Have you been considering implementing a job rotation program but don’t know how to get started? Job rotation programs can be a great way to reduce the cost of turnover and improve customer loyalty. Having a good plan in place is a good place to start. In a recent CER webinar titled “Job Rotation Programs: Lighten Workloads and Lessen the Impact of Turnover,” Dr. B. Lynn Ware outlined 12 steps to implementing an effective job rotation program
12 Steps to Implementing an Effective Job Rotation Program
- Get sponsorship or leadership commitment for the program. Making the business case is the first step.
- Determine the critical positions or functions to include in the program. This should be linked to the overall business plan of the organization. Assess the company’s vulnerabilities in terms of the average time someone is in a given position, the number of people ready for retirement, the turnover risk for each role, and future growth plans of the organization.
- Conduct a job analysis to determine the components of the job that are most important to learn during the job rotation. Naturally there probably won’t be time to learn every nuance of the role. “Pick the most important competencies or tasks that the person needs to learn in the job – those that they use most frequently.” Ware advised.
- Determine the ideal “bench strength” for each role. “With job rotation you’re really creating your internal talent pool for this role.” Ware explained. For a critical position, having at least three people that are trained for the role to cover increasing turnover is recommended.
- Create job readiness assessments and an evaluation process. Once you’re ready to put candidates into this program, it’s good to have some type of assessment developed or available that determines candidate readiness and current skill level. This is a way to tailor or individualize the job rotation experience.
- Develop job profiles and development maps. Using the job analysis as a basis for what training is needed, determine how to best implement such a program in reality. In other words, how can an employee still get work done in their current role while learning the key competencies of another role? Some examples might include using coaching, mentoring, a buddy system, online learning, special project participation, etc.
- Determine readiness periods. A readiness period is an estimate of how long a job rotation program should be. There will be different readiness periods in different roles. This can be determined by examining past incumbents or recent new employees to determine how long it normally takes to learn the role—bearing in mind that most rotation programs will not aim for 100 percent competency in the new role.
- Develop the selection process for the program. Determine how many job rotations can happen simultaneously. How will candidates be selected? How will the selection process be communicated? Don’t forget about following EEOC guidelines—if the job rotation program is used for promotions, employers may need to validate the selection process to ensure there’s no discrimination.
- Develop and implement internal communications. “Communicating about it so that you get a high volume and high-quality candidates from your internal employee pool to want to participate in it is a really good idea.” Ware advised. Consider branding it or including it in other initiatives, such as succession planning or career development.
- Orient the team(s). “It may sound very obvious, but this tends to be one of the pitfalls we see.” Ware noted. “Really involving and orienting the whole team of people who are going to be working with this individual – including the individual themselves – is extremely important. People need to understand what their roles are; it’s a new program, they need to know what they’re responsible for and when and how to do it.”
- Support the process. Having a team orientation is important, but ongoing support is needed as well. Using check-in milestones along the way can allow companies to ensure that progress is being made against the program goals and employees are seeing the benefits of program participation.
- Measure and reward success. One way to measure progress is conducting skills assessments of the program participants. Measure at different intervals, not only at the end, which will allow adjustments to be made as needed. Communicate progress throughout the entire organization. Reward the manager and the team as well as the employee.
To register for a future webinar, visit CER webinars.
Dr. B. Lynn Ware is an industrial/organizational psychologist with experience in the talent management field. She currently leads Integral Talent Systems, and her focus is on how to leverage the company’s investment in people to generate stronger financial outcomes.