Out of the comfort zone

After a week as an executive and a team leader Annette Grabbe and Marie to Baben drew a clear conclusion:
job rotation benefits everyone.

Three colleagues exchange their experiences through job rotation at innogy. From swapping work place and role benefits everyone.

Annette Grabbe is back at her own desk. Before, the commercial manager in grid services and innogy Telnet swapped work place and role by reason of an internal job rotation. During the holidays of Joachim Schneider, Chief Technology and Operations Officer in the Grid & Infrastructure, she moved into his office and took responsibility for his tasks. In return Marie to Baben, advisor for grid development led Annette's commercial team during that time.

"I was impressed by this vote of confidence"

Annette Grabbe in front of an innogy lettering: By reason of an internal job rotation the commercial manager took on the work of the Chief Technology and Operations Officer in the Grid & Infrastructure.

After exchanging their positions for two weeks both are convinced: "Everyone benefits from this." Including Joachim Schneider who "left his mobile phone in the safe during his holidays," Annette Grabbe says. "I was very impressed by this vote of confidence, but also a little intimidated," she admits. She left her comfort zone, because she had not only to work at Mr Schneider's desk. "I had great respect for the task of making decisions that he would agree with. However, she quickly lost her inhibitions. "Divisional Board members have their fixed routines, templates and decision-making processes as well."

"I went home with a smile on my face every night"

Marie to Baben in front of an innogy lettering: the advisor for grid development took on the role as a team leader for one week.

Marie to Baben experienced similar situations. As a temporary team leader she was responsible for 13 employees. "During the first team meeting I was still quite anxious about how the team will react. But then everyone was very open and it felt great when a few times colleagues approached me and asked for my opinion", she says. "I found out that active listening is indeed one of the main tasks of managers. Passing the topics quickly to the right person despite a busy schedule was a challenge.” The most positive experience after the week was: "Every night I came home with plenty of new impressions and a smile on my face."

Learning through feedback and shadowing

Beside lots of positive experiences, Annette Grabbe and Marie to Baben found also room for improvement, for example in planning internal meetings more efficiently. The two women have already exchanged their ideas. And there is more to come: "I will accompany Annette for a few days," says Marie to Baben. She hopes that this "shadowing" process will lead to her gaining an even better understanding of the decisions her colleague makes.

Opportunity to change perspectives

Furthermore, their job rotation produced more positive results: "We were approached so many times by our colleagues and many of them want to do something similar themselves some time," says Marie to Baben. Actually, the concept of job rotation would open a wide range of possibilities, for example changing career levels and divisions like Marie to Baben and Annette Grabbe did. Another opportunity would be to support the exchange of whole teams as well as topics like internationality and diversity.

"The change of perspective enrich us on a technical and personal level and with the feedback from the colleagues who take over our jobs temporarily, we also get an opportunity to reconsider our own behavior," Annette Grabbe says. She and Joachim Schneider have already announced that they will provide their desks to other people in the future.

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