Change is a way of life…or so they rightly say!
Gone are the days when employees were okay with the idea of spending decades in one company, and getting paid for it in gratitude.
Today, employees are always on-the-move grabbing new opportunities and challenges that come their way.
This change, while favourable for the employee, poses a big challenge for companies looking forward to retaining their most diligent and efficient talents.
In response to this trend, companies are now embracing a new retention strategy, i.e., Job Rotation.
Instead of locking employees into a singular job role with a predefined career trajectory, companies are rotating employees through a variety of roles within departments or teams.
After all, variety is the spice of life, and job rotation can strategically pep up the employees, broaden their skillset, and, most importantly, retain them in the long run.
Why Should You Consider Job Role Switch?
If an employee does not feel he is growing in an organisation, both professionally and personally, he is most likely to exit. Growth of an employee need not be limited to a linear path; what is required is an all-round growth that helps him stay motivated and committed.
Nowadays, employees are not looking for just the monetary benefits or hikes as they advance in their careers. What makes them stay motivated are intrinsic factors that help them widen their knowledge, acquire new skills, challenge the status quo, and grow tremendously.
A job role switch could be a smart strategy, which would eventually bolster your bottom line, and help employees find a new passion, thereby saving you from losing a stellar employee to the competition.
It is not necessary to follow the conventional wisdom of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and just let employees travel down the usual hierarchical route in an organisation.
Ironically, a lot of employees are happy to try something new, face different challenges and learn new things.
A popular study mentions that self-growth and career development are among the top five most important considerations for workers.
Job rotation or job role switch will enable you to hit the bull’s eye for employees who are willing to try out new roles and, in turn, foster a win-win approach.
Job Role Switch as a Retention Strategy
Flexibility is the key to retaining employees, and letting them branch out dynamically to explore new roles is an intelligent move on the organisation’s part.
Here are four reasons why lateral movements among the top performers can help boost retention:
1. Diverse Array of Benefits
Flexibility, in its entirety, is a rather ambiguous term that can imply anything. From allowing to work remotely to being offered several appealing perks, flexibility is what employees value more than anything.
Simply put, flexibility entails adopting a more flexible approach away from traditional or rigid models of organizational structure.
A refreshing change can bring with it multifaceted benefits in a team and ensure that the long term goals of the employees are being met. The employees will, thus, feel more inclined to stay, and this will, in turn, boost morale, improve retention, and impact the bottom line.
2. Fresh Perspective on Existing Roles
When experienced employees embark on new roles, they bring in new thinking and working style to the job. As opposed to hiring a new joiner, who has to be trained and introduced to the company’s macro-level objectives and vision, it might prove beneficial to have an experienced candidate from the same organisation to fit in more effectively.
A fresh perspective can breed new ideas, greater problem-solving skills, and efficiency. It can help expand the horizon and work out new strategies that can potentially fuel business growth.
For example, switching an employee from sales to marketing can inspire in him/her a new dimension of thinking, which might have remained untapped until now.
3. Accelerates Professional Development
There are several occasions when managers find it hard to provide meaningful and hands-on learning opportunities. Job rotation can serve as a solution for this, where the employees will have to ramp up their knowledge quickly, succumb to the situation, and start applying their skills.
It is all about helping employees to grow in a more budding way and inspire them to reach their fullest potential.
Rather than encouraging top performers to move up a level higher, doing what they were already doing, or overseeing the same work, it can be more fruitful to let the employees diversify to other roles and expand their skill set.
4. Strengthens Succession Planning
This is the age of job hoppers who are always passively, if not actively, on the lookout for brighter opportunities. There is always a chance that an employee in a vital position might leave, and you might need someone to take over their job as soon as possible.
In this scenario, the absence of a succession plan for the key roles in an organisation can be detrimental. With job rotation, you have the right opportunity to identify future leaders.
Not just that, you can even equip or groom them with multifaceted skills and on-the-job training, which will enable them to seamlessly transition to roles of greater responsibilities whenever the right time or the situation to immediately succeed arises.
How to Make Job Rotation a Win-Win for Both Employers and Employees
A job role swap can entail switching duties in a team, switching from one department to another, or moving to another branch or geographic location. It can also be planned as a cycle where employees can travel through several departments to pick up new skills and, then, return to their original duties as a leader.
Considering the potential benefits of job rotation, it is important to follow a structured methodology when encouraging role swaps within an organisation.
While it can be viewed as an effective medium to open up new doors and perhaps even salvage the employee’s tenure at the company, it cannot happen in a haphazard manner. It has to be done with structured flexibility and proper planning to uphold the employee’s interests.
Firstly, it should be determined whether or not the employee is interested in moving to a new role, to which departments, and why.
Then, it is important to initiate the management buy-in to get their input on the arrangements. If the employee finds switching appealing, but is unsure of what to do, offering job shadowing opportunities can help ascertain their interests.
Pairing the employee with a mentor in another area of business is another strategy. Remember that there is both a yin and a yang to the best interests of the company and employees.
Therefore, the success of job role switch trials should be borne by both parties.
The right transitional support should also be offered with proper training in place to promote such measures and make it smooth for the employee.
Some companies even have a trial period, which serves as a short internship for lateral moves, that proves to be beneficial.
Ultimately, job rotation is an effective retention strategy that can enhance your organizational performance, connecting you with untapped talent without needing to look outside your borders.
Besides fueling the professional growth of your employees, job rotation, as a retention strategy, can be seen as a continual commitment from the employer to value its people more than anything else.