Rotating shifts means an employer moves employees among different work hours and environments, as opposed to having them maintain a consistent schedule. This approach is common in manufacturing and labor sectors, and in other arenas where an employer doesn't need a steady customer-facing person in a given role.
A major benefit to an employer of rotating shifts is the ability to spread employee talent across multiple shifts and roles, according to workforce solutions provider Circadian. In some organizations, tasks are performed at different times during the day and week. Rotating a construction worker, for instance, may allow an employer to leverage someone with certifications or expertise in various elements of project completion, ensuring that everyone has access to his particular skillset over the course of the project.
Shift rotations also allow a company to improve cohesiveness and teamwork in a couple of ways. First, assignments like the overnight shift in a manufacturing facility often are unpopular. Therefore, it can create a divide in the workforce to have one set of employees consistently work this undesirable time frame. Rotating workers allows each employee to take a turn in the less-desirable role, while also benefiting from several shifts in the preferred time slots. Another way rotations help the work culture is that employees get to interact with many more workers by moving about shifts. This expands their informal network and peer group.
With shift rotations, workers get a much broader perspective on the processes and activities that contribute to a company's operations. They also gain more appreciation for the work performed by coworkers.
In some businesses, even retail, managers move employees to different shifts to ensure adequate training time. Companies also may want workers to benefit from interacting with multiple managers who cover varying shifts throughout the day. By working at different times, employees can interact with a broad mix of suppliers, associates, customers and partners of a business as well, enabling them to take on more expansive roles within the company.