What is Job Rotation?
Job rotation involves the movement of employees through a range of jobs in order to increase interest and motivation. 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. Job rotation may offer the advantage of making it easier to cover for absent colleagues, but it may also reduce' productivity as workers are initially unfamiliar with a new Task.
When asked what they want out of their job, a majority of Canadians say they want work that is challenging and interesting. One way that employers can meet these aspirations is through more flexible forms of work organization that provide more opportunities for workers to use their skills, do a variety of tasks, and have more influence over their work. An example of this flexible approach is job rotation or cross-training, that is, training employees in a range of tasks and rotating them through different positions
Job rotation and cross-training can benefit both employees and employers. Workers learn new skills and face less boredom from performing similar tasks over and over. Greater variety and a wide range of tasks make work more interesting and challenging. Job rotation and cross-training can also benefit employers. Job rotation is believed to boost innovation by enabling workers to apply knowledge of one task to others. Moreover, exposing employees to other types of jobs within the firm promotes a better understanding of what others in the firm do and how each job contributes to the whole. Finally, a multi-skilled workforce can more readily adapt to changing markets.