What is a job rotation

Job rotation - why don't you change trees!

Curiosity is a key to business success. As HR, make sure that your employees are always curious and dare to think outside the box. Job rotation is the key to curiosity that benefits everyone: companies and employees. Fast results guaranteed. Easy to use as well.

Document the performance of your employees in Personio and use this as a basis to plan development measures that will really bring something. Find out more here.


A Bitkom survey from 2019 on the subject of “New Work” showed it very clearly: 71 percent of German employees want regular job rotation. As it is well known, however, since desire and reality often diverge, it is not surprising that currently only 14 percent of German companies offer their employees the job rotation model at all.

Job rotation is an important tool in personnel development. It can be used for a variety of purposes: from health prevention to talent development to strategic employee retention. Find out how Job Rotation makes employees and companies better.

All performance information in one place

Record all information about your employees in Personio's digital personnel file. This serves as a basis for decision-making for job rotation measures.

Job rotation - what is it actually?

According to the Gabler Business Dictionary, the term job rotation can have several meanings. We understand it primarily as "systematic change of job to develop and deepen the specialist knowledge and experience of suitable employees or to avoid work monotony and one-sided stress [...] whereby, as a rule, only the scope for activity but not the scope for decision-making is expanded ".

The word "systematic" is of crucial importance, because only then can job rotation as a function of work organization, in which employees take turns at work on a scheduled or regular basis, unfold their full power in the long term. A spontaneous sapling-change-yourself game true to the motto “Just take over my job from tomorrow!” May sound funny and have a unique motivating effect on the addressed employee, but this approach is not sustainable.

Job rotation can and should be offered in as many hierarchical levels as possible. The systematically organized job change is just as suitable for trainees as for skilled workers, for young managers and established managers.

What can Job Rotation do?

Job rotation is not the brainchild of digitization, because with the start of assembly line work in the industrial production of bulk goods, many companies recognized the dangers of monotonous work for the well-being of their employees.

People who have to carry out the same work processes over and over again over long periods of time are burdened on one side. Serious physical problems are often the result. But even at modern computer workstations, sooner or later, routine and, in the worst case, monotony emerges. A regular change of job can prevent this, because new tasks promote the flexibility and attention of the employee.

Advantages of job rotation for the employee

  • Employees take a look at the bigger picture of their job.
  • This allows employees to be deployed more flexibly.
  • Employees develop a more holistic understanding of their company.
  • Employees learn "on the job".
  • Employees expand their professional skills.
  • Employees internalize the team spirit because they know the challenges of colleagues from other areas.
  • Employees learn intercultural skills on assignments abroad.

In short: Job rotation can - well organized and developed - ensure more satisfied employees who not only broaden their own job perspective and get to know the company from different perspectives, but also develop in-depth specialist knowledge. To put it bluntly, job rotation offers a smart approach to implementing lifelong learning in the company.

Advantages of job rotation for the company

  • Minimization of personnel bottlenecks through broad-based employees
  • Further development of managers
  • Distribution of know-how across several shoulders
  • Increased employee motivation without great administrative effort
  • Increase in productivity through higher employee satisfaction
  • Increasing mobility and improving language skills on assignments abroad
  • Efficient employee retention without high costs

In a nutshell: Job rotation ensures the productivity and efficiency of employees in the best interests of the company.

Appraisal interviews reveal expectations

If you know what employees want and what expectations they have of their job, you can better strategically plan job rotation. Use our guidelines for employee appraisals for this purpose.

How to use job rotation profitably

Job rotation should not be viewed as a short-term measure. The focus should always be on the long-term success of this measure. As HR, you must focus on the needs and goals of your own organization and clarify key questions such as these:

  • How should the job change be designed?
  • Should the job rotation take place within teams or at department level?
  • Which form of job rotation should be used - e.g. B. Job Enlargement or Job Enrichment?
  • How should the results be made measurable?
  • Should the job rotation become part of the management program?
  • Are there interdisciplinary goals that should be achieved by changing jobs, such as developing soft skills?
  • Should the job rotation be used as a means of retention management or is it primarily used for health prevention?

Methods of job rotation

When implementing job rotation, you can use various methods, the usefulness of which is closely linked to the conditions and requirements of your company.

How about with Job shadowing? You literally look over the shoulder of your colleague and get a direct and undisguised insight into the field of activity in which you are to be trained.

At the Job swapping The roles, tasks and responsibilities are swapped 1-on-1 for a precisely defined period of time. Of course, this only works if the employees have comparable skills and qualifications.

Or you can apply the model of the Observation an: Here an employee receives an insight into a new specialist area in a comparatively short period of time and can try out smaller tasks directly in the new environment.

At the Job enlargement the existing work environment is quantitatively expanded, while the Job enrichment Adds higher quality workspaces.

Another variation is that Job visitingin which the job change does not take place completely, but rather “part-time”, so to speak. The employee continues to do sub-tasks of his core area, supplemented by other tasks of the new workplace.

3 tips for implementation

Tip 1: Take your employees with you

Here you are challenged as a communicator! Educate employees about opportunities and risks, play with open cards, highlight the benefits for employees and the company. Name a contact person or a mentor.

Tip 2: make it run smoothly

Is your company positioned globally? If the employee concerned is to change jobs in a branch abroad, you have to clarify all the formalities - this ranges from necessary vaccinations and possible visa requirements to training in intercultural competence.

Tip 3: document cleanly

Define all framework conditions (including the time frame) that have been discussed with the employees concerned. This also includes the most concretely formulated goals. In this way, you create reliable guidelines and have a basis for checking results during and after the job rotation.

Do not exaggerate

So that you can exploit the advantages of job rotation, it is important to use it with a sense of proportion and caution. Because if you confront your employees with constant job changes, they quickly overwhelm them. One possible consequence: the fluctuation increases. Furthermore, the productivity of the changing employee may initially decrease during the conversion phase at a new workplace.

Above all, make sure that the job rotation does not overwhelm the employees concerned. Particularly in an increasingly specialized world of work with narrow specialist areas, job changes must be well prepared and, above all, sensible. Or can you imagine that the IT specialist will take over your tasks as a HR manager at the beginning of the next month?

More time for HR tasks that you love

Satisfied employees are important to you, but administrative tasks prevent you from implementing measures such as job rotation? Don't worry, Personio creates space for important HR topics.