Virtual job rotations enrich jobs, enhance skills

The NAVAIR Rotational Assignment Program is just one of NAVAIR’s many training and career development programs. In today’s distributed working environment, virtual rotations help employees focus on their skills and career development in a position outside their normal job duties.

Job rotations are just one way NAVAIR provides employees the opportunity to develop their careers and learn new skills.

With many employees working remotely, job rotations have gone virtual.

Ralph Williams, an industrial engineering technician based out of Fleet Readiness Center East in Cherry Point, North Carolina, participated in a virtual job rotation with the Human Capital Management Dept., based out of Patuxent River, in October 2020.

“The experience has given me an insightful outlook on what goes on at the headquarters level and allowed me to connect with the passionate leaders behind the scenes,” Williams said.

During his rotation, he attended meetings, participated in classes and planning sessions, and offered user feedback on Human Capital strategies and programs for the Career Planning & Development, Personnel & Programs, Recruitment/Hiring, and Analytics divisions.

He said his favorite part of the rotation was being a part of each team and witnessing, firsthand, the passion for the services they provide.

“The exposure [to Senior Executive Service members] pushed me outside of my comfort zone to confidently express ideas on challenges they were facing and enjoy the interactions,” he said.

The Career Planning & Development Division interested Williams the most, because “it has the strongest influence on the culture of our workforce and the retention of outstanding employees,” he said.

Back at his day job in support of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Williams said he has discussed his knowledge of NAVAIR’s developmental programs with his co-workers and is working on a podcast to further promote Human Capital’s programs among the FRC East workforce. He also plans to share knowledge and ways to incorporate innovative technologies, such as Qlik Sense, across cross-functional teams.

“Working alongside the professionals in the rotation, I have adapted many tactful methods to promote creativity in collaborative efforts, respectfully disagree and maintain a psychologically safe environment for all,” he said.

Job rotations, which are temporary and vary in duration, help employees focus on their skills and career development in a position outside their normal job duties, explained Dr. James Ward, program manager of the NAVAIR Leader Development Continuum, part of the Career Planning and Development Division.

“In today’s challenges with COVID, some people might think that this is not a good time for developmental assignments and job rotations, as we cannot have the employee right next to us. Virtual rotations are an amazing way to allow employees to participate in a rotation while being remote,” he said. “It takes a lot of planning and communication, but if done well, it can be a powerful experience.”

Virtual rotations also give employees who work in different locations, such as Williams in Cherry Point, access to rotations in other areas such as Patuxent River that they might not normally be able to do, because of travel costs.

Some of the benefits of job rotations include:

• The ability to improve job performance through educational and learning opportunities

• Increased inter-organizational understanding

• Exposure and access to resources and a better understanding of NAVAIR’s mission and strategic initiatives

• The ability to temporarily staff for vacant positions

• Assistance on a special project, team or event