We had previously discussed in several articles job rotation from its definition, to why implement it, and to its relevance to employee motivation. And all of that is good information. But what we are aiming at showing now is real data coming from a study performed by Eli Lilly and Company,¬†and which presents the benefits of implementing job rotation at companies. In fact, not only this study shows the training and career development advantages, but also the potential pitfalls and means to skip them.
As we had listed before in prior articles some of the benefits of job rotation, such as breaking work routine, motivating employees, filling jobs, spreading communication among employees, or even allowing employees to discover new things about themselves, it has been obvious intuitively that such benefits are well, beneficial! Yet we have not shared hard data confirming these intuitive advantages, we are aiming to show according to this study how rotation influences employee training and development.
In fact, Eli Lilly and Company is well known for implementing job rotation for years. The conducted study was performed over 500 employees in the financial component, most of whom had already started in this department, yet around 30 percent of the workers had a nonfinancial assignment at one time or another based upon their development needs as well as the organization’s needs. Statistics showed that on average¬†¬†these employees take one non financial assignment during their careers, an assignment that usually lasts for 1.5 years.
The methodology used by Eli Lilly and Company for implementing job rotations consists of a committee that decides upon them based on the new openings, the employees¬†development needs and interests, as well as staffing requirements of the business. Hence staffing decisions are based upon input from the employee’s current supervisor, the hiring manager and an HR representative.
The study actually showed that¬†early-career managers and early-career professionals were the most interested in rotating jobs (75% and 66%), while later career managers and executives with more than 10 years tenure were less interested (42% and 27%).¬†Also another finding is that higher-performing employees tend to rotate jobs more often.¬†All of these rotation-enthusiasts considered that job rotation increases their potential for promotion.
In the study and in Eli Lilly’s particular case, job rotation improved three primary skills categories common to industrial training, which include technical, business, and administrative. Hence improving the learning and career building of the employees.
Also the study was able to find that¬†employees who are interested in rotating or the ones who rotate more often, were able to find better skill acquisition process improvement. This is due to the experience with rotation which improves employee’s perception regarding skills outcomes.
Yet one of the disadvantages the study found was related to employees rotating too fast, without the company being able to slow it down. Filling one job opened another, and then the prior one needed to be filled, and so on and so forth, causing ripple effect! And even though this might be problematic, yet it can be resolved in deciding which jobs will be open for rotation and which are not. Another approach can be the creation of more generalist jobs which allow an employee to gain enough experience at the job so as he doesn’t need to rotate too fast or too often.
Finally, job rotation does have its advantages as mentioned before, but needs to be properly implemented to be more efficient and useful for organizations. Let us read your feedback below