Job rotation exposes employees to new learning opportunities by moving them from job to job within the organisation. While this process can be costly to the organisation in terms of disruption and the necessary re-skilling, it gives the employee the opportunity to see how the different jobs fit together and provides the organisation with more flexibility in covering tasks when employees are absent.
Job rotation is not appropriate in every situation. Where specialist skills take many years to develop, it can be harmful to an organisation to see employees move on prematurely and new ones have to start at the bottom of the learning curve. And job rotation can be very unsettling for those employees who are really enjoying what they are doing currently.
In some professions, it can be extremely valuable for the employee to have undertaken a variety of jobs as a prelude to taking on greater responsibility. If an employer denies the employee this opportunity, they will do it for themselves, by changing who they work for.
Job rotation is:
- at its best when the employee is enthusiastic about the idea, when the jobs in question provide a variety of new learning opportunities, when the process provides an organisation with valuable cover;
- best avoided when the employee is reluctant, when valuable skills will be lost, when the re-training burden is excessive.