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A growing trend in business management is to implement a job rotation strategy. Strategies

can differ drastically, but business owners can be certain that implementing a job rotation
strategy will enhance organizational success thanks to more satisfied, motivated, skilled, and
committed employees.


A fundamental principle of economics with which Adam

Smith begins The Wealth of Nations is the division of labour

Job Rotation Advantages

Many businesses, small and large, are attempting to improve work design systems by
incorporating a job rotation strategy. Job rotation exists when employees rotate
across many positions, in varying intervals and durations, in order to gain exposure
to different roles and functions. When implementing a job rotation program,
companies can have employees rotate only within their home department or across
positions in many departments. Although job rotation strategies may not be practical
for all businesses, strategies that are implemented across lower-level and less
specialized positions provide many advantages to businesses and employees.

The first advantage of job rotation is burnout reduction. When employees perform
the same job functions each day without variation, they are likely to experience
greater feelings of fatigue, apathy, boredom, and carelessness. Burnout is d

etrimental to businesses because it tends to promote

decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and increased likelihood of turnover,
which all lead to organizational dysfunction. However, when employees rotate across
different positions regularly, they experience less boredom, greater task variety, and
decreased feelings of needless repetition.

The second advantage of job rotation is increased employee satisfaction. Business

owners know that when employees are not satisfied with professional endeavors,
they feel demotivated, unhappy, and irritated, which are detrimental to productivity.
However, by allowing employees to engage in job rotation, employees are likely to
experience greater satisfaction by identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Furthermore, employees are able to test many positions and subsequently focus on
rotating between positions that enhance performance capacity, which increases their
sense of worth and importance within the company.

The third advantage of job rotation is increased employee motivation. It is important

for business owners to provide opportunities to increase employee motivation
because greater motivation promotes higher levels of organizational commitment
and desire to grow within the company. When employees are given the opportunity
to rotate between different positions, they enhance and improve their skills, abilities,
and competencies, which leads to better job performance and greater likelihood of
promotional advancement. Furthermore, employees that are engaged with a number
of different positions throughout a company experience increased appreciation for
coworkers and the interrelation between positions, which decreases animosity and
enhances organizational commitment.

• For lower management levels job rotation has normally one of two purposes: promotability or skill


The last benefit is twofold, and it is an indirect benefit of job rotation. This article has
already established that job rotation strategies reduce employee burnout, increase
employee satisfaction, and increase employee motivation and organizational
commitment. These three benefits cumulatively influence a business's turnover rate
and workplace injuries. Turnover is greatly reduced because employees do not
experience the fatigue, boredom, and dissatisfaction associated with performing the
same job every day. This, in turn, greatly increases an employee's level of
awareness and attention to detail, which decreases the likelihood of workplace injury
or stress.

Job rotation presents many unique opportunities for businesses and employees. The
rationale for implementing a job rotation design system may vary depending on
business goals and human resource strategies. However, whatever the reason, one
thing is certain - businesses that implement a job rotation strategy unquestionably
reap the benefits of added organizational success and more satisfied, motivated, and
committed employees.


• At the senior management levels, job rotation - frequently referred to as management rotation, is tightly

linked with succession planning - developing a pool of people capable of stepping into an existing job.
Here the goal is to provide learning experiences which facilitate changes in thinking and perspective

equivalent to the "horizon" of the level of the succession planning.

• In many cases senior managers seem unwilling to risk instability in their units by moving qualified

people from jobs where the lower level manager is being successful and reflecting positively on the

actions of the senior manager.

• Many military jobs use the job rotation strategy to allow the soldiers to develop a wider range of

experiences, and an exposure to the different jobs of an occupation.

Tips & Warnings

• Tips for effectively managing a job rotation program include the following:
• Formulate clear policies regarding who will be eligible for the program, whether employees
will be restricted to certain jobs or will be open to all job classifications.
• Determine whether or not the program will be mandatory or if employees will be allowed to
"opt-out." If so, will this have an impact on their performance appraisal? For employees
who do express a desire to opt out, it may be important to emphasize the rotation with the
career development process, so the employee clearly understands the developmental
needs addressed by a job rotation program.
• Involve the employee and managers in planning job rotations so that there is a clear
understanding of mutual expectations.
• Have a clear understanding of exactly which skills will be enhanced by placing an
employee into the job-rotation process. Address skills that aren't enhanced by job rotation
through specific training programs and management coaching.
• Use job rotation for employees in nonexempt jobs, as well as for those in professional and
managerial jobs.

Read more: How to Implement an Effective Job Rotation Program in your Company |


Job rotation is the surest way of keeping

the employee away from complacency and
boredom of routine. It is difficult for an
employee to sustain his interest in a given
job for any substantial length of time as
humans have the tendency of outgrowing
their jobs through the learning and
experience that they gain over a period of
time. Stimulating human mind through
diversity of challenges is a sure way to
bring to forefront its creative instincts and
in taking the individual and organizational
performance to a higher plane. This is
where job rotation can prove to be a
handy tool.

Potential of job rotation

A well planned job rotation programme in an organization has immense potential of
positive impact on job satisfaction, engagement of people and finally on retention of
people. Few of the outcomes of job rotation with respect to the individual are:
• Job enrichment
• Overall development
• Intrinsic motivation to perform caused by newer challenges
• Career development

Where as for an organization, the benefits could include some or all of the following:

• Leadership development
• Aligning competencies with organizational requirements
• Lower attrition rates

• Performance improvement driven by unique view points of new people

The ritual of job rotation
Today, in the industry, job rotation is viewed “as just another transfer” rather than as an
important tool for implementing HR strategy of the company. Job rotation has become a
ritual at best, with out any focus on the outcomes that can be achieved through a little
planning and implementation effort. Today, job rotation is a means of punishing poor
performers, settling scores arising from organizational politics, or going through
percentage rotation scheme, where a certain percentage of employees in a certain area
are shifted to pre-designated areas every year.

Realizing the potential of job rotation

In order to realize the true potential of job rotation, there must be a planned system in
place with the policy taking into account,

• Organizational interest – employee commitment, attrition rates, specific business

issues etc.
• Eligibility of the employees – qualification, prior experience, aptitude, competence
• nature – mandatory or voluntary
• Duration
• Basis of selection etc.

In the absence of aspects brought out above, there is every possibility that the
seriousness with which the job rotation scheme is implemented in the company may get
diluted and become a cause of sagging employee motivation.

Job rotations at different levels of management

For job rotations at a slightly higher level, it is absolutely necessary that the business
problems in various areas are identified. This calls for the active involvement of top
management. Select most suitable people to be shifted from their current jobs to tackle
the challenges at hand by considering individual attributes already described above. This
will not only provide an insight for the future leaders in various aspects of the business but
also will enhance their confidence levels as they solve these critical problems for the

Job rotation at junior and middle level executives may be pivoted around their strengths
and attributes and the future roles expected of them. Focus must be on exposure in all
related areas of his domain of expertise, so that as they grow to higher rungs of the
management, they have an overall experience of their domain.

Job rotations for workers must include aspects related to work environment, also along
with other individual attributes already explained, so that it adds to his satisfaction derived
from balanced distribution of work load, working conditions and learning opportunities.

Done this way job rotation gets aligned with career development, leadership development
and employee satisfaction which would finally result in higher levels of intrinsic motivation
among the employees and hence may contribute in retaining talent.

What is Job Rotation?

Job rotation involves the movement of employees through a range of jobs in order to increase interest and

Job rotation can improve “multi-skilling” but also involves the need for greater training.

In a sense, job rotation is similar to job enlargement. This approach widens the activities of a worker by
switching him or her around a range of work.

For example, an administrative employee might spend part of the week looking after the reception area of a
business, dealing with customers and enquiries. Some time might then be spent manning the company
telephone switchboard and then inputting data onto a database.


The case discusses the efforts made

by the Swedish automobile major -
Volvo AB towards improving the
work conditions at its facilities
through job enrichment programs.

In its efforts to reduce the instances

of employee turnover and
absenteeism in its manufacturing
facilities, Volvo introduced
innovative job enrichment programs
including job rotation, management
employee councils, small work
groups, change implementation and
employee oriented facilities. These
programs helped the company to
understand the importance of
designing its facilities according to
the work design and employees'
Volvo was one of the first automobile companies to deviate from the traditional assembly line system
and adopt a more employee-centric approach for manufacturing automobiles.


» Understand the importance of implementing job enrichment programs in automobile manufacturing


» Get insights into how the theoretical concepts of job enrichment could be practically implemented in a
manufacturing company

» Understand the new system of automobile production based on the employee friendly socio-technical
» Debate on the efficacy of Volvo's socio-technical approach in the long

In May 1993, the Swedish automobile major, Volvo AB (Volvo) announced

the closure of its car manufacturing facility at Uddevalla, Sweden, barely
five years since its launch in 1989. A year later, the company had to
shutdown yet another world famous facility, the car assembly plant at
Kalmar, also in Sweden.

Reacting to the two closures within a year's gap, analysts said Volvo's
human centric approach towards automobile manufacturing was no longer
feasible in the fiercely competitive scenario of the 1990s, with most
companies striving hard to improve production efficiency. Volvo was well
recognized in the industry for its employee-friendly policies ever since its
inception. Guided by the 'Volvo Way,' the company had made conscious
efforts to implement job enrichment concepts such as job rotation, job
enlargement and employee work groups in its manufacturing facilities
(Refer Exhibit I for the Volvo Way). In the late 1960s and early 1970s,
when the company faced the problem of increasing employee turnover
and absenteeism, it introduced these concepts and obtained positive

Volvo was inspired to build a new facility keeping this

work design as a basis. This reiterated the company's
belief that industry needed to adapt itself to the people's
requirements and not vice-versa. This concept was
implemented successfully in other plants of the
company too in the 1970s. The best practices in Human
Relations (HR) tried and tested in these plants were
passed on to new plants established in the 1980s. While
investing heavily in developing new plants like Kalmar
and Uddevalla, where new work design concepts were
implemented, Volvo was conscious of the risks
involved and the possible effect on the company's
financial performance if the experiments failed.
Acknowledging this, Gyllenhammar, in Harvard Business Review wrote, "Volvo's Kalmar plant, for
example, is designed for a specific purpose: car assembly in working groups of about 20 people. If it
didn't work, it would be a costly and visible failure, in both financial and social terms. We would lose
credibility with our people and those who are watching from outside."2

Allow Job Rotation in the Call Centre

Chapter 10 of the Call Centre Motivation Workbook

From time to time, it may be necessary to help an individual agent to become remotivated by rotating them to
another job.

If they have been in one department too long, or are suffering from some non-work problems, it can be a great
help to them to join another department, even as a temporary secondment.

It is not as hard as you would think to move staff between customer service and telesales and vice versa.

And of course, if you have an agent who is feeling down, his or her colleagues will be glad that they have been
moved because they will have been spreading negativity.

The moved agent is less likely to depress morale in his or her new department because there will be too much
to learn to wallow in misery.


* cross-trained workforce;

* reduced boredom and monotony;

* reduced work stress;

* increased innovation/motivation;

* increased free-time activity;

* reduced CTDs;

* increased production;

* reduced absenteeism;

* lower turnover rates;

* increased ability to handle change.

Some of these studies also discussed the challe