What is job sharing and rotation?
Put simply, it is a strategy where employees rotate between jobs within their organization. This doesn’t mean they’re subjected to a continual cycle of promotion and demotion, rather, employees take turns to assume different responsibilities and tackle different tasks, while on the same pay.
What do organizations stand to gain from such a strategy?
With the right implementation, job sharing and rotation benefits both the organization and the individuals within it.
For employees, managers, and leaders, job sharing and rotation is an opportunity to gain experience, acquire new skills and get a taste of different levels of responsibility. In this way, it promotes flexibility and can boost engagement by providing stimulating experiences. As well as giving high potential junior employees a taste of increased responsibilities, job sharing and rotation can give employees a break from potentially stressful or arduous tasks, spreading the load between more members of the organization.
By providing experience of different aspects of the organization’s operations, job sharing and rotation helps all employees involved to increase their holistic understanding of how the business functions. Furthermore, by interacting with members of the organization that they may otherwise not interact within the normal course of their duties, job sharing and rotation creates and strengthens internal networks, aiding collaboration and cooperation in the future.
Giving employees the opportunity to test themselves in different roles opens up opportunities for employees to discover new skills and leader behaviors that will benefit the organization, encouraging personal development. The extra stimulation and team-building aspects of job sharing and rotation potentially help with engagement and staff retention. Furthermore, the experience can help employees recognize their own value to the organization, leading to higher workforce morale.
A boost to resilience
Having a pool of employees that are adaptable and who can adeptly undertake a variety of roles is a huge boost for organizational resilience. For example, should an employee require an extended period of leave, job sharing and rotation means that there will always be other people in the organization with the requisite experience and skills to pick up their responsibilities with minimal disruption.
Learning through hands-on experience
It is widely recognized that hands-on experience leads to far better knowledge retention than classroom-based learning which, in turn, gives employees more confidence in their work.
Job sharing and rotation is a direct way to provide a wide range of different types of real-world hands-on experience. It requires the nurturing of excellent communication and collaboration skills, skills which, once acquired, can only benefit the organization in the long term. Job sharing and rotation is a type of ‘learning in the flow of work’, which allows these skills to be acquired within the normal course of the organization’s operations.
The risks and challenges of job sharing and rotation
Putting into place a program of job sharing and rotation can be extremely challenging, it can be a disruptive process and isn’t suitable for every organization. It can also be time-consuming, and costly in terms of management.
Furthermore, in any organization there are likely to be individuals who prefer to focus on their own role and who may be uncomfortable with the challenges inherent to job sharing and rotation. Plus, the learning curve encountered with each rotation can be off-putting or stressful for some employees. Leaders within the organization must ensure that hesitance or resistance towards job sharing and rotation is treated with sensitivity if they wish to benefit from the strategy.
Furthermore, there are industries that rely on individuals who have developed highly-specialized skills, individuals whose value to their organizations stems from their focus on and experience in specialized roles. Nevertheless, it is desirable for organizations not to become over-reliant on ‘irreplaceable’ individuals, and it is vital for other people in such organizations to gain a better understanding of what these roles entail, both for reasons of organizational resilience and intra-organizational collaboration.
Therefore, there are good reasons to implement elements of job sharing and rotation in any type of organization.
Tailor-designed experiential learning programs allow employees to take part in realistic business simulations which recreate real-world business scenarios. Simulations allow employees to experience different roles within the organization without the disruption and risks inherent in reallocating resources and reassigning tasks between the organization’s people.
Experiential learning promotes flexibility by exposing employees to novel situations that they may not encounter in their everyday work, but which are nevertheless highly relevant to their organization. Thus, experiential learning improves employees’ understanding of the way the organization works, and does so in a way that encourages more active engagement than traditional classroom-based training techniques.
As with job sharing and rotation, business simulations help employees to form networks, and to build and strengthen collaborative relationships with colleagues from throughout the organization.
How you can get started
If you would like to find out how StratX Exl’s experiential learning programs can help bring the benefits of job sharing and rotation to your organization, simply contact us and we’ll be happy to tell you more.