstacles.
Have you tried out a rotation program in your business? Tell us how it went or what you’re doing!