Retention of critical talent is a key agenda item for many organisations today. Global studies suggest that a significant percentage of today's workforce are ready to switch if companies fail to meet their expectations. Employees are looking for learning opportunities and growth. Wellness has not diminished in importance. The frightening effects of the pandemic has veered the balance towards spending time with family. It has also made people realise the importance of a good social network and close- knit familial ties. The tendency to move locations in search of a good career/job may have increased in recent times.
In this crisis organisations must look to create an opportunity to creatively design jobs that need not be location specific. And organisations must develop a robust mechanism to move their employees through various roles within teams as remote working becomes more acceptable. While the concept of job rotation is not a new one, its utility goes up manifold as mobility becomes a challenge. Typically, any job change that typically involves location change impacts the family. But in a post pandemic world, location is no longer a factor for talent to move roles. If implemented with the right intuition and intent, job rotation can go a long way to motivate employees, help them expand their skill sets, and, most importantly, hold onto them.
Companies big or small who are new to implement job rotation or those who are still skeptical about imbibing it, first need to step back and plan. Job rotation is a two-way street. If implemented without recognising employees’ expectations, it can fall apart both for the organisation and employees. Employee rotation does not involve just moving members within a company, but it also calls for a considerable investment in terms of time and money spent in training people for their new roles.
How can companies facilitate a planned job rotation, since it is an outcome of employee aspirations and availability of roles?
Good companies embed Cross functional teams to work on specific problems as a key intervention in their planning process or even learning interventions. Not only do such CFTs / Project Task Forces become a way to strengthen social bonds within a company, they also provide an opportunity to employees to explore other interest areas within an organisation. It also allows the employees to assess the best route to create an impact. Apart from this, there are the soft perks of flaunting your nominations to such forums as people perceive increased soft power & see this as a reward/recognition of their potential.
Rub off effects on employees
Job rotations allow employees to engage with other team members and build helpful networks that help them to succeed. It allows them to break away from the monotony of their daily tasks, virtual meetings, learn new skills, and engage with different people. Moreover, this practice also encourages them to understand the business from different lenses, giving them an insight into the workings and challenges of various departments across the floor. It educates them about the different arms of the organisation and enables them to make more informed decisions and well-rounded plans. However, the most significant advantage is that these rotations polish them individually and help them become an integral part of the system.
For a company, job rotations add value at executional, managerial and leadership level. Through planned job rotations, organisations can embed critical skills / discover hidden potential and improve upon the workforce capability.
Additionally, cross-pollination of talent also ensures that a company's crucial positions and integral functions are never left open. This gives way for integrated business strategies and pays attention to every function of the business model. With this nature of polished and well-rounded employees, the organisation will always have a strong business continuity plan and a close-knit community to ensure the same.
The practice of job rotation is an ongoing process. For the employers, the choice is whether to let it happen by serendipity or to actively drive it as a tool for talent retention & lap up the opportunity provided by the increased acceptance of remote work that is now here to stay.
This article was first published in July 2021.