Job Rotation

Job rotation in business

Job rotation is a management technique that companies use in various ways. Organizations that use job rotation tend to be successful innovative companies and organizations with a growth and development agenda. It assigns trainees to various structures and departments over a set period of time to:

  • train new employees
  • help in business continuity (multiple people are equally equipped to perform a job function (Coyne, P. (2011)))
  • as a control to detect errors and fraud
  • to maintain physical health and well being
  • to motivate individuals
  • to innovate


Job rotation in Scouting

The value of job rotation in Scouting is sometimes underestimated!.  A process that encourages volunteers to experience a new role can provide many benefits for volunteers as well as the organization. In Scouting we do not always consider the dynamic environment of the teams when new people join in, but we should. The retention of adult volunteers is directly influenced by their level of satisfaction and/or enjoyment, and moving or changing roles within a team or a group can increase this significantly.

A better fit between the volunteer and the role could ease the large turnover of adult volunteers experienced by some associations. According to several studies (Elstad, 1997; Finkelstein, 2008; Malenfant, 1987; Rail,1987) matching tasks with volunteers’ interests and providing the opportunity to learn new skills also helped in meeting the expectations of satisfied volunteers.

Benefits of job rotation for the volunteer:

  • better use of the knowledge, skills, abilities they have
  • greater satisfaction from achieving more
  • new skills acquired or learned from new challenges
  • new motivation and challenges
  • new dynamics
  • possibly better person-role fit

Benefits of job rotation for the organization:

  • raising the standard by setting better objectives for the new person joining
  • innovation: new person will bring fresh ideas
  • motivated volunteers: variety in tasks
  • improved processes and standards: new people identify areas for improvement
  • creating opportunities for youth and new adults to join

Short term roles:

We view it as normal that many positions within Scouting have defined terms, such as those at district or national level which are filled as a result of an election or an appointment by the Board.  These will see a change of volunteer on a regular basis. In fact we usually fix the term for only a few years, and allow the volunteer to hold the position for only two consecutive terms.  

Why do we do this?

  • is it because we want our volunteers to give 100% and it is only reasonable to expect that they can do this for a limited time?
  • is it because we are looking for someone with a fresh approach and up-to-date ideas to stay in line with societal changes?
  • is it because we want to give other volunteers the opportunity to carry this role?  
  • is it because we want to ensure the longevity of our organisation through appropriate appreciation of our volunteers and proper use of management tools.

Questions to consider:

  • Are all of your volunteer teams performing to the best of their ability?
  • Are all of your volunteers happy and productive in their current teams?
  • Would a change of volunteers in roles within a team be a positive change?
  • Would a change of volunteers between teams bring about positive change?

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