An Introduction to Job Rotation and How It Can Benefit Your Company

By Maria Forbes
September 4, 2020

We often talk about the selection and on board new team members. However, longer term employees often experience burnout when working the same job for an extended period. When initially hired, most employees will feel energized and motivated to excel. As the years pass, however, their energy and motivation levels may decrease. Some of these burned-out employees may stay, whereas others may quit. The good news is that you can prevent problems such as this within your company’s workforce by embracing job rotation.

What Is Job Rotation?

Job rotation is a human resources (HR) strategy that involves cross-training employees through multiple job functions during their tenure. Instead of restricting an employee to a single job, you can progress him or her through other jobs at various intervals. After working a job for a specified period, the employee can move to a different job. Countless companies use it to engage their employees.

How Job Rotation Works

As an employer, you might be wondering how job rotation works. Well, there’s no cookie-cutter approach. Rather, companies often create their own custom strategy that’s closely aligned with their goals. With that said, the core components are relatively the same for all companies.
Instead of keeping employees locked into a single and specified role, you move them to different positions periodically. An employee may work a job for six months or a year, after which you can move that person to a different one for a similar length of time. It’s called “job rotation” because it involves cycling employees through multiple jobs. After the employee has worked several new positions, he or she may return to the original job. So, what benefits does job rotation offer?

Increased Motivation

Employees will feel more motivated if you rotate them through multiple jobs. When an employee is forced to work the same role for an extended period, he or she will become less motivated. A study published by researchers from Pennsylvania State University (PSU), in fact, found that employees were more motivated when given the opportunity to work in various functions. Job rotation provides employees with new opportunities to express their professional skills. They’ll have new duties and responsibilities, and most employees will appreciate this change of pace. As a result, they’ll have a stronger desire to push themselves.

Prevents Boredom

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that job rotation prevents boredom. Employees often get bored when working the same job year after year. Boredom is the byproduct of an employee performing the same task or tasks for an extended period. The employee may initially feel excited, but as time passes, he or she will become bored. Although there are other ways to prevent boredom, job rotation is on of the most effective. Cross-training employees on different positions within your organization will stimulate them so that they don’t become bored.

Drives Productivity

Job rotation can drive higher productivity for employees. Employees are almost always more productive when they are allowed to cycle through several roles within your company. As previously mentioned, cross-training increases motivation and decreases boredom in employees. The combination of these effects has a positive impact on their productivity levels. Employees will work their hardest in each of their jobs. They’ll be more effective and efficient workers while subsequently helping your company succeed at achieving its goals.

Encourages Teamwork

Another benefit of job rotation is that it encourages teamwork. When an employee moves to a new job, he or she will likely work with new people. The employee will have a new team of coworkers and as a result, the employee will build stronger teamwork skills. He or she will become accustomed to working with new people. With stronger teamwork skills, the employee will be more productive while also exhibiting a higher level of satisfaction.

Lowers Turnover Rate

Job rotation can even lower your company’s turnover rate. Employees may quit if they are forced to stay at the same position for an extended period. Working the same job can be tedious or downright monotonous. As an employee’s job satisfaction decreases, he or she may quit. You can lower your company’s turnover rate, however, by embracing this strategy, and it will often compel employees to stay.

Identify Leaders

You can identify leaders within your company more easily if you embrace job rotation. Learning a new job requires employees to step outside of their comfort zone while expressing their professional skills in a new environment. You can observe employees during this transition to determine which ones are leaders. If an employee goes above and beyond the call of duty after moving to a new job, he or she may be a suitable leader. Identifying leaders is more difficult when employees are forced to work a single job.

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