Two woman seen in profile are sitting at a desk and looking at a computer monitor. The woman on the left is slightly more in focus; her hand is on the computer mouse as if she is using the computer. In the background are a radiator and a window ledge on which a potted plant sits.
As your employees move through rotational training, it's good to have mentors available to answer questions and pass on job-related knowledge. — Getty Images/fizkes

A LinkedIn study found that 94% of employees want to work for a company that provides new learning opportunities. If you’re looking for ways to implement professional development opportunities for your employees, you might consider a rotational training program.

[Read more: How to Develop a Growth Path for Entry-Level Employees]

What is rotational training?

Rotational training is a development strategy where employees rotate through different departments and job functions. The goal is to help them increase their experience, knowledge and understanding of the company.

Companies often use rotational training for interns or recent college graduates. The programs usually have a recruitment window and preselected rotating work assignments.

Rotational training can be a great way to identify and develop leaders within your organization. It can also help break down silos between different departments.

[Read more: 5 Types of Employee Training Methods for Small Businesses]

Benefits of rotational training

Here are some of the most significant benefits of implementing a rotational training program:

  • Reduces employee turnover: Rotational training programs can reduce employee turnover. When you invest in your employees, they often become more invested in staying with the company for a long time.
  • Cross-training employees: You’re cross-training multiple employees to do the same jobs when you implement a rotational training program. That means that if someone does leave unexpectedly, you have other employees that are ready to step in and fill their position.
  • Helps employees determine their ideal work: One of the biggest benefits of trying out different types of jobs within the company is that it allows employees to see what kind of work they enjoy doing. Trying out different departments and various leadership styles could help your employees figure out the type of career they want to pursue.
  • Increases employee engagement: Employees often become bored and disengaged when they’re stuck in a role they don’t like. By switching up the job positions and tasks, employees often become more engaged and excited about their job.
[Read more: What Is Employee Training and Development?]

Rotational training can be a great way to identify and develop leaders within your organization.

5 steps to implement a rotational training program

If you’re interested in implementing a rotational training program, here are five best practices to consider:

  • Start with the end in mind: What is the goal of your rotational training program? Do you want to have employees that are cross-trained to perform various jobs, or are you trying to reduce employee turnover and prevent boredom at work? If you want your program to be successful, you need to start with the end in mind.
  • Come up with a plan: Once you know what the program's goal is, you need to create a plan for how to implement it. How many rotations will happen simultaneously? How will candidates be chosen, and how will each position build on the skills they learned in their previous rotation?
  • Communicate the program’s objectives: Make sure the employees who participate understand the program's objectives going into it. Employees should know what jobs they will be doing and for how long. Clear communication will help prevent disappointment and create a more positive experience for everyone involved.
  • Make it a mutually beneficial arrangement: For the program to work, it must be mutually beneficial to the employees and the company. Otherwise, it’ll be too much of a drain on company resources, and employees won’t be motivated to participate. You might consider offering additional compensation to employees that participate since they’ll be cross-trained to do different jobs.
  • Provide support to employees: As your employees move throughout different jobs, they should receive support every step of the way. It can help to assign that person a mentor who’s available to answer their questions and ensure that employee is learning the critical components of that position. It’s also a good idea to provide written documentation about different aspects of each job.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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