Job Rotation - Definitions - Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Rotation

Job rotation is a management technique that assigns trainees to various jobs and departments over a period of a few years.

A job rotation is a technique in which employees are moved between two or more jobs in a planned manner. The objective is to expose the employees to different experiences and wider variety of skills to enhance job satisfaction and to cross-train them.

Job rotation is a process of systematic movement of employees from one nature of job to the other job, but Job category may change or sometimes remain unchanged, however employees performing the job is shifted from one job to the other job, through which, an employee would be a given an opportunity to perform different jobs, which would enriches his / her skills, experience and ability to perform different jobs in case of exigency. The main objective of job rotation is to improve the efficiency of the employees and work should not be hampered or effected in case absence of any employee in the organization.

Just to understand what is job rotation?

As shown in the above picture, job rotation involves shifting of employees from one job to other job to make employees acquaint with various job roles in an organization. Here an employee is shifted from his job role that is Payroll Officer to Safety Officer to Welfare Officer to HR Analyst to Personal Relationship Officer again back to his / her initial job. Each role an employee handled is unique and different from other as each job role and responsibilities are different from each other. To handle the Payroll officer job, an employee must posses knowledge and experience, to handle Safety Officer role one need to have practical knowledge about working conditions of employees or workers and experience too matters a lot and like wise to handle Personal Relationship Officer role one need to have good communication skills and be empathetic, altogether each job has its own importance and requirements for a person to handle it.

The final outcome of job rotation is that an employee gains wider exposure to various job roles in HR Department, besides his skills and knowledge would be developed by dealing with the various jobs, gains experience in handling various tasks and develops ability to do multi-tasking in case of pressing situations.

To put in practical sense, if the Safety Officer is on leave for some reason, this job has to be handle by other Officer, as Safety Officer role is mandatory under labour laws in some countries so as see the safety of workers in working environment. Now the other Officer who has gained experience in Safety Officer role through Job Rotation can be placed in charge of Safety Officer role to deal with the safety of employees and ensure smooth running of work.

Facts about Job Rotation

    • In larger companies, their managers and it's employees are periodically moved in a series of planned job so that the entire work flow wouldn't be broken in case of absence of any one. Business owners and operating officers use this rotation plan so as to make enable their employees familiar with various departments and sections of the business. It is inevitable for any organization to have absenteeism, retirements or quits sometimes death of an employee which may be vacant position and eventually create a gap in the flow of regular work which should be dealt otherwise work will be suffered. In such times, any other employee can attend or take up vacant position with the experience he/she gained out of job rotation, thereby regular work would run smoothly with break.

    • In industries which involves physical hard-working, job rotation may be used to avoid over-stressing or boredom to their workers, as the employees wouldn't be exposed to single or same job for longer period, otherwise constant and repetitive use of the same muscles could be one of the hazards in the workplace. With the use of job rotation, it would keep workers stay healthy, and maintain a good work atmosphere as well. Safety is often a key consideration from the point of workers as well as in employment laws.

    • As discussed, Job rotation involves shifting an employee from one job to another, so that he/she would be able to understand and learn what efforts, skills, knowledge and experience required in each job involves. Employer always track their employees performance on every job which an employee does in order to know whether he /she can handle and do justification to that job. If an employee shows his best performance in the jobs he/she did, that may be sometimes considered as basis for promotion in job or increment in salary or for handling higher responsibilities with all emoluments.

Some organization use Job rotation as tool to decide the final posting for the employee e.g. Mr. A is assigned a job to handle the whole marketing department where he learns all the jobs to be performed for marketing at his level. Later he is shifted to the sales department and to the finance department and so on. He is finally placed in the department in which he shows the best performance.

Job rotation gives an idea about the jobs to be performed at every level. Once a person is able to understand this he is in a better understanding of the working of organization

LG Electronics, IBM, TATA STEEL, McDonald's are a few companies which practice Job Rotation.

There are few Drawbacks of Job Rotation -

  • Rigid employees not ready for change in their routine job.

  • Employee may face adjustment issues in new job scenario with increased challenges and difficulties.

  • Employees may not cope up with the timings if employee is asked to change his working time if the company functions in day and night shifts

  • Increased stress and peer pressure as result as change in regular duties and responsibilities.

Advantages of job rotation

Avoids monopoly :-

Job rotation helps to avoid monopoly of job and enable the employee to learn new things and therefore enjoy his job

Provides an opportunity to broaden one’s knowledge: -

due to job rotation the person is able to learn different job in the organization this broadens his knowledge.

Avoiding fraudulent practice: -

In an organization like bank jobs rotation is undertaken to prevent employees from doing any kind of fraud i.e. if a person is handling a particular job for a very long time he will be able to find loopholes in the system and use them for his benefit and indulge ( participate ) in fraudulent practices job rotation avoids this.

Disadvantages of Job Rotation

Frequent interruption :-

Job rotation results in frequent interruption of work .A person who is doing a particular job and get it comfortable suddenly finds himself shifted to another job or department .this interrupts the work in both the departments.

Reduces uniformity in quality :-

Quality of work done by a trained worker is different from that of a new worker .when a new worker I shifted or rotated in the department, he takes time to learn the new job, makes mistakes in the process and affects the quality of the job.

Misunderstanding with the union member :-

Sometimes job rotation may lead to misunderstanding with members of the union. The union might think that employees are being harassed and more work is being taken from them. In reality this is not the case.