Internal transfers are not a new phenomenon. Employees rotating to a different team within the organization happens often; however, it’s not always easy for managers to tell whether or not it’s the right move.
When approached by employees requesting to make an internal transfer consider the following:
Consider their effort.
Is this employee someone who grinds it out, has a positive attitude and gives it their all, but the role they’re in just isn’t clicking? If so, then it may make sense to consider the transfer. If the employee is coming to HR after just a few weeks with the company, he probably hasn’t given it a chance and could just be complaining. Few people are good at something new after a few weeks. In this instance, talk to him about training resources that could help him learn more quickly.
Dig in on why.
Sometimes the reason employees want to transfer is an issue that can be resolved. When first approached by the employee, take time to understand the real reason she wants to move. Is it an issue with a manager? Has she communicated it to them? Make sure it’s a legitimate reason and not because she thinks the other team has an easier workload. Oftentimes with fun company cultures, employees want to stay but don’t want to work hard for the culture. Transfer for this reason and it will inevitably fail.
Ask their peers.
Ask teammates individually how they feel about the person. These conversations can shed light on the employee's personality and work ethic. Is he a complainer, or does he roll up his sleeves and grind it out with the team? Would she be a culture giver and bring the right energy and attitude to the new team, or would she be the opposite, a culture taker?
If a transfer makes sense after considering the above, the employee should run through the same, or similar, interview process he went through when first hired.
HR needs to also evaluate the employee's skills, strengths and weaknesses. The person may want to move from analytics to creative, but lack attention to detail, and a creative eye. The role the employee wants may not be right.
Talk to the managers.
While the current manager should be looped in, HR should also have a conversation with the manager the employee is interested in working for. There may not be a need or open spot on the team, or that manager may not think the employee would add value to the team, so it could be a moot point. Before moving forward with anything, HR should gauge where the manager stands and get his or her buy-in.
Consider interview preparedness.
Managers can determine a lot from how the employee prepares and presents himself during the interview. The most successful internal transfers don’t take anything for granted. They come prepared with how they’ve added value to the company so far, why they want the transfer, can explain why they are qualified and how they can add value to the team. They ask about how to prepare and what is expected of them for the interview. They ask if they should wear a suit, or if regular work attire is appropriate. They come with good questions and have done their research on the team and the manager they are interviewing with.
If they don’t treat this interview as if it it’s their first, they’re not taking it seriously, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time. They need to be just as competitive as the external candidates applying for the role. They should never act as if they have a leg up in the race.
Ask the same questions as external candidates.
Managers shouldn’t play favorites. The employee will mimic the interviewer’s style so treat it as if it was one with an external candidate. Ask questions like, why do you think you’d be good at this role? Why do you want to work here? What differentiates you from everyone else applying? How will you add value to the team and the company? Given that the employees has had inside access with the company, it will be great to see how her answers stack up against external candidates.
If the employee does have a great interview and seem like she would be a great fit, talk to the existing team and get their buy-in before announcing the move. If after interviewing the person you find that she may be better for a different group, suggest that instead and explain why and how it will benefit her career.