5 Things You Need to Know Before You Accept an Offer for a Rotational Program

If there is one thing we’ve noticed in the job market lately, it’s that the desire to constantly learn and polish skill sets is at an all-time high. Whether this is due to education-hungry millennials, the need to keep up in a rapidly evolving job market, or just a naturally occurring development in an increasingly internet accessible world, many companies are looking for new ways to satisfy their employees’ desires to improve themselves.

rotational program

An effective and often successful approach to this idea has been found in job rotational programs. According to the Management Study Guide, such programs are a human resources (HR) strategy in which individual employees are moved from one position to another within the company on a rotational basis. This can be an exciting opportunity for employees, but it also presents its own unique challenges.

So what should you consider before you accept (or decline) your boss’s offer of a rotational program? Read on what you should keep in mind before you take the leap.

1. Boredom may very well become a thing of the past

Continuous training means a constant stream of new information to learn and absorb—which means no more dozing off while doing the same-old-same-old, day in and day out. Forbes found the type of people seeking these types of programs “are not interested in investing years of their life in ‘internship-like’ rotational programs. They expect a program where their skills will grow, and they will develop their understanding of that particular line of work. [They] see rotational programs as an opportunity to ‘try before you buy,’ or rather, ‘try before you commit.’ As a group, they are so used to the world changing rapidly, so they would rather not commit to a career track out of college that they have no experience with.” And rotational programs appear to be the perfect opportunity to do just that.

2. It can be a last-ditch effort before you quit

If you’re considering leaving your company because of unhappiness in your current role, a job rotational program may be just what you need. By trying out different positions while still enjoying the stability of your present company, you may discover there is something else there for you…just not what you had originally imagined. Learning new skills in a new role can make an old job feel fresh again.

3. You may be pulled from a role you really like

The flip side is, of course, that even if you find a position you thoroughly enjoy, chances are you’ll be pulled away from it in order to—you guessed it—rotate to a new position. Of course, if you really love—and prove to be very good at—a certain position, hopefully your boss will recognize this, and you can make that position your new permanent one. But brace yourself for the idea of having to wait a while to get there, as most programs want to rotate you all the way around at least once. This means that even if you believe you’ve found the fit, it may be months before you actually have the opportunity to stay there (which can feel frustrating if you were unhappy with your original position).

4. Prepare to learn a lot about yourself

Rotational programs have a funny way of forcing you to look at your own professional strengths and weaknesses…whether you want to or not. Sometimes employees’ confidence can take a blow when, after months or years of succeeding in (although not necessarily liking) a particular job, they try a new role and just don’t have the same consistent results. No matter what, remember to use your new experiences as a learning tool—even negatives can turn to positives if you learn from it.

5. It’s not an instant fix

While this type of program can go a long way toward improving overall employee morale, Patriot points out that if you’re fundamentally unhappy with your company—that is, with its culture, your supervisors, the day to day operations, etc.—a job rotational program isn’t necessarily going to make any of that better. These types of programs can really be an asset when an employee struggles to find the exact role in which he or she will truly thrive—they are not a way to completely avoid the reality of an employee who is unhappy with a particular company. So while you should definitely go into the program with an open mind if you choose to accept the offer, don’t expect everything to get better just by virtue of moving around.

There’s a lot to consider whether or not to accept the offer of a job rotational program. Ultimately, it simply comes down to a matter of professional personality: Some employees thrive on change, constant learning, and new opportunities and others enjoy carving out a niche for themselves and flourish in a specific setting over a long period of time. Regardless, keep in mind what makes you happy and excited to go to work every day. A rotational program is simply another option to consider in the ever-widening job market.

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