What are some examples of rotational movements

Job rotation: tips for changing roles

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Job rotation sounds like a lively little tree-changing game, but it is a serious personal instrument with many advantages. Companies develop young talent, employees broaden their horizons - and sometimes their perspective. In the best case, job rotation ensures satisfied employees who have extensive knowledge of various areas in the company. At the same time, there are some uncertainties and questions, above all: What exactly is job rotation and how does it work? We explain it to you and show you what you have to pay attention to so that the job rotation is a success ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what is job rotation?

In the Job rotation the employees change regularly - or for a limited time - to another position or to another function within the company. Job rotation is one of the forms of work organization and describes a systematic change in tasks and functions. Instead of only taking on a single position and task for months and years, employees can look into other areas, take on new responsibilities and get to know other aspects of the company.

Employers who rely on job rotation don't do so without good reason. Usually several goals are pursued at the same time. These include…

  • Improvement and expansion of specialist knowledge
  • Understanding of relationships in the company
  • Internal leadership development
  • Preparation for new responsibilities
  • Expansion of the areas of activity
  • Reduction of monotony in the job

Depending on the job and activity, job rotation can be an important means of Productivity and performance to guarantee. Tasks that require a great deal of concentration or are particularly monotonous as routine work can usually only be carried out for a short time before mistakes are made. This is where job rotation at short intervals can help to maintain good quality and results.

Glossary: ​​Important terms and differences in job rotation

The principles of job rotation are easy to understand, but companies can still develop very individual strategies for implementation. In order to make the most of the rotation and to achieve the greatest benefits (more on this below in the article), the job rotation must be adapted to the expectations and needs in the company.

Various methods have become established that belong to forms of job rotation or are very similar - which is why a more precise differentiation makes sense. We have an overview for you small glossary of job rotation created:

  • Job shadowing

    How to stick a shadow to a colleague? That sounds uncomfortable and annoying at first, but as job shadowing it is a quite common form of job rotation. The colleague is observed at work and looked over his shoulder (not intrusively). The aim is to learn how and what he is working on. In this way, new colleagues in particular can learn from experienced employees and gain good insights.

  • Trainee programs

    The principle of rotation can be observed in many companies that offer trainee programs. Employees go through several different stations - mostly in very different areas of the company -

  • Project work

    Project work can definitely be viewed as a variant of job rotation. Teams are put together in a usually fixed time frame, dedicated to a specific task - which is often related to the daily work, but includes many other aspects and different areas.

  • Swapping

    Swapping can be seen as pure job rotation. This form is spoken of when employees exchange tasks and responsibilities with one another for a certain period of time. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the employees each have the necessary qualifications and experience to be able to take on the work of the other.

  • Observation

    An internship is usually a brief insight into a company or another area of ​​the company. This is often compared to an internship. During the internship, a better understanding of processes and required skills should be developed. Most of the time, there is also cooperation so that the interns can actively participate.

  • Job enlargement

    Job rotation can also include an enlargement of the field of work - this is referred to as job enlargement. What is important for this form is: The expansion of the tasks takes place at the same level of requirements that the previous activity had.

  • Job enrichment

    As with enlargement, job enrichment adds new fields of work to the activity. The crucial difference is that this form changes the quality of the tasks. An example is an employee who is given larger areas of responsibility or who can take over leadership within a team.

  • Job visiting

    Another option: For example, 70 percent of the employee takes on a new task and 30 percent of his old one - something that is sometimes also called in the practicing company Job visiting.

Examples: Implementation of job rotation in everyday work

The Concept of job rotation can basically be used in every company and at every level of the hierarchy. In every industry and in every area there are other positions that you know, but whose precise tasks you have so far been little or no concern of.

However, such a look beyond one's own nose can be definitely worthwhile. These show what job rotation can look like in practice three simple examples:

  • A bank employee who rotates between office and field staff
  • A junior consultant who visits the company's various international locations
  • A welder who switches back and forth between production, maintenance and toolmaking.

Toy maker Mattel is pursuing one HR strategy Job rotation: the Barbie makers now send young executives through the individual plants and departments at an early stage, more often from the headquarters in California to the plants in Mexico or Malaysia.

Sense and purpose: The employees should be right from the start hold different positions, get a big picture, be fully trained. Background: The doll manufacturers have increasing problems to find suitable specialists for the supply chain management with extensive knowledge in production, procurement and logistics. Job rotation is designed to help fix this problem, avoid the development of technical idiots.

Advantages: That's why job rotation is worthwhile

Job rotation is used as a human resource development tool - as in the example above - to better prepare employees for the requirements of the company. In this way, staff shortages are prevented at an early stage and open positions are filled with the right qualifications. At this point, however, the benefits of job rotation do not stop, because there are many other advantages, both for the company and for their employeesparticipating in the rotation.

  • Increase attention span

    A worker sorting out defective parts on the conveyor belt automatically decreases in concentration, at least after a certain time. This effect can be mitigated by taking breaks - or by job rotation.

  • Practice health prevention

    Especially for workers with physically demanding jobs, this can be relieved. This applies, for example, to activities in the factory, in the handicrafts or especially older workers. Not only is physical health protected, but psychological stress is also prevented. Otherwise, the same daily routines will become a problem for many at some point.

  • Offer variety

    Rotation leads to new tasks and challenges, to more variety - and can accordingly increase the motivation of individual employees. However, this is not a sure-fire success, but often only possible if it is accompanied by more responsibility.

  • Crime and Corruption Prevention

    Employees of banks and savings banks who have misappropriated funds. A headline that you have to read regularly in the local press. Wherever funds and accounts, sensitive data are processed and managed, the temptation for individual employees is great to hold their fingers. If the responsibility is shared by means of a job rotation, the risk can perhaps be reduced through the four-eyes principle. On the other hand, this means that even more people have access and insight into the data. So a great deal of tact, organization and planning is required here.

  • Promote further education

    Job rotation can be a building block to actually implement the fashionable concept of lifelong learning in the company. In the best case scenario, employees become more flexible, more versatile and more mentally agile.

  • Enable representation

    In some scenarios, job rotation is even unavoidable, keyword: pregnancy replacement. Companies that have experience with these models can often manage the transition more smoothly.

  • Carry out potential analysis

    Companies like to use the tool to compare candidates directly. This is often not so nice for employees, but it can also help to identify their own strengths and potentials more precisely.

  • Establish knowledge culture

    Develop an understanding of the framework conditions in the entire company, get to know the needs and constraints in other departments, and build up new knowledge. It helps to think outside the box. Incidentally, this also avoids the risk in certain functions that an employee virtually takes the entire knowledge of the department with him when changing - and leaves a gap that is too large.

  • Strengthen team building

    If the employees work together in ever new constellations, this can promote cohesion. In this way, the optimal composition of individual teams can also emerge. The other side of the coin: functioning teams are sometimes torn apart.

Downsides: Potential disadvantages of job rotation

As is well known, where there is light there is also shade and job rotation is no exception when it comes to the disadvantages.

  • Loss of time and productivity. If there is a constant need to be incorporated, explained and shown, this logically entails a loss of time. A big (mentality) problem for many companies that already prefer plug and play employees.
  • Overwhelming. Always new tasks, always new framework conditions - that always means new problems, difficulties and obstacles that should be jumped over. Quite a few employees cannot cope with this and feel overwhelmed.
  • Egoisms. Rotation means loss of control and sometimes power. Or how would you react if your colleague suddenly had to do your job? Companies - and employees themselves - should not underestimate this point. Loyalty and authority can also suffer if it is foreseeable that someone will only sit in this chair for a short time anyway.
  • Specialization. Job rotation is less suitable for small companies and professions with a high degree of specialization. In companies whose employees have very different backgrounds, it is not possible to rotate from A to B at will. Here, the practical framework is much narrower.
  • Professional code. The legal framework must not be stretched either. For certain activities, training or certain prior knowledge are necessary. A nurse, despite her knowledge, cannot take over the job of the surgeon tomorrow.

Implementation: Tips for successful job rotation

With job rotation, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages - if handled correctly. Nevertheless, this method of work organization has only caught on in a small proportion of companies. This is often due to the fear of the required effort and the uncertainty in the implementation.

In this way, the potential of job rotation often remains unused. What is also not taken into account is that employees glad of the opportunity would be to broaden your own horizons and skills. Such an experience sharpens your own profile and ensures greater know-how.

Anyone who still fears that they will not be able to cope with the hassle of job rotation should not worry too much. It is a change, but definitely feasible. To make the job rotation a success, we finally have some tips put together for you:

  • Pay attention to communication

    The job rotation should in no case amount to a penalty transfer. Rather, the common goal is a win-win situation. Instead of simply making a decision, the path should be walked together. At the beginning there are questions like: What expectations does the employee have? What concerns need to be addressed?

  • Include the works council

    Coordinate job rotation with the works council. In larger companies, this is mandatory anyway. In any case, you are on the safe side and you may still receive important feedback.

  • Clarify all formalities

    This point is particularly important for foreign assignments. When visas and work permits, vaccinations and intercultural training have to be organized. Employees should be supported as much as possible with all of these concerns.

  • Make a schedule

    In the context of project work, it makes sense to precisely time the rotation of the project and not start in the middle. Otherwise there can be very different timing. Nevertheless, the schedule should be set up specifically in order to clearly determine the organization of the job rotation.

  • Documentation is important

    If the duration, expectations and content are set in writing in advance, this not only eliminates ambiguities, but also enables the results to be better controlled after the job rotation has expired.

  • Set specific goals

    The rotation should not be done in the blue. What are its goals? This should be defined beforehand between the company and its employees. Should only an insight be granted or should actually well-founded knowledge in another area be conveyed?

  • Use a mentor

    A mentor helps with the transition to new and previously unknown areas - and is always available as a contact person. Establish a suitable person beforehand who will take special care of the employees during the job rotation.

  • Get feedback

    Employers and managers should not only plan and design a job rotation from above. Feedback from employees participating in job rotation is an important means of improving the measures and adapting them to needs.

This results in several steps that should be taken into account when implementing a job rotation:

  • Planning and development possible methods of job rotation with regard to goals and expectations
  • Information and involvement of employees
  • Elaboration of concrete and detailed options: Between which positions does the rotation take place? How long does the job rotation last?
  • Implementation with ongoing support the employee
  • Analysis and feedback with subsequent adaptation of the implementation

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April 26, 2021Author: Sebastian Wolking

Sebastian Wolking is a freelance online editor. He is interested in the changes in the job market due to the digital revolution.

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