Article

Rotation of job profiles: Proven best practice to reduce attrition

R N Moorthy
In today's competitive world, you cannot afford to restrict an employee to his line of work. Such restrictions will only result in stagnation of the employee's professional life, as well as limit his chances of growth in the company and in the industry. The rotation of his job profile

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(or role) can act as a quick fix to such a situation.

Job rotation gives qualified staff an opportunity to learn other processes in the company. This not only gives them exposure, but also relieves them of boredom which people tend to experience by doing the same job day in and day out with little or no scope for growth.

Two options for job rotation
There are two ways to approach situations that call for rotation of jobs. The first is all about movement of people within the same domain. For example, job rotation processes in an IT setup can have a systems integrator donning the developer's role. This way, a person is not only an expert in his area, but also gets hands-on experience in other segments within the same domain.

The second is a complete change in the job role and going beyond a particular domain. For instance, a marketing person with an aptitude for IT could be allowed to get into programming as part of rotation of job roles. At Jet Airways, we have several employees from other departments (like business and marketing) who come to work with the IT department.

Rotation of jobs is a win-win situation for the organization as well as employees. While benefits to the organization include greater loyalty among employees, multi-skilled teams, and an increase in end-product quality, the employee gets an opportunity to explore other career avenues. Thus, job rotation will increase his value in the organization, and the industry as a whole.

Advantages of job rotation
Job rotation helps in upgrading the skills of people. The domain knowledge that they gather due to rotation of job profiles is beneficial to them while climbing up the career ladder.

Additionally, with the high attrition levels that we see nowadays, a company cannot be at its best with specific employees for specific domains alone. It's important for the company to encourage and train employees to gain knowledge in multiple domains. Adopting rotation of job profiles is relevant in such situations. Jet Airways has gone in for rotation of job roles for the last six years, and the attrition level in the company has decreased by 5% thanks to this.

The job rotation process
Identifying the right candidate: When you are considering job rotation, the most important criterion is to identify the right person for a new role. A person who is being considered for the movement should be first tested for his knowledge, understanding, aptitude, logic, and expertise in his current domain. Other internal process tests should also be conducted as per the company's HR policy.

The domain knowledge that they gather due to rotation of job profiles is beneficial to them while climbing up the career ladder.
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Training the candidate: Once the right candidate is selected, the person is given hands-on training in the new role. For example, if a person moves from the business side of the company to the IT side, he will be trained for the new role for which he has been selected. At Jet Airways, he will be put under the guidance of a senior who will evaluate him for six months, because this is the probation period at Jet.

Assessing the candidate: Rotation of job roles can be considered a success if the chosen employee has gained knowledge and understanding of the new role. This should be the deciding factor whether the employee will be absorbed in the new role, or shifted back to his previous division. The person should also be evaluated in the yearly appraisal process that takes place.

Troubles associated with rotation of jobs
The employee who is moved from one division to another will face cultural issues such as peer pressure and seniors not agreeing to share their knowledge and tools. It is entirely the company's responsibility to sort out such issues surrounding rotation of jobs.

Remember that a wrong decision made while going about the rotation of jobs is never the employee's mistake. If a particular job rotation instance is a failure, it's the management which has made a mistake in identifying the wrong candidate. If such a mistake is made at the lower level, it may be okay for the company, but a mistake at higher levels can be disastrous.

Since we don't want anyone to lose his job, Jet Airways moves an employee back to his old division if it's found that the candidate isn't suitable for the new job role. A job loss is a costly affair, hence much care is taken not to create such a situation in the first place.

All said and done, rotation of jobs enables an individual to master a variety of skills which help career growth. If you are given the opportunity, grab it.

About the author: R N Moorthy is a veteran CIO, who currently serves as the senior general manager of IT at Jet Airways.

(As told to Anuradha Ramamirtham)