Job Rotation: Is it the Cure to Workplace Boredom and Injury?
Let’s face it, not everyone loves their job.
Not all jobs are rewarding, or interesting, or exciting. Sometimes we work a job because it pays the bills and keeps roofs over our heads.
Sometimes jobs are just jobs.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have personal and professional development at these jobs.
Good organizational leaders strive to have an engaged workforce that is interested in their tasks. An engaged staff is not only a productive staff, but a safe staff.
One way that you can encourage this development is through strategies like job rotation.
What is Job Rotation?
Job rotation is a strategy where employees rotate through jobs, either department-wide (also called task rotation) or company-wide (also called position rotation).
In task rotation strategies, employees will move from task to task after a set amount of time or once a desired goal has been achieved.
Position rotation strategies apply to employees in management streams looking to move vertically within the company.
Does Job Rotation Improve Safety?
This depends on the safety you are looking to improve. If you’re hoping that a job rotation strategy will eliminate ergonomic stresses that cause Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) or similar issues, then probably not.
As Humantech.com points out in their white paper “The Effectiveness of Job Rotation on Work Performance:”
The primary focus of many employers when implementing a job rotation program is to reduce MSDs by distributing exposure to these risk factors as employees rotate through jobs. However, job rotation does not change the risk associated with a particular job; it simply limits the amount of time a person spends on that job per week.
But if you’re looking to eliminate issues caused by lack of focus, like hand injuries, which send over 1 million people to the hospital every year, then job rotation can be a part of the solution.
Someone who is using a knife to open boxes for a full shift won’t be as careful or aware during their final few hours as they were during their first few. But a task-based job rotation strategy can eliminate this.
Task rotation typically takes place in jobs that have a high degree of physical demands on workers’ bodies or tedious, repetitive work.
Imagine that you work in the quality assurance department for a metal stamping company.
Your job entails inspecting thousands of metal brackets, making sure that each piece is free of cracks and metal burrs. The job is tedious and mind numbing but after a set amount of time you move on to different parts of the assembly line.
By moving through different jobs on a regular basis, it gives you a mental and physical break.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Rotation:
- Employees expand their knowledge.
- Improves productivity.
- Less employee turnover and absenteeism.
- Gives employees a break from strenuous or repetitive tasks.
- Requires investment and dedication. A poorly implemented job rotation program will put workers at more risk.
- More training needed.
- Not feasible in all industries.
Job Rotation Strategy is Not a Cure-All:
It’s important to note that job rotation strategies are not a cure-all to eliminate injuries, low employee morale and poor production.
This style of management should be implemented by organization that is wanting to retain employees and keep them happy and engaged with their work.
Job rotations can only help to reduce workplace injuries when paired with a good company safety culture with managers who are dedicated to provide sufficient training for each job in the rotation.
Has Your Company Adopted a Safety Culture?
Read our post ‘Why Safety Culture Reduces Worker Injury‘ to see how you can benefit!