Internal job transfers can open the door to a new career path, give you the opportunity to learn new skills and processes or put some distance between you and a co-worker you just can't stand to work with. Transferring to another department within the same company preserves your seniority with the organization and might even prepare you for a future leadership role based on your knowledge of various business functions.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Good reasons for requesting a job transfer range from career advancement and learning new skills to resolving conflict in your current department.
Acquire New Skills
If there's little opportunity for training and development in your current department or your present job, an internal job transfer could satisfy your need to learn more about your employer's business and the products and services it offers. An internal job transfer also gives you a chance to acquire a new skill set or proficiency that you would not have otherwise had in your current role. Even if the transfer is a lateral one, moving from one department to another exposes you to opportunities to interact with colleagues who can demonstrate processes and skills that are new to you.
Advancement to a Higher-level Position
In some cases, a lateral move can prepare you for higher-level positions within the organization. For example, the general manager for most companies has to be familiar with all the business operations – not just one or two departments. Moving around the company in different roles and positions enables you to become acquainted with every area of the business. Because every department plays a part in an organization's success, understanding interdepartmental relationships is essential, and an internal job transfer can enable that.
Exploring Career Options
A short-term internal job transfer gives you a chance to see if you'd like to make a career move into another specialty. For instance, many companies combine finance and human resources operations. If you're currently with a company that separates the two functions and you'd like to explore whether the human resources field appeals to you, a short-term transfer, as in job shadowing, could help you determine the direction of your career. In this case, the job-shadowing experience pairs you with a human resources practitioner who engages you in projects to expand your knowledge and expertise within certain HR disciplines.
Resolving Workplace Conflict
Some internal job transfers are, regrettably, requested to resolve workplace conflict or issues between colleagues that make working together impossible. Employee relations specialists who investigate employee complaints sometimes consider an internal transfer a viable solution for resolving workplace problems. At the request of the employee who complains of conflict or upon the employee relations specialist's own discretion, the company might transfer either party involved in the conflict to limit the possibility of future interaction between the two. Generally, the question of who transfers is resolved amicably; if the parties cannot agree, the employee relations specialist will decide what is in the best interest of the company and everyone involved.
One of the best reasons to request an internal job transfer is to improve your job security. If you become aware that one department within your company is downsizing, yet openings exist in another department, an internal job transfer can save you from being in a position that might eventually be eliminated.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she earned both the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), through the Society for Human Resource Management, and certification as athe Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resources Certification Institute. Ruth also is certified as a facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.