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What Is the Meaning of Job Rotation?

Some companies implement job rotation as a way to keep employees stimulated and to give them insight as to how other areas of the company work. It can also be used as a way to relieve the physical stress that comes from performing repeated tasks. For job rotation to be effective, employees should be willing to try new jobs and not be put into a job for which they are not suited.

Benefits

Job rotation allows workers to get a taste of what it would be like to work in different areas of a department or organization. This can serve as a welcome break from the routine of a particular job and give the worker additional training that can make him a more valuable asset to the company. For the employer, job rotation can aid retention by keeping employees from getting bored and looking for another job. It can also make it easier to fill vacancies from within, since candidates may have already been exposed to the open position.

Time Frame

The duration of each job rotation varies from company to company. For example, according to the Human Resource Development Council, financial department employees at Eli Lily and Co. average one non-financial rotation which lasts about 1.5 years during their careers. The Health Care Financing Administration has its support staff make two rotations that last four months each.

Identification

The Human Resource Development Council also indicates that specific learning goals should be established before the rotation begins, and the employee should be evaluated periodically to ensure that the goals are being met. At the end of the rotation, the employee should be consulted to ascertain what was learned and how it can be applied to her regular job.

Expert Insight

According to ergonomics consultant Dan MacLeod, there are two main roadblocks to setting up a successful job rotation system. There could be cultural issues, such as experienced employees not wanting to learn a new job or someone who has rotated from a more difficult job to an easier job not wanting to go back to his original job. Rotation issues could also occur if inconsistent training methods are used or workers aren't finding jobs that suit their abilities and interests.

Considerations

Special considerations need to be made when rotating jobs that require physical labor. According to the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA), if job rotation is implemented to relieve the strain on one area of the body by using a job that requires another area, careful analysis by an expert such as a plant engineer trained in ergonomics should take place. This will ensure that some of the same muscles and tendons are not still being used in the new activity.



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