Job Rotation - Benefits, Challenges and How to do it right, remotely
Job rotation can be very beneficial in taking away the monotony of your work routine. With the global shift to remote working, find out how to get it right.
What is job rotation?
The practice of moving employees between different tasks, so as to make them experienced in a variety of fields is known as job rotation. This is done not only for the specified reason as above, but for a big number of other reasons, too. Making employees rotate between jobs and experience new things can prove to be a good practice for the company at large as well as the employee. This adds to the skill set of the individual and also gives them an opportunity to grow. At the company level, it gives a good number of employees who are skilled at multiple tasks.
Given that most of the remote companies before the pandemic are of a smaller size, practicing job rotation is a good practice. This ensures that in the off-chance that an employee is not able to work on a given day, there are always substitutes. Given the nature of startups, too, it is best if the employees are able to handle multiple roles. As Gabriel says, "The motto, hire/ promote slowly but fire fast is applicable" for tech startups. Due to this, it is good to have someone who can pitch in if need be.
However, job rotation isn't always sunshine and smiles and can sometimes have ill effects, too. It isn't necessary that every employee is going to take to a new role like fish to water. Read on to know more about its benefits and drawbacks.
What are the benefits?
- Combats monotony
Working at the same role and doing the same thing over and over again can get extremely monotonous and may make a person dislike the job. Job rotation is a good way to combat this and give the employee a chance to work on something new and of interest to him/ her. This can encourage the person to work with a fresher mindset.
- Discover what you're good at
It could be that you are working on something but are not very sure if that is the 'thing' for you. Or the thing you want to do in the longer run. Rotating jobs can help you identify newer areas that you may be good at. Given the right amount of exposure, you may be able to slowly realize what is best for you.
- Learn new things
Even if you don't make a career out of something, it is always good to learn new things. You never know when you may have to use these skills. For example, you may have learnt a bit of web design while trying out a new job for a few months. This could help you in always making every thing that you work on neater and with a better design.
- Replacing critical employees
As said earlier, in the off chance that an employee at your firm isn't able to show up for a few day, job rotation can ensure that you have someone to step into their shoes. Or, if an employee needs to leave at short notice and isn't able to give training to a new person, then this can help in having someone at the firm who is in a good place to replace them temporarily at least.
- Exposure to all verticals
Along the lines of learning new things, exposure to the various verticals in the firm is also a benefit of job rotation. This way, the firm will have individuals skilled and able to handle a wide variety of roles. It could also help in placing the person in a role more suited for them in the event that the employees perform better at this new thing than their original role.
What are the drawbacks?
- Onboarding all over again
Unfortunately, training an individual for a new role can be a challenging task. In a remote setting, this is all the more difficult. To get this right, you need to employ the best practices for onboarding people to a particular role. To help you and make your job easier, we have put together a set of onboarding best practices. Do make use of them to train employees more efficiently.
- More like a sidestep
As it happens, when you apply job rotation, the employee will be trained in and working on something new at the same level. Rather than going up the vertical hierarchy ladder, this will be more of a sidestep rather than an upward climb and it can tend to be annoying for a senior employee who would rather want to get promoted and work on the same thing at a higher level.
- Dissatisfaction among some workers
In the event that the above happens, there could be a real issue of dissatisfaction among the people you work with. Not every person is open to the idea of trying out a different task. A lot of them would actually feel like they are doing something less than their capacity and this is not a good thing for the firm.
- Decrease in productivity
It could be that an employee is best at a particular place and role and you have accidentally put him/ her in a role that may not be very conducive to his/ her growth. This way, the performance of this person could suffer and would lead to a decrease in productivity of the individual due to lack of interest and inability to perform well.
- Your business could suffer
When you are training an employee to work in a new thing, it could take a lot of time where the work could have actually been 'done.' It could also mean that if the new person isn't really suited for the role, it is a complete waste of your time. Hence, applying job rotation could be downright detrimental to the growth of the firm.
How to implement job rotation in your firm?
- Analyze for best fit
Closely observe the performance of the employees and also identify the places that they might be a good fit. Check where they perform well and where they lag. This way, you could rotate them in only those jobs which the characteristics they show are conducive for.
- Don't go all out early on
Start small and do not overwhelm the employees working for your firm by expecting them to shift to a new role with ease. This takes time and also patience. It is best to make the employees shift little by little by handing over only small parts of the bigger role to start with.
- Train across multiple roles from the start
While onbaording initially itself, make the people work in various roles. This way, they already have some exposure to the various things that happen in your firm and when it is time to rotate, will not have an issue and will do so with comparative ease.
- Offer support
You can not expect the employee to work on the task all by his/ her self and do it well right from day 1. This will take time and it is best to guide your employees into this. Offer them support and help whenever required.
- Plan carefully
Have a good idea of how the training should be and make a plan to execute it accordingly. Having a structure will make it easier when you are training the people. It will also help you and them to know what they are supposed to do.
- Have an end goal
You should be clear on what the training should be able to accomplish and work toward it. At the end of a certain number of days, this should be met. So, when trying out job rotation, do so with the end goal in mind.