Assembling an all-star team for your finance function takes a lot of time and effort. So, when you finally have a deep bench of skilled and experienced employees who work together effectively, the last thing you want to do is to deploy your staff to other parts of the organization, right? Well, you actually might want to change your mindset, because job rotation can benefit your employees and the business.
Job rotation is an effective way to strengthen the organization by providing access to diverse viewpoints, building employees’ skills and grooming future leaders. Many finance leaders appear to recognize the value of allowing employees to move into roles in different areas of the company. In a recent survey of U.S. CFOs, respondents cited the following as the top five greatest benefits of practicing job rotation in companies:
1. Job rotation offers staff exposure to different business areas
This benefit is one reason many internal audit leaders, for example, encourage their star employees to move out of the function and into the organization. They know that if those workers come back to the department someday, they will return with knowledge of the organization that can help them be better internal auditors. And if they decide to stay in another function, their audit expertise can help them spot business risks, and they can help internal audit teams to work more effectively with that department because they understand both points of a view.
2. Job rotation provides fresh perspectives on existing roles
When an employee takes on a new role, they bring their own work style and way of thinking to the job. A fresh perspective can lead to innovation, problem-solving and greater efficiency. It also can result in re-evaluation of the current job description for the position, which can help to ensure you are setting the right expectations (and compensation level) for professionals hired for this role.
3. Job rotation accelerates professional development
Professional development is all about helping employees to grow. But managers often find it challenging to provide meaningful and “hands-on” learning opportunities. Job rotation is an answer. Employees will gain new skills fast — and be more likely to retain them — if they are immersed in a situation where they must ramp up their knowledge quickly and start applying it.
4. Job rotation strengthens succession planning
Robert Half Management Resources research found that just 8 percent of executives in the accounting and finance profession have someone on staff who could take over their job immediately if they were to leave the firm. Obviously, not having a succession plan for key roles in the organization could prove disruptive and costly. With job rotation, you have the opportunity to not only identify future leaders but also provide them with valuable training that will enable them to step smoothly into roles of greater responsibility when the time comes.
5. Job rotation enhances recruiting and retention
Companies that promote role rotation can make themselves more attractive employers. Professionals want to work for organizations that help them advance their careers. Job rotation can also be an effective retention strategy: It can help meet the needs of in-demand professionals who are looking for new challenges or want to round out their skill sets in preparation for leadership positions.
Don’t let the value of job rotation go unrealized
While the CFOs in our survey were able to list many benefits of job rotation, less than half (44 percent) actually promote it in their finance teams. Those that do most often encourage transitioning into accounting operations positions — such as payroll or accounts payable— and accounting. Far fewer appear willing to allow staff to move into compliance and tax. This is understandable given how challenging it can be to find this type of skilled talent.
Still, considering the potential benefits of job rotation, it’s important to determine whether any of your employees would be interested in this opportunity. Ask your team if they would like to move elsewhere in the organization, and to which departments and why. Then, talk to line managers in the business to get their input on how these arrangements could work, and whether their employees would be candidates for job rotation, too.
If an employee finds job rotation appealing, but isn’t sure what to do, consider offering job-shadowing opportunities so that person can get a firsthand look at different positions. Pairing the employee with a mentor in another area of the business that interests them is another strategy. The mentor can explain job responsibilities and pressures, and the skills needed to succeed in his or her role or department.
Remember, job rotation can enhance your department, as well, by connecting you with new talent for your team — without needing to look outside the organization. And by being willing to let go of talented staff, you may find the company is able to hold on to these employees for the long term. There’s also a good chance that some of these staff members will want to come back someday and work specifically for you because you supported their professional development.