18 Oct 1997

Job rotation

I've pondered on my posting on Job Rotation last week, and thought of a few more points to consider. Since I'm not an expert in the field, I would like to seek others' opinions on the subject.

What needs to be in place so that job rotation can become an effective tool in organisational learning? Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.

  1. Medium term performance measurement. Performance measurement need to take into account learning curve for the employee who has just been rotated. For example, during his/her first few months on the job, he/she may not be as good as the person he/she replaces, i.e. short term performance will generally be below his/her potential.

  2. Accelerated learning. Knowledge management need to enable the employee to learn the new job's skills fast and effectively, e.g. through well documented processes, job desc, etc.

  3. Optimal tour of duty. The length of one job rotation must be long enough for the person to make a difference for the company and/or for the employee to achieve personal growth milestone. Otherwise the employee may not care to give their best or other job holders may not have enough faith in the employee's suggestions or work plans that they will be carried out to completion.

  4. Job-based business relationship. Business relationship need to be job-based, instead of person-based. The customer/supplier need to be willing to continue the business relationship when their liaison person rotates to a different job. Implicit in this is that they must see only minimal drop in the service quality when their liaison person changes. Of course this applies also to internal customer/supplier, e.g. other departments.

  5. Shared values. The organization as a whole need to share the necessary values. Some examples would be: continuous change, continuous learning, etc. which needs to be compatible with the organization's vision.

  6. Capacity to learn. Having shared values, may not be enough without the capacity and commitment, i.e. capacity and commitment to change which results from capacity and commitment to learn. Continuously.