Job Rotation Program: 5 Advantages & Disadvantages

5 Advantages and Disadvantages of a Job Rotation Program

Some employees can be hard to hold onto. Why? Employees, particularly millennials, want more opportunities to learn, grow, and advance their careers. In fact, job development is so important that 87% of millennials want it.

Employees don’t always have to change companies to get the development they want. Implementing a job rotation strategy could help you retain talent.

What is job rotation?

Job rotation is a strategy where employees rotate between jobs at the same business. Employees take on new tasks at a different job for a period of time before rotating back to their original position.

With a job rotation system, employees gain experience and skills by taking on new responsibilities. Rotations are meant to promote flexibility, employee engagement, and retention.

If you want your job rotation program to be successful, you need to do the following:

  • Set goals: What do you hope to accomplish?
  • Create the job rotation program design: Which employees will rotate to which positions?
  • Analyze the program: How are employees (and your business) benefitting from this?

A rotation program doesn’t mean employees are promoted, although promotions do happen. Employees typically move laterally from job to job.

Job rotation advantages and disadvantages

There are many reasons for job rotation programs in your small business. Before implementing one, weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

job rotation program advantages and disadvantages list

Advantages of job rotation

Many employers choose to create a job rotation policy as a benefit to employees. But, employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from the program.

Consider these benefits of job rotation programs for both employees and employers.

1. Eliminates boredom

Only 32% of employees are actually engaged at their jobs. That means 68% of employees are doing the bare minimum, plugging away at their computers or robotically talking to customers. Disengaged employees can be lured away by promises of a better, more challenging job.

Giving employees new responsibilities won’t solve all your problems. But, it could help employees become engaged and prevent boredom. For the most part, employees becoming disengaged at their jobs is a gradual thing. By mixing up responsibilities, you could help break up the monotony of an employee’s day to day.

2. Encourages development

Having a job rotation strategy helps employees develop their skills. By learning more skills, employees will feel more valuable to your business.

Employees who work at a company that encourages their development might not feel the need to change jobs. Instead of leaving your business for a new job that helps an employee develop, they can rotate jobs.

3. Gives employees a break from strenuous job duties

Many industries that require heavy-duty labor use job rotation strategies. Overworked employees who are constantly doing manual labor benefit from getting a break. By rotating their jobs, you help offset the risk of fatigue.

For example, you could have a warehouse employee who lifts heavy packages for deliveries rotate to a job that handles the paperwork for shipping.

4. Helps you identify where employees work best

A job rotation strategy can point out an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. You might find that an employee can better handle a different job at your business. For the most effective business, you need to have all your employees in the right positions.

5. Gives you a backup plan if an employee leaves

Although employee turnover can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be devastating. By having a job rotation plan, you have multiple employees who know how to do each job.

If an employee leaves, you won’t need to scramble to hire the first person you see. Instead, you have other employees capable of covering the separated employee’s tasks. If you do need to hire a replacement, you can take your time to find the right fit.

Disadvantages of job rotation

Before implementing this type of program, consider the following disadvantages.

1. Can be costly and time consuming

When you move an employee into a new position, there is a learning curve. Employees might need training in order to do their new job. The cost of training employees can be thousands of dollars and take hours.

According to the Association for Talent Development, the average cost to train employees is $1,252, and the average time to train is 33.5 hours. Though you might not spend that much with a lateral shift, it is still something you need to consider.

2. Could end up with disgruntled employees

Some employees might not want to rotate jobs. An employee who is comfortable and successful in their current position may worry another employee would mess up their process.

You might have some employees who excel at their job but aren’t willing to learn new things. And, you could see employees who are stressed out at the prospect of changing their jobs.

3. It won’t fix all your problems

Job rotation programs aren’t guaranteed to increase employee engagement, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If your employees are disengaged at your business, it could be because of other factors.

Rotating an employee’s job won’t fix issues like lack of positive reinforcement and disconnect with company culture. Don’t use a job rotation program for the sole purpose of making employees happy before getting to the root of their problems first.

4. Might not be feasible for some industries

For some industries and positions, job rotation is not realistic. This is especially true in highly skilled positions where employees need years of training to do their jobs.

If you want to implement a job rotation program at your business, make sure that it is possible. Don’t waste effort on something that won’t work.

5. Your business could suffer

One of the most devastating disadvantages of job rotation is that your business could take a hit. Because employees are learning new skills, there could be some errors. Customers could become frustrated by confused employees who make mistakes. If operations don’t run smoothly, your bottom line could suffer.

You need to consider how job rotation could help your business. You don’t want slow operations, confused employees, and angry customers in the process.

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