As the economy slowly shows signs of improvement, an IT Job Rotation Program can help you retain your top performers.
As the economy slowly shows signs of improvement, your IT staff members will inevitably question whether they should explore new opportunities. The management challenge that we face is that IT professionals possess skills that are relatively transferrable from one industry to another, so if you’re in a hard hit industry, you have more risk in retaining your top talent as other industries improve faster. So, how do you retain your IT staff in today’s unpredictable economy?
Build a Job Rotation Program
Job rotation programs are designed to move employees from job to job within a company as a vehicle to attract, retain and motivate staff. Rotation programs give employees an opportunity to explore other careers, prevent job boredom, develop competencies, foster career growth, and improve talent in an organization. A well designed job rotation program can have a very favorable impact on job satisfaction, productivity and retention. Rotations are different from normal job openings because the job opening is created by two employees interested in moving into each other’s jobs.
Where Do You Start?
First, assemble a small, cross-functional team of individual contributors and managers to define the program. The team can help you study the topic, define specific objectives, establish the process, and make sure that whatever you eventually put in place will be an effective program. There is a lot of free information available on the internet and even consultants that specialize in the topic.
While the name of the program clearly implies its intention, it does not convey the reasons why such a program is necessary for your company. It is important that you clearly emphasize why the program is needed. Organizations put rotation programs in place to solve different objectives. The team that you assemble to build the program can help you identify and communicate the objectives of the program. Merely saying that the program will be designed to help retain employees is not sufficient because no one will understand how such a program will help retain employees. And retaining employees is a goal or an outcome, not an objective. An example of an objective of a job rotation program may be to broaden an individual’s knowledge of other functions in the IT department, which in turn will help become more valuable to the organization. In this age of doing more with less, this is a worthy objective.
Establishing a Process
After you have sufficiently studied rotation programs and are ready to design your own, carefully consider the type of process that you will need. Some companies have very informal rotation programs. In these companies, the culture itself encourages employees to move from one job to another. There may be enough natural movement that a highly structured program is not necessary – too much structure may even be viewed as an impediment in this type culture. Although, it is arguable that some amount of structure is necessary in any type of culture so that employees understand how to make a move into a different role that is right for them – and for the company.
When designing a job rotation program, consider steps such as the request process, eligibility, matching participants to opportunities, terms of rotation, timing, transition plan, and monitoring the rotation. It is best to have the program clearly documented and made available on the company’s intranet.
Measuring the Success of the Program
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