Job Rotation

Job rotation is a method of moving employees around a variety of roles that is often used for employee development. Modern workplace solution guide here.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: August 7, 2022
  • 5 Minutes
job rotation at workplaces in the UK explained by Papershift

Keeping staff happy and fulfilled can be a full-time job for many employers. One way that modern workplaces are attempting to do this is through job rotation.

But what exactly is job rotation and how does it benefit employers and employees?

Read on to find out.

What is job rotation?

Job rotation is a method of moving employees around a variety of roles that is often used for employee development. Job rotation gives the employee the opportunity to develop skills in a variety of changing jobs. In job rotation, employees will make lateral moves the majority of the time, but job rotation can also involve receiving a ​promotion.

Job rotation is a key tool that employers can use when they want to help their employees further develop their skills and careers. Career development is often a critical component in attracting and retaining staff and job rotation can help with this.

How can job rotation be done successfully? 

Job rotation can take place piecemeal, or it can be carefully planned and executed with specific end results in mind. The employee(s) who is/are involved in a carefully planned job rotation will benefit and learn. He or she will systematically build skills that enable the employee to contribute more effectively to the goals of your organization.

These are the six areas to concentrate on when planning an effective job rotation.

Job Rotation must start with an end goal in mind

The goal of job rotation determines the job changes. Thus, if a department in which every employee is cross trained to do every job is the goal, careful structuring of the rotation must occur. 

If the development of individual employees, ​for eventual promotion, to advance the employees’ career options, to avoid job boredom, or to create backup help for vacation times, is the goal, the job rotation plans will differ. Effective job rotation only happens when there is a target to aim for.

Job rotation must be carefully planned

An optimum training plan helps the employee build upon the skills learned at each step of job rotation. The plan should involve the employee participating in a series of jobs on a path that other results in them becoming a fully trained employee or achieving a specific goal. 

The effectiveness of the job rotation plan must be regularly evaluated so that the best job rotation plan is in place.

Employees must be able to assess whether the job rotation is achieving their goals

The steps in a job rotation should be measurable and build upon each other. Only measurable goals at each job rotation will assist the employee to see that their employer cares about their career and their personal and professional development. This is a significant factor in whether a business retains employees.

Both the employee and the organization need to benefit from job rotation

Constantly teaching employees new job skills is time-consuming and saps organizational energy. If the employee sees nothing in it for them, job rotation won’t work or motivate employees. 

Additional compensation is often provided as employees learn new or more difficult jobs in job rotation. This can lead to more business costs which may not be justifiable if you already have a lot of fully trained staff.

Have a mentor, internal trainer, or supervisor work with the employee

As an employee moves to each new job, he or she should be assigned to another employee who has the responsibility to teach, answer questions, and mentor during the training. This enables an organization to reinforce the training each step of the way. It also enables employers to make sure employees are well trained. 

Have written documentation, an employee manual, or online resource to enhance learning

Written documentation about various aspects of each job is helpful in job rotation to reduce the employee learning curve. This documentation can be developed by employees doing the job and help reinforce their own knowledge.

What are the advantages of job rotation for employees?

Job rotation provides a career path for employees when ​a promotion isn’t available, or when the employee does not want a promotion or management responsibilities. Job rotation provides the employee with the ability to:

  1. Gain knowledge and skills by learning different jobs that provide different responsibilities.
  2. Overcomes potential boredom and job dissatisfaction by having a new and different job with changed responsibilities and tasks.
  3. Be challenged. Job rotation allows employees to be given a new challenge, an opportunity for the employee to expand his or her knowledge, attain new accomplishments, and potentially influence different aspects of the organization.
  4. Learn about different facets of the organization and how work is accomplished in different departments or job functions. This will build his or her organizational knowledge and ability to get things done.
  5. Be prepared for an eventual promotion by receiving the chance to expand his or her skill set and responsibilities.
  6. Gain visibility with a new group of co-workers and managers. Visibility for a good employee brings potential opportunities.

Are there any issues with job rotation?

There are several potential barriers and difficulties with implementing job rotation, these include:

  • Not all jobs and departments are a good fit for job rotation.
  • It can lead to short-term productivity losses and product quality issues.
  • Workers may not want to rotate because they have an “easier job” already.
  • Workers not qualified for some jobs due to restrictions or ability.
  • Union or other workplace policies related to job bidding and compensation.

Is job rotation legal?

The UK law states has nothing to say specifically about job rotation. It is important to note, however, that job rotation may alter an employee’s contract of employment and this can only be done legally with their consent.

In conclusion

Job rotation is viewed as desirable by employees because of the impact a lateral move or promotion has on the employee’s opportunity for personal and professional growth and motivation. Job rotation is seen as a continuing commitment from the employer that enables employees to develop and grow in their employment and pursue a desirable career path.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide. For more informative workplace information, check out the rest of our website.

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Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)