What should a company consider when rotating staff?

Friday February 28 2020


By Caroline Mboijana

An energy company is looking at rotating its staff over the next several days partly to provide exposure and grow the skills for its staff and then also partly to break up a group of staff that appear to be disengaged, gossiping, under-performing. But also, to mitigate risk of fraud from escalating. What would be the key considerations for management if this process is to be handled well? What reason would they communicate to staff for the change?

Dear Beatrice
Hello Beatrice, as you have correctly pointed out, organisations that undertake a job rotation strategy do it to address issues such as skills development and exposure. This strategy is certainly a creative solution in addressing employee issues within an organisation, nevertheless it does not necessarily address the issues you have pointed out above, they need to be addressed differently.

Disengagement is generally connected to a disconnect between the employee, what they do and their understanding of their purpose in the organisation. Also the role night have limited intellectual challenge or is repetitive in nature suggesting a poor job design.
Gossiping is a symptom of an underlying issue that may be associated with organisational culture, communication and leadership style.

Underperformance can be related to poorly written and communicated job descriptions, inaccurate goal and KPI setting, and lack of an objective monitoring and evaluation approach.

In order for job rotation to work your organisation needs to be clear about which roles can be rotated, not (all jobs can be rotated), the jobs need to be within the same job family so they require similar skills sets, technical and behavioural competencies, and the strategy needs to have a system that assesses the rotated staff to determine where they are best suited.

The leaders must be honest in their communication to staff, and recognise that their leadership style may be a root cause of the current problem, which will not be resoved by rotating staff.


Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)