A job rotation pushes employees through a number of positions within a company within a relatively short period of time. It is designed to expose employees to all aspects of an organization, so that they will eventually have a more well-rounded view of how the entity operates. Job rotations are normally limited to those employees that have been identified as having exceptional potential to eventually fill senior management positions.
For example, a person initially employed in the engineering department to create new products may work for several years in the marketing department, to see how products are positioned and advertised in the marketplace, and then move on to the sales department to experience the selling process flow. Other rotations might send the individual through the production and accounting departments, to gain a more complete understanding of the remaining key functional areas. Only after this job rotation has been completed will the employee be shifted into a senior management position. Even after achieving a senior post, an employee might still be rotated through other senior jobs, in preparation for taking over the chief operating officer or chief executive officer positions.
If a company is attempting to build a coherent type of corporate culture, it can reinforce the concept by engaging in a job rotation strategy. Under this concept, the key element in any hiring decision is whether a person fits the company culture – the secondary emphasis is on fit within a specific job. Employees are typically hired into a lower level position to begin, and then rotate through a variety of more skilled positions as they work their way around and up through the business. This job rotation approach has the particular advantage of allowing senior management to develop a strong culture by avoiding hires that will not fit in. Also, employees know that they will receive preferred consideration when any new position opens up, which builds a longer-term commitment to the organization. The downside of this type of job rotation is that some positions are so skilled that internal training would be unconscionably long, and so must be sourced from outside the company. However, there should be only a small number of these positions, so that the cultural integrity of the organization can be preserved by internally filling all other positions.