Musical Chairs: An Effective Method of Talent Development

Beth Miller |

Job rotation: is it a viable means of change and development in your company? When it comes to benefiting your company, having many employees cross-trained in several different areas allows you to keep operations smoothly running despite unexpected events such as resignations, medical leave, or increased workload. Job rotation also keeps employees engaged by providing growth and development opportunities while doing the job. Another benefit of job rotation is that it helps the employee to understand other facets of the organization and how their work potentially impacts others. But if job rotation isn’t done correctly, it can mean uneven responsibilities for employees and added stress, among other issues. So why implement job rotations and how do you do implement it effectively so it positively affects both employees and your company? Three benefits immediately come to mind:

 1. Job rotation can open up opportunities that employees wouldn’t otherwise have considered

Rotating jobs is good for employees early in their career, due to the variety of experiences they will gain. It’s also good for employees who are further along in their careers; those who have maybe started to dial back their enthusiasm and engagement. Job rotation keeps them paying attention and learning new things. This also can be used as a means of career development, due to the training involved and the opportunity to meet new people. If your company is looking for a way to give employees a way to advance but giving promotions with significant raises is unfortunately not financially feasible, job rotation can provide other motivating rewards.

 2. Careful selection of jobs in rotation can help the employee connect in a more personal way

Have you ever had a job where you frequently wish that your colleagues understood what you needed and what you experienced? Have you wished your company took an interest in your goals and gave you different projects or tasks to try without the risk of taking a job in a different field? Chances are your employees wish that too. By identifying and handpicking suitable new opportunities for them while keeping them employed and growing at the company, you demonstrate that you care about them and their development as a professional.

If you do decide to implement job rotations, you need to determine set readiness periods for rotations to allow employees to stretch and be challenged while insuring a successful outcome.

A readiness period is the time an employee spends in the position they’ve temporarily rotated into. This should be a period that allows them enough time to pick up the crucial requirements of the job, which varies from company to company. When they go back to their own job, they will have had the opportunity to stretch and exercise their minds, but also a time to settle and get back to work they know well. Dr. B. Lynn Ware of Integral Talent Systems suggests the readiness period “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.”

 If you have already implemented a job rotation program, what other benefits have you received?  And, what other success factors can you add other than the readiness period?

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Beth Miller

Beth Miller

Beth Armknecht Miller’s passion for learning, and dedication to helping others, are strands woven throughout her distinguished career, which continue to guide her work with Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. As a trusted executive consultant, Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer, Beth holds herself to a rigorous standard of excellence, and she encourages her clients to do the same when pursuing their goals.

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