What Is Job Rotation?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Job rotation is a type of business strategy that allows for the movement of employees from one position to another, usually following some sort of logical progression that aids employees in developing skills and attributes that ultimately benefit the business. Often used as part of a cross-training program, the idea is to help the business create a pool of qualified employees who are capable of fulfilling more than one function within the company structure. Employees benefit from this arrangement by becoming more familiar with the overall business operation, and over time qualifying for positions that may offer more in the way of salary or wages and other benefits.

Job rotation helps reduce the incidence of boredom on the job.
Job rotation helps reduce the incidence of boredom on the job.

With job rotation, the idea is to expose employees to a wider range of functions within the business and make it possible for those same employees to become proficient in performing in several different roles. Programs of this type can provide both immediate and long-term benefits for employees. In the short-term, employees who are usually assigned duties that are somewhat repetitive may be provided with the opportunity to do something different. This in turn helps to reduce the incidence of boredom on the job that can sometimes have an adverse effect of productivity. At the same time, the employee is likely to feel a sense of pride in being selected for the cross-training, perceiving the job rotation as a vote of confidence on the part of the employer.

Over the long-term, the job rotation strategy allows employees to understand the company operation to a greater degree. This can aid employees in determining if there are other roles within the company that they believe they can manage competently. Since the cross-training helps to provide the practical experience and background required, this can lead to promotions that provide higher income and possibly additional benefits.

Employers also benefit from using a job rotation process. When the rotation involves the right employee cross-training for a position he or she is capable of doing, the end result is an increase in the overall pool of expertise within the business. This helps to protect the company from the problems that result from the sudden loss of a valued employee, since the rotation scheme has ensured that at least a few employees can step into the vacant position and perform adequately. Since promoting from within helps to minimize the expenses of hiring and training personnel from outside the company structure, the flow of production is likely to remain relatively undisturbed.

While there are a number of benefits for all concerned, there are also a few potential disadvantages of job rotation. A poor selection of candidates for cross-training can have a negative impact on productivity, serving to undermine the confidence of employees and possibly causing them to doubt their abilities. When used to excess, the approach can effectively close off certain positions to new hires, which can also stem the flow of new and creative approaches that would ultimately benefit the business.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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