To cross-train employees in a variety of jobs, some trainers move a trainee from job to job. Each move normally is preceded by job instruction training. Besides giving workers variety in their jobs, cross-training helps the organization when vacations, absences, downsizing, or resignations occur. Reamer participation and high job transfer ability are the learning advantages of job rotation. Though rotation is most often' associated with hourly employees, it can be used for jobs on many levels within the organization. McDonnell Douglas Corporation is a major defense contractor that employs over 100,000 people. As a company, it is committed to being a learning organization that devotes an average of forty hours of training per year for each employee. To ensure the development of key employees, the company created a "High Potential" program as part of its management succession planning. The program sought to identify and develop employees who were assessed as having high potential. The centerpiece of the program is job rotation.
McDonnell's rotation program has three parts. The "Corporate Rotation" program attempts to develop top executives with a breadth of experience. The "Functional Rotation" program seeks to give people with a background in accounting, human resources, or other functions broad exposure within the function. The "Accompany Rotation" program targets those below middle management for two-year rotational assignments within the organization."
Each of.these programs seeks to give employees exposure to a variety of assignments. Among hourly employees, job rotation is an effective way to train workers and give management greater flexibility in making job assignments. Among managerial, technical, and professional employees, job rotation can provide a broader perspective, often developing these employees for potential career advancement.