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Why Do Companies have Rotation Programs?

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The other day, a friend from work invited me over for dinner. Among the guests was his friend from Israel who was visiting for the weekend. During our small talk, he inquired about my work profile. My answer was my usual reply, “I’m a Rotation Engineer working on my second rotation.” Since the term Rotation Engineer itself is ambiguous for most people, I elaborated further, “The Rotation Engineer Program(REP) is a program at Intel for college graduates (CGs) that allows us to explore and work in different areas of the company within a year. After a year we look for final placement depending on our area of interest.”

I wasn’t surprised with his next question, “How is this any good for Intel?” In the past, it used to upset me but I’ve learned over time that it is more about educating people than holding them responsible for not knowing about something that I strongly believe in. Hence, I started talking about the importance of rotation programs, such as the REP, HR Pathways and the Accelerated Leadership Program, and how competitive it was to get into one.

Rotations programs exist at many companies because organizations perceive, as well as candidates and participants do, that by understanding and experiencing different groups’ dynamics, members of rotation programs become better team members and business partners. It facilitates rapid professional growth by building strong networks and developing cross functional communications skills, both critical to excel and succeed. Bringing a new person into an organization is a big deal. Hiring is a lengthy and expensive process. Therefore, managers try to find a candidate that promises loyalty and results in order to get ROI.

As CGs, sometimes we don’t really know what kind of job we are really signing up for. So it is not unusual that after sometime, discontentment and frustration gets to us. Especially when we don’t understand the value of work we are doing or how it contributes towards the bigger picture or meeting the organization goals. That’s where inside knowledge and understanding of various organizational entities/processes becomes handy.

Understanding these needs is not an easy task. As CGs, we all begin our journey with enthusiasm and zeal to excel and are aware of our talents and passions. It is with time that we learn whether the work that we had signed up for really does empower and broaden our enthusiasm and zeal. If not, then we always have an option of waiting and moving into our next rotation to test new waters. In another situation, a person may end up leaving the company, taking the time, training and resources invested in them, with them!

If you are like me, you need to feel that your work is valued and needed. Rotation Programs allow you to look at the company as a whole and understand things from different angles and perspectives. At the end of each rotation, there is the opportunity to stop, think and observe. It allows you to redefine, analyze and strategically think about the future. Moving between groups, I discovered my likes and dislikes so that I can try to end up in a placement which would help me grow on both a personal and professional level! There is no guarantee that my final choice would be an absolute win situation for myself however, as an RE, I’ve learned to look at the complete picture, the company as whole and understand that it is my responsibility to try and bring new elements to the job that would fulfill my zeal and enthusiasm.

Programs like this also help companies retain employees for longer. We end up working on things we know we are good at (our talents) and like (our passions), therefore we perform better and bring more to the organization. When a manager has a new hire, he/she needs to spend time trying to help them understand company’s culture. Wouldn’t it be great for a company to have a person who understands where he belongs and more importantly, why he belongs there? It’s like having a new born and skipping the bad nights. The REP gives us amazing insights of company dynamics and company needs; it opens our eyes into all the things we can accomplish inside while constantly enhancing and making a stronger network that will help us achieve our professional goals.

Sharing all this information with my friend’s friend, I forgot to give him a chance to comment until I had finished myself. What I didn’t know was that he himself was my friend’s ex-manager; a really knowledgeable person in the Intel family and currently at Intel Israel. It was amazing how just talking about the program had helped me expand my network at Intel! He sounded convinced about the value of rotational programs towards the end of our conversation and excited about the idea of having REs in his organization. Who knows, I might be able to help a friend in the future looking for opportunities in Israel—or it might even be me!