The business world is complex, especially when we are dealing with an organization that has a large number of members.

One of the most relevant aspects to take into account is the selection and management of personnel, in which both the needs of the company and those of the potential employees must be taken into account, trying to cover and maintain both. Also phenomena like the rotation of personnel must be taken into account, which we are going to discover throughout this article.

What is staff rotation?

Staff rotation is the process by which a company changes or replaces its employees, generating outgoing or incoming movements of one or multiple employees not due to natural processes such as retirement. It is generally linked to processes of dismissal or resignation by employees, although sometimes it can include the change of functions and position without the employee in question ceasing his relationship with the organisation .

Staff turnover is a process that can have very different effects on both the company and the employee, whether incoming or outgoing. Generally and especially when there is a high level of turnover it has negative connotations, but occasionally it can be beneficial to one or all parties.

On the one hand, the entry and exit of employees allows for the incorporation of new talent, ideas and points of view that can benefit the company , as well as improving the working conditions of the outgoing employee or for him/her to acquire new experience in another position or company.

It also allows employees who are not very productive or who do not fit into the position they occupy to be replaced, or complex or excessively demanding positions to be revalued or their functions and workload changed. In addition, it allows the company to rejuvenate itself.

On the other hand, can be a highly destructive element for the work teams already formed , it can imply job destruction and economic and social difficulties for the outgoing employee or print in society a negative image of the company (do they abandon it because their working conditions are bad?) and/or of the outgoing employee (are they not qualified for the position?). It also implies investment in training and the need for an adaptation period for those who occupy the positions.

Different types of rotation

Staff turnover involves the dismissal, replacement or exchange of employees , but it does not always occur in the same way and for the same reasons. In this sense, we can find different types of personnel rotation, among which we have wanted to highlight four.

1. Voluntary rotation

Voluntary rotation is understood as any situation of personnel rotation that is sought or carried out voluntarily by the employee. In other words, is a resignation from the position , either because the subject decides that the position does not compensate him/her (for example, there is not a good work climate or the company does not satisfy or value his/her work) or because he/she has found a job offer that more closely matches his/her expectations.

2. Involuntary rotation

We can consider involuntary rotation as that in which the company decides to dispense with the services of an employee, regardless of the employee’s will. In other words, is a dismissal or a change of position , either because the employee does not meet the characteristics desired by the company (is inefficient or productive or is conflictive, for example) or because the company decides to reduce staff regardless of the capabilities and characteristics of the employee.

3. External rotation

External rotation is what has traditionally been considered staff rotation. It includes any rotation in which an employee leaves or enters the company, resulting in a separation between the company and the employee or an integration of a new employee with the company. It can be voluntary or involuntary.

4. Internal rotation

Another type of rotation is internal, in which in reality there is no separation between company and employees : there are no dismissals or resignations, but rather one employee leaves a post to take up another. This may be a temporary or permanent change, or a measure to prevent physical or mental risks.

Some of its main causes

Staff rotation is a phenomenon that can have harmful effects on one or all those affected, and analysing why it occurs can be relevant to prevent such a situation or to plan and agree in advance on working conditions , positions or action plans.

In this sense, when we talk about a voluntary rotation, some of the main causes invoked by outgoing employees are the appearance of a much more attractive offer, followed by a bad work climate in which personal relationships are averse (either between colleagues or between bosses and employees).

Another common reason is the presence of management problems on the part of the company that include a poor definition of objectives, unclear and ambiguous roles or the issuing of contradictory orders or tasks. The lack of development opportunities or the lack of remuneration according to their functions are other common reasons. Also the incompatibility between personal values and those of the organization, or with the practices carried out in the organization.

Also, lack of consideration for the employee, excess and overload of tasks or work or lack of interest and supervision of their activities are other common reasons.

With regard to involuntary rotation, it is often argued that the employee is not productive , that his characteristics are incompatible with the climate and objectives of the company , that he lacks the skills or profile required for the job (which in turn may reveal poor recruitment) or that the company needs or wishes to reduce its staff.

The Staff Turnover Rate

Bearing in mind that staff rotation has a series of implications and possible consequences that we have already discussed, it is very important to control the degree of staff rotation that takes place in the company. This fact can be measured in many ways, among which we can highlight the Staff Turnover Index .

We can consider this index to be the relationship existing over a certain period of time (generally one year) between hiring and firing in relation to the average number of staff in the company.

Since this is a percentage, we must calculate the average hiring and firing and multiply it by one hundred and then divide it with the average number of employees between the beginning and end of the period under study.

Another much simpler way is to divide the difference between hiring and firing by the number of final workers and then multiply it by one hundred.

Interpreting this formula can be complex, but it should be borne in mind that the fact that it is extremely high or low could be negative, since in certain cases it indicates a lack of capacity to retain employees or to recruit suitable staff, or a perpetual immobility in the positions. Average or medium-low values are usually the most favourable, as they tell us about a company with a certain mobility but which is able to maintain efficient and satisfied employees.

Bibliographic references

  • Castillo Aponte, J. (2006). Personnel management: a focus on quality. ECOE Ediciones.