Posted by Robert Half on 23 August 2016
Assembling an all-star team takes a lot of time and effort. So, when you finally have a team of skilled and experienced employees in place, the last thing you want to do is to deploy your staff to other parts of the organisation, right? Well, you actually might want to change your mindset, because job rotation can benefit your employees and the business.
Even though not every employer is able to offer the possibility of rotating jobs within the organisation, role rotation can be an effective way to strengthen the company by providing access to different points of view, building employees’ skills and grooming future leaders.
Many employers appear to recognise the value of allowing employees to move into roles in different areas of the company. In a recent Robert Half survey, CFOs in the US cited the following as the top five greatest benefits of practicing job rotation in companies:
1. Job rotation offers staff exposure to different business areas
This benefit is one reason many employers encourage their star employees to move out of the function and into the organisation. They know that if those workers come back to the department someday, they will return with knowledge of the organisation that can help them be better employees. And if they decide to stay in another function, their expertise can help them spot business risks, and they can help that team to work more effectively with that department because they understand both points of view.
2. Job rotation provides fresh perspectives on existing roles
When an employee takes on a new role, they bring their own work style and way of thinking to the job. A fresh perspective can lead to innovation, problem-solving and greater efficiency. It also can result in re-evaluation of the current job description for the position, which can help to ensure you are setting the right expectations (and compensation level) for professionals hired for this role.
3. Job rotation accelerates professional development
Professional development is all about helping employees to grow. But managers often find it challenging to provide meaningful and “hands on” learning opportunities. Job rotation is an answer. Employees will gain new skills fast if they are immersed in a situation where they must ramp up their knowledge quickly and start applying it.
4. Job rotation strengthens succession planning
Obviously, not having a succession plan for key roles in the company could prove disruptive and costly. With job rotation, you have the opportunity to not only identify future leaders, but also provide them with valuable training that will enable them to step smoothly into roles of greater responsibility when the time comes.
5. Job rotation enhances recruiting and retention
Companies that promote role rotation can make themselves more attractive employers. Professionals want to work for organisations that help them advance their careers. Job rotation can also be an effective employee retention strategy: It can help meet the needs of in-demand professionals who are looking for new challenges or want to round out their leadership skills sets in preparation for management positions.
Don’t let the value of job rotation go unrealised
Considering the potential benefits of job rotation, it’s important to determine whether any of your employees would be interested in this opportunity. Ask your team if they would like to move elsewhere in the organisation, and to which departments and why. Then, talk to line managers in the business to get their input on how these arrangements could work, and whether their employees would be candidates for job rotation, too.
If an employee finds job rotation appealing, but isn’t sure what to do, consider offering job-shadowing opportunities so that person can get a firsthand look at different positions. Pairing the employee with a mentor in another area of the business that interests them is another strategy. The mentor can explain job responsibilities and pressures, and the skills needed to succeed in his or her role or department.
Remember, job rotation can enhance your department, as well, by connecting you with new talent for your team — without needing to look outside the organisation. And by being willing to let go of talented staff, you may find the company is able to hold on to these employees for the long term. There’s also a good chance that some of these staff members will want to come back someday and work specifically for you because you supported their professional development.
This article originally appeared as Job Rotation for Your Staff: Why Letting Go Could Mean Holding On on the Robert Half Management Resources blog.