Creating a Job Rotation For Yourself

If you’re feeling stuck in your current job, maybe it is time to find another one ... within the same company.

Perhaps you’ve looked at your company’s internal job postings or know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone within the company who is hiring for a great job. Internal job postings and networking connections are great avenues to explore when considering a permanent move within your current organization.

Have you thought about creating a temporary move?

In the corporate world, sometimes it takes a mountain of paperwork to move a mountain. Getting a job requisition approved for a new or replacement position takes time, effort, and sometimes a bit of politicking ... to move just such a mountain. Managers are continuously asked to control labor costs, which equates to limiting their number of team members.

While employed within a large IT company, I had very similar challenges. Add to the challenging hiring climate, a constantly evolving organizational structure and ever increasing number of company acquisitions, and you have yourself a whole lot of variables to contend with when hiring an employee.

Many companies offer job rotation programs, especially for newly hired college graduates on a management tract. For the new hire, this type of program is a tremendous professional development opportunity. But, what if you’re already an employee?

One answer for our hiring challenges back in that IT company was to create an internal temporary job rotation program. Within this program, we worked with managers to identify resource needs based on a skill set missing within their current team, a skill set needed to support new or projected business, or a back fill need (for an existing team member that was out of the work environment for an extended period).

Our program was designed to help fill gaps in the workforce that were temporary in nature – generally lasting less than 6 months. Our program was also designed to allow existing employees an opportunity to “try on” a different job to see if they liked the work and responsibilities. This program was for high-performing employees and offered both professional development as well as internal networking opportunities.

If you have an internal job rotation program, you may want to check it out. If you are not happy in your current role—or even if you are—the benefits you receive from such a program can be career enhancing, if not career lasting.

But what if you don’t have anything like a job rotation program in your company?

You might be able to convince your HR team to consider creating one. Or, you might just want to create an opportunity for yourself. If the latter is your chosen avenue, below are some considerations for you to employ.

1. Identify what you want. Before you can communicate to others what you are looking for, YOU need to know what you are looking for. When I am coaching career-focused clients, I often ask them, “What are 5 things you MUST have in your next position?” Many times, the client is silent. (Oftentimes, we know what we don’t want in a job, but deciding on what we do want is challenging.) I ask my clients to spend some time determining their must-haves in their next job. This list then becomes an objective “measuring stick” they can use to determine if an opportunity is a fit for them.

2. Uncover a need. You may have heard the phrase, “find a need, fill a need.” Entrepreneurs employ this methodology when they are determining the viability of a business opportunity. When you find a need within your organization for a skill set you possess, you may have uncovered an opportunity. To discover a need, talk with managers within the company to learn about their resource challenges. Do they have the essential skills on the team to accomplish all their work requirements? Is a skill set missing? If so, what is it? Do they have new project opportunities coming their way that they need to support? Are they open to mentoring or sponsoring someone that may fit most or all of their need? Or, is someone on their team also looking for a rotational opportunity and could there be an opportunity to “trade” jobs for a rotational experience?

3. Develop a proposal. Once you have a need identified and it fits your skillset, fits within your development plan, and you have passion for the work, develop a proposal to create a job rotation. You will need to identify the work requirements, identify how you will fill the need to help the manager, team, customer, company, etc., and clarify how this rotational opportunity fits within your overall professional goals with the company. Yes, it is work to create such a document. When you blaze new trails, you have to lift a few rocks to get the job done.

4. Sell the proposal and gain a sponsor. Ensure that your current manager is supportive of your desire to take on this rotational opportunity. He or she may need to find a replacement for you while you participate in the rotation. If YOU can find your replacement for him or her, you stand a better chance of securing their support for the rotation. As you share your proposal with your manager and your would-be sponsor (the manager you will report to during the job rotation), be sure to clearly communicate how the rotation will benefit all parties.

5. Document your experience. We all know that when annual reviews come around, remembering all the accomplishments we gained throughout the year are a challenge. Taking the initiative and following through on a job rotation are huge accomplishments—they set you apart. You want to be certain you share all that you learned, how you contributed within the team, and the results you achieved. Getting written feedback from your sponsor is also a great opportunity to add “data” to your review.

Discovering new ways to learn and grow within your company increases your value to the company, enhances your overall work experience, and keeps you engaged in professional development. Stretching yourself through an internal temporary job rotation opportunity may be just the adventure you need.

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