moving between departments – how to get it right

Employees sometimes reach a stage where they feel that their current role offers very little or no scope for further learning and growth. It could either be a case of stagnancy or evolving personal interests. According to a survey, eight out of 10 employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. For instance, you might like everything about your company but what if your current role doesn’t meet your aspirations? You may be torn between quitting or risking disengagement by continuing in the current role.  Luckily, there’s a third option. An intriguing work opportunity in another department could mean a new career opportunity for you, if you can execute a well-planned lateral move. 

An internal shift gives you an opportunity to advance your knowledge and skills with much lesser effort as compared to an external job change. This could also work well in case you think you are not fully ready for a complete job makeover. 
 
If you are looking to make a inter-departmental shift in your company, here are a few ways to get it right.  

Check for an internal opportunity

Employers understand the importance of employee experience and are eager to support their learning curve. Mid or large-sized companies often have a designated online portal where employees can look for job opportunities within the organization. For instance, Infosys has an internal job portal ‘compass’ where employees can seek opportunities for jobs, training and networking. So the first thing to do is check job postings on your company portal and see what fits your bill the best. If you do not have such an online platform set up by your company, then you will have to rely more on the information from your office network or meetings with HR. 

Analyze the demands of your new role

You must know what you are getting yourself into when you apply for an internal transfer.  Try to find out as much as you can about the department and the role you are applying for. The advantage of making an internal job shift is that you can easily conduct primary research on the new job. Try and meet people from the department and figure out what the day-to-day workings of the position entail. According to a study conducted on creating positive meaning and identity at work, people who design their job roles based on what inspires them, experience higher engagement at their workplace.  Your research should give you a fair idea of whether the new role matches your expectations and also prepare you for the application process. 

Broach the subject with your boss

According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study, 48% employees consider communication between employees and senior management a very important factor of job satisfaction. You must inform your manager of your intentions as your lateral move would cost him/her a team member. However, the stage at which you involve your manager in the decision, depends on your relationship with him/her. When you break this news is as important as how you break it. If your manager is more like your mentor, then it is better to disclose it soon after you have made up your mind. In this case, you might even receive some guidance and a recommendation. In other circumstances, you might need a thorough preparation before you disclose the news. Make sure that you are very clear about the reason why you want to make the shift. 

In essence, it is best to opt for a lateral shift if you want to continue to learn and grow at a time when a vertical or external move is not a viable option. It’s a solution that both organizations and employees can use to their advantage. All you need is the ability to spot new opportunities and be well prepared for them when the time comes. 
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