Good Reasons to Request an Internal Job Transfer

by Ruth Mayhew - Updated June 28, 2018
Business woman in a job interview at an office

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.

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.

Career Advancement

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.

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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.

Conflict Resolution

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 the harasser or the employee who complained to limit the possibility of interaction between the two. If an employee who complains about harassment requests the transfer, it's easier to justify that the transfer accommodates the person being harassed. If the employee relations specialist arbitrarily decides who should move to another department, it could raise questions about whether the employee relations specialist acted in the best interest of the company.

Job Security

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.

About the Author

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. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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