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Job Rotations for Staff Development

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As part of our leadership development program we ensure delegates are given a chance to work in many different areas of the business. Each rotation is project based and has agreed learning objectives.
I believe it would also be useful for delegates to work in a completely different work environment and for them to experience many different cultures and ways of doing business. Has anyone any experience of sending staff outside of their employing company for work experience and if so did it work? Is there an organisation that specialises in arranging these 'job swaps'?
Simon Ralton

4 Responses

  1. It worked for me!
    Some years ago, as part of my development programme, I spent two months on secondment to one of my then employers business partners.

    I already knew something about them as the company were trading with them regularly, but it gave me a wider view of their operations.

    I’d certainly recommend this – consider talking to your key suppliers or customers.

    Kind regards,

    Colin Hamilton
    [email protected]

  2. The voluntary Sector could povide the answer
    Hi Simon
    There are already many large and small companies taking advantage of the oppotunity to help staff experience all the things you are looking for, and more. Probably the best known route is through Business in the Community. This organisation can match your objectives with a voluntary group who has a specific need. Your worker(s) get to work on a challenging project that can be of real benefit to someone else and the voluntary group gets a fresh eye, a dedicated amount of time and a marketing opportunity. A win/win for all. I have been involved in many projects with large companies like Marks and Spencer, IBM, and DHL and smaller local companies including solicitors, printers and call centres. If you want to know more give me a call.
    Liz McConnell
    020 8399 9312

  3. Yes, yes, yes!
    Simon –

    It worked for me, too. And not just going to different business areas/locations in the company, but exploring areas that did not initially seem related to my work like partner dance (great metaphor for leading and following) and acting (great for communication and presentation skills). These activities opened up creative parts of me that had lain dormant and added a lot to the work I did for my employers. Many forward-looking UK companies are starting to explore some of these “softer” skills and enjoying huge payback…I now make this part of my own leadership development offering.

    How does it work? Well for instance, people who understand different cultures are able to tap into hitherto untapped markets which they might otherwise have overlooked, and who doesn’t need new sources of customers these days?

    Good luck with it – I can offer you some organisations who do good work in this area if that’s of use.

  4. We do something along those lines…
    … on our Management programme, whereby the delegates “benchmark” the performance of their business area against outside companies that work in similar ways (eg call centres).

    It allows them to compare and contrast ways of working and adds valuable benefits – many have implemented different working practices as a result.

    This practice stops short of them actually going out and working in the other companies – I’m guessing that they are more junior than your audience, so that wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate.

    It is, however, a cheaper and more straightforward way of broadening their horizons.

    We also use Operation Raleigh exercises at a more senior level.

    Hope this helps!

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