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Job rotations: Leverage this retention trend to keep your workforce agile and engaged


Some employees are stuck in the same position for years, doing the same tasks day after day. They yearn for a change that never comes, causing them to burn out and disengage from their current role. Productivity takes a hit, and management is stuck wondering what went wrong.

According to a report by CareerPlug, 16% of employees planning to leave their jobs list “lack of career growth opportunities” as the number one reason for wanting to quit.[1]

Job rotations help address these issues, enabling employees to learn new skills and venture into new roles. This talent retention trend supports a culture of continuous learning and keeps your employees engaged and happy.

This article explores the importance of job rotations, how to use talent assessments to assess role suitability, the benefits and disadvantages of job rotations, how to leverage it as part of your talent retention strategy, and examples of job rotation systems in practice.

What is a job rotation?

A job rotation is the process of moving employees between different roles within a company. These shifts are typically temporary, with people returning to their old jobs after some time. They are not considered promotions because the employee moves to the position on the same level.

Job rotations transcend the boundaries of routine, offering a refreshing change. Although some may see a job rotation as an unnecessary lateral move, its impact is far-reaching. 

Unlike stagnant career trajectories, this trend offers diverse experiences that increase engagement and employee retention rates.

Here’s an example of job rotation:

In the tech industry, a software engineer can transition between coding, project management, and quality assurance roles. This intentional movement hones their skills and enables them to develop new competencies. It also fosters a comprehensive understanding of the software development life cycle, helping them excel in their role.

Why is a job rotation program important?

A job rotation program benefits companies and employees, helping drive organizational and personal success.

For employees, job rotations support a culture of continuous learning. When employees transition between roles, they absorb diverse skill sets and perspectives. This creates an environment where knowledge is continually cultivated and shared.

A job rotation framework provides employers with a unique opportunity to assess an employee’s suitability for potential future positions. It serves as a practical audition, offering insights into individuals’ abilities and interests.

Switching positions also creates an agile workforce. We live in an era of constant change where adapting to new roles, responsibilities, and practices is crucial for success. Adaptable employees are also less likely to get burnt out.

For example, if a crucial employee is absent due to an emergency, another employee who had experience in that role through a job rotation could sub in for them at a moment’s notice.

For employees, job rotations minimize monotony, reduce stress, and alleviate burnout. That’s because this trend provides new exciting experiences and opportunities, which helps keep them engaged and motivated. 

Switching to a different position also encourages employees to develop their skills, which can propel their career growth after completing a job rotation program. 

Lastly, job rotation mitigates the risk of long-term physical strain and associated health issues for physically demanding jobs, such as warehouse workers. That’s why rotational jobs should be the norm in these positions.

The benefits of job rotation 

This employee retention trend brings many advantages for companies and HR professionals. 

Here are five key benefits of job rotations you can expect for your company:

1. Increases employee retention 

A workforce trapped in a routine is a breeding ground for disengagement and demotivation. The negative effects of boredom extend beyond the individual, impacting team dynamics.

A lack of challenges and opportunities to develop their skills often causes employees to rethink their future with the company. A job rotation program acts as a strategic shield against these negative tendencies, creating an environment where employees remain motivated and happy.

When employees are exposed to a variety of roles, it disrupts their monotonous routine, presenting them with new, exciting challenges. This aids employee wellbeing, prevents burnout, and improves retention.

Most HR professionals recognize the devastating impact burnout has on employee retention. In fact, 46% of HR leaders state that burnout is responsible for up to 50% of their annual turnover.[2]

According to that same report, 29% of employees experience burnout because they see no clear connection between their role to the current organizational objectives. Creating a job rotation program can solve this problem by helping employees see the big picture of their company’s operations.

By understanding how all the different roles culminate as a collective, employees can form a deeper connection with the company’s wider goals no matter what part they’re currently playing.

2. Provides employee development opportunities 

The exposure to different roles enables employees to learn and develop their skills. They also get a chance to apply new skills in practical situations.

Research reinforces the crucial role of job rotations in learning and development. An overwhelming 95% of employees believe job rotation programs effectively address their need for a challenge, according to a study published in the Corporate Ownership and Control (COC) journal.[3]

As employees navigate diverse roles, they encounter challenges that require them to adapt and acquire skills specific to each position. That’s why 89.6% of employees feel like a job rotation has helped them develop a deeper skill set. The same number think their problem-solving skills have improved thanks to this initiative.

3. Boosts engagement and collaboration

Employees working in the same position for several years can lose motivation and disengage from their jobs. But a job rotation can shake up their daily routine, motivating them to become more productive. This renewed sense of purpose leads to better employee engagement.

According to the COC study, 96% of employees think that learning new skills after a job rotation improves their productivity.

Job rotations also contribute to a culture of cooperation within the organization. By navigating various roles, employees develop a broader perspective and a deeper appreciation for the contributions of all teams. 

The newfound perspective supports positive working relationships and creates a cooperative spirit that breaks down departmental boundaries. 

The same study from the COC journal reveals that 80.6% of employees believe job rotations increase cooperation. An additional 83.8% of employees recognize the positive impact of job rotations on coordination, noting that this practice has helped them coordinate different departments.

4. Improves succession planning 

Job rotations provide a systematic approach to identifying and nurturing potential leaders. It exposes employees to various roles and helps employers assess their adaptability, skill sets, and leadership potential. This helps employers identify individuals who can step into leadership roles when needed.

While working in different positions, employees face various responsibilities to help them understand the company’s needs on every level. That ensures an employee is well-equipped to handle larger-scale challenges once a leadership role becomes available.

In addition, job rotations act as a safety net for unforeseen departures, helping shape succession planning. That way, the organization is not caught off guard when a key employee vacates their role – a fellow senior employee could temporarily rotate into that position while a successor is being selected.

The cross-functional knowledge gained through job rotations creates a pool of versatile talent ready to step in. That minimizes disruptions and safeguards organizational interests.

5. Helps identify skills required for certain roles

Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between the skills needed for a specific role and what the company thinks the perfect candidate brings to the table. 

Job rotations offer firsthand insights into the day-to-day demands of different roles, enabling HR professionals to fine-tune job descriptions based on practical knowledge. This ensures that job descriptions accurately reflect the skills and competencies necessary for success in each position, improving the success of talent acquisition efforts.

In other words, you might discover that skills normally useful for one position are unexpectedly effective in another position, inspiring you to add those to the list of required competencies for hiring new employees.

Observing employees in diverse roles helps you understand the skills required for success at various organizational levels. This knowledge becomes the foundation for tailoring professional development plans. It also ensures employee coaching and training initiatives align with the skill sets needed for individual and organizational growth.

A job rotation system helps employers identify high-potential individuals with the right mix of skills for key roles. Considering that internal hiring is six times more effective than an average recruitment funnel, job rotations can be crucial for successful internal recruitment.[4]

The disadvantages of job rotations

Despite improving the employee experience, job rotation systems have certain downsides. 

Let’s explore the disadvantages of job rotations so that you can get a comprehensive understanding of this retention trend.

  1. It isn’t always efficient: Introducing employees to different jobs temporarily decreases productivity and efficiency. The learning curve associated with unfamiliar tasks and routines impacts performance, particularly during the initial stages of the rotation.

  2. It can cause dissatisfaction: Rotating out of positions they enjoy could cause employee dissatisfaction. This discontent stems from a perceived downgrade in job importance or a misalignment of personal goals and preferences with the new job.

  3. It isn’t an upward movement: Employees might be disappointed by any move that isn’t upward. Rotating to a new role is a horizontal movement, which isn’t as good as a promotion for most employees. Employees aspiring to advance their careers might see anything that isn’t a step forward as a step backward.

  4. It isn’t feasible in all industries and roles: Rotating employees isn’t universally applicable across all sectors and roles. Some positions demand specialized skills or specific experience, making it impractical to rotate jobs.

The disadvantages of job rotations graphic

8 best practices for leveraging job rotation programs to retain your best performers 

Optimizing rotating shift jobs and exploring different types of job rotation can be the key to unlocking employee potential, innovation, and organizational success.

Here are the job rotation best practices to reduce voluntary turnover:

The best ways to leverage a job rotation program: A summary



1. Assess role suitability with talent assessments

Talent assessments can align employee skills with new roles and improve efficiency.

2. Leverage an internal talent marketplace to assist job rotations

An internal talent marketplace is useful for matching job rotations with employee goals and aspirations.

3. Encourage career pathing in your company

Career pathing can get your employees used to lateral career trajectories and prevent dissatisfaction with job rotations.

4. Align job rotation efforts with organizational goals

Job rotation benefits can be maximized by creating clear objectives connected to strategic company initiatives. 

5. Confirm your people are on board

A positive narrative with open discussions about job rotations convinces employees of their importance.

6. Ensure employees are ready for rotation

Employee readiness for job rotations can be established through talent assessments. Personalized coaching and mentoring help for a smooth transition.

7. Ask for feedback regarding job rotations

Metrics from regular upward feedback can help you adjust and improve your job rotation programs.

8. Write a formal job rotation policy

A formal policy outlining the structure and implementation steps ensures fair and efficient job rotations.

1. Assess role suitability with talent assessments 

Before approving a job rotation, you need to ensure the employee fits the role. Talent assessment tests can help with that. These structured tests measure individual skills and capabilities in a standardized way.

By systematically evaluating skills and competencies, talent assessments streamline the decision-making process for employers and employees. They minimize the ramp-up time required for the transition and improve the efficiency of the process.

For example, if a current marketing coordinator wants to transition to a more specialized role like a brand strategist, an employer can use talent assessments to evaluate whether that’s a good idea. They can use TalentGorilla’s Branding Strategy test to understand the employee’s ability to define, position, manage, and develop a brand.

The results help the employer decide whether a job rotation is a good idea, improving the chances of a successful transition.

2. Leverage an internal talent marketplace to assist job rotations 

An internal talent marketplace is a platform that facilitates the identification of skills and talents among existing employees. It enables employees to express their career interests, skills, and aspirations, enabling employers to match them with available opportunities.

This transparency fosters open communication and improves job satisfaction. More importantly, it helps employers strategically match the skills and competencies of employees with available opportunities for job rotations. As a result, workers are considered for roles that align with their strengths and interests, optimizing the initiative’s success.

The accessibility of an internal talent marketplace empowers employees to actively participate in their career development. That keeps them engaged and motivated.

As a notable example, TestGorilla has an internal talent marketplace where employees can express their skills, preferences, and career goals. This platform facilitates clear communication between employers and employees and supports a culture of talent mobility.

3. Encourage career pathing in your company 

Career pathing is an approach to professional growth that acknowledges the diverse channels individuals can explore to develop their careers. Unlike traditional vertical progression, career pathing considers lateral moves like job rotations, skill development, and varied experiences as integral components of an employee’s journey.

Career pathing helps employees get used to diverse career journeys. That way, they become more open to job rotations and lateral career moves, which prevents dissatisfaction.

Embracing career pathing contributes to higher employee satisfaction and retention. Individuals feel empowered to shape their career trajectories in alignment with personal aspirations and interests, leading to a more fulfilled and committed workforce.

According to the Insights from the COC study, 85.7% of employees believe job rotation has helped them boost career development. Another 74.1% think that job rotations improve their chances of a promotion. 

So, career pathing supports a mindset that professional development is a personal journey that includes more than upward promotions.

4. Align job rotation efforts with organizational goals 

To get the most benefits from your job rotations, you need to have a clear plan and goal in mind. Simply switching employees from role to role without a clear objective leads to inefficiencies and a lack of role clarity.

For example, without a proper plan in place, you could rotate an employee to a job that doesn’t develop the skills needed for their original role. They’d have learned nothing by the time they return to their old jobs. This leads to misaligned skill development, wasted resources, and missed opportunities.

A successful job rotation plan moves the employee to a role that complements their skills. 

For example, you can rotate a marketing specialist into a temporary customer service role to help them understand customer needs. This helps them gain valuable insights to create a customer-centric approach to their marketing strategy.

Here’s how you can align job rotation with organizational goals:

  • Define clear objectives

  • Connect to strategic initiatives

  • Involve leadership

  • Tailor programs for specific departments

  • Encourage open communication

  • Evaluate and adjust initiatives

5. Ensure your people are on board 

Job rotation success depends on employees’ willingness to switch roles. If they are not interested in a new position, job rotations can only harm productivity and engagement.

To mitigate potential disgruntlement, you need to engage in open discussions with your employees, clearly explaining the benefits of job rotation and convincing them rather than coercing them.

This proactive approach transforms what could be perceived as a challenge into an opportunity.

You can get employees on board by:

  • Communicating openly

  • Aligning job rotations with their personal goals

  • Explaining how it develops their skills

  • Addressing concerns proactively

  • Creating a positive narrative

  • Offering flexibility in the workplace

6. Make sure employees are ready for rotation 

You can use talent assessments to establish whether an employee is ready to rotate into a new position. But once they move to a new role, don’t just leave them on their own. Even though they possess most of the necessary skills for the new position, they still need guidance and advice to thrive.

You can support employees by organizing personalized coaching, employee training programs, and mentorship to ensure a smooth transition. This support should address any skills gaps identified during the assessment phase.

Monitoring progress and offering constructive feedback throughout the rotation further improves their adaptation and overall success in the new role. You can do that by establishing a system for regular check-ins to monitor employee progress. 

These check-ins provide opportunities to discuss challenges, celebrate successes, and offer timely support. Use these sessions to provide regular employee feedback on performance, praising areas of strength and offering guidance on areas that require improvement.

7. Ask for feedback regarding job rotations 

Regular upward feedback from your team is vital for the success of job rotations. That’s why you need to ask your team what they think of job rotations and if they would change anything. You can issue employee surveys to assess sentiments and perceptions about the job rotation program. Include questions that explore the positive aspects and challenges employees face. 

Listening to your employees and taking action ensures a job rotation is as impactful and beneficial as possible.

It’s important to establish anonymous feedback channels to encourage honest and open responses. This enables employees to share their opinions without fear of reprisal, supporting more transparent communication.

In addition, you can ask about job rotations during regular one on one meetings. Create a safe and open space for employees to express their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding the program.

8. Write a formal job rotation policy 

Formalizing the job rotation process keeps it efficient. That’s why you need to create a job rotation policy that outlines the structure of job rotations, ensures equal opportunities for all employees, and provides a roadmap for successful implementation.

When you create individualized plans for each role involved in job rotations, you need to specify required focus areas, skills, and knowledge. That streamlines the process, acts as a valuable resource for employee training, and mitigates the risk of inefficiencies.

Ensure that the job rotation policy is accessible to all employees, promoting equal opportunities and preventing selection bias. Clear documentation also improves the learning experience and reduces uncertainties during the transition.

Job rotations: 3 examples of companies succeeding with this talent retention trend

Let’s explore how leading companies strategically employ job rotations to cultivate and retain talent. 

This practice helps them develop a dynamic workforce that supports organizational success.

How 3 successful companies use job rotations: A summary


How it uses job rotations


The company uses the SHINE job rotation program to nurture young talent. The result is a faster onboarding process and higher talent retention.


The organization uses several rotational programs to offer cross-functional experiences to young professionals. This helps reduce attrition and support the company’s success.

Slumber Yard

The company uses a dynamic job rotation program to shift roles every eight weeks. This prevents employee turnover and creates an agile workforce.


Deloitte is a giant in the consulting industry, with more than 450,000 employees globally. The company started the SHINE program back in 2012 to help hire and retain the top-performing graduates with marketing and communications majors.

The organization leverages job rotations to put participants in various roles to provide a firsthand experience that goes beyond conventional learning. 

Spending several months in different positions and collaborating with diverse professionals helps participants discover their passions and develop versatile skill sets. In addition, they get exposure to the company’s tools, services, and processes, which helps them better understand how the organization works.

The SHINE program has proven to be a catalyst for talent development, contributing to more than 200 young professionals excelling in their newfound roles. 

This approach has accelerated the company’s onboarding process and aligned the workforce with organizational priorities. The SHINE program has also helped the company retain the best young talent, securing a successful future for the organization.


Allstate is an insurance industry leader with more than 50,000 employees in the US. This organization supports the growth of young professionals through rotational development programs, internships, and apprenticeship opportunities.

The company offers technology, data science, and finance rotational development programs that help professionals start their careers. 

To better understand what the initiatives look like, let’s briefly go over the technology development program. This dynamic two-year initiative puts new technology professionals into cross-functional experiences through three job rotations.

The program helps participants learn about the company’s technology operations, leadership styles, and business processes. Collaborating on transformative projects and innovative services enables individuals to get a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s technological landscape.

More importantly, the company provides clear career paths and mobility opportunities, enabling employees to develop within the organization after the job rotation program. This strategic approach helps young professionals find roles where they feel happy, reducing employee attrition rates and contributing to the company’s overall success.

Slumber Yard

Slumber Yard is dedicated to providing unique insights and reviews in the mattress and bedding industry. What sets the company apart is an innovative approach to talent development and retention using job rotations.

Every eight weeks, employees transition to a new role. This dynamic job rotation program aims to keep employees engaged and prevents them from getting bored with their roles. Gaining experience from various departments also helps employees continuously develop new skills.

According to the company’s co-owner, Matthew Ross, the job rotation program reduces employee turnover rates and ensures they don’t become a “one-trick pony.” That helps develop an agile workforce that contributes to the company’s adaptability.

Use job rotations to retain your employees

Job rotation systems are a growing talent retention trend that help companies upskill their workforce, promote engagement and collaboration, support succession planning, and retain employees.

If you want to leverage job rotations to retain talent, you can encourage career pathing, make formal policies, align programs with personal and organizational goals, test skills with talent assessments, and provide regular feedback and support.

You can use our Motivation test to assess your employees' personalities and better understand whether they are a good fit for a job rotation.

If you want to discover more ways to leverage the skills of your existing employees, you can read our article on internal mobility and its benefits.


  1. Palmery, Shelby. (June 27, 2022). “2022 Toxic Work Environment Report”. CareerPlug. Retrieved December 14, 2023. https://www.careerplug.com/blog/toxic-work-environment/

  2. “The Employee Burnout Crisis: Study Reveals Big Workplace Challenge in 2017”. (January 9, 2017). Business Wire. Retrieved December 14, 2023. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170109005377/en/The-Employee-Burnout-Crisis-Study-Reveals-Big-Workplace-Challenge-in-2017

  3. Dhanraj, Dayanath; Parumasur, B. Sanjana. (2014). “Perceptions of the impact of job rotation on employees, productivity, the organization and on job security”. Corporate Ownership & Control. Retrieved December 14, 2023. https://doi.org/10.22495/cocv11i4c7p10 

  4. Shetelboim, Ronen; Hsu, Weijen; Van Nuys, Amanda. (2017). “Recruiting funnel benchmark report”. Jobvite. Retrieved December 14, 2023. https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Jobvite_2017_Recruiting_Funnel_Benchmark_Report.pdf


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