How to request an internal transfer without causing problems


Johnny C. Taylor Jr.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your HR questions in a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest professional human resource society and author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”

Questions are submitted by readers and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.

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Question: I would like to be transferred to another position within my company, but I am afraid that this will affect my position in my current group, especially if I apply and do not get the position. How should I approach the situation with my manager and HR? –Doris

Answer: Requesting an internal transfer can be a tricky process for employees, especially when it comes to managing relationships with your current group and manager.

If you haven’t already, start by reviewing your company’s internal transfer policy and process. See if you meet the eligibility requirements for a transfer under your employer’s policy and check the job posting to see if you have the skills and qualifications required for the position. Identify the forms you need to complete to request a transfer.

Transparency is a good thing and preferable to your manager’s blindness. It would be better if the news came directly from you, allowing more control over messaging. So first have a frank discussion with your manager and state your intention to apply for an internal position. It is essential to clarify the reasons for a transfer, such as a need for career development, a difference in job duties or a career change. State that the action taken does not reflect the relationship between you, your manager, or your group. Once you’ve discussed the situation with your manager, talk to your human resources team to begin the internal transfer process.

Additionally, I would consider not disclosing your intention to transfer to your colleagues until your move is confirmed. This will help minimize the impact on your group, especially if you are not selected. However, if you are selected, offer to train your replacement and support your team during the transition.

Implementing these steps will make the process much less difficult. Good luck to you!

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Policy:Is it OK to display your political affiliation at work? Ask HR

Once I was reprimanded for coming to work late on election day because there were longer waiting times at my polling station. I fear it will happen again. Should employees be allowed time off to vote or special consideration if there are local delays?– Ann

This is a timely question, as the national midterm elections are approaching. I appreciate your commitment to fulfilling your civic duty. Employees should have the time allowed by law to exercise their right to vote.

Although not mandated by federal law, most states and localities have ordinances allowing employees time off to vote, particularly when an employee’s hours of work do not allow sufficient time for vote when the polls are open. National and local laws determine the number of hours allowed and whether or not these are paid. Some regulations even allow employers to specify when employees should take time off, such as at the start or end of the working day.

Laws also differ from state to state regarding what actions managers can take in response to an employee absenting themselves to vote. Most states prohibit employers from disciplining or firing an employee. However, in states where paid time off is permitted, a manager may have the ability to request proof of an employee’s vote.

There are steps you can take now in anticipation of local delays. Review your company’s voting policy and speak early with your upcoming election manager if you need time off work to vote. So, know the polling hours in your state on Election Day to determine the best time to take time off work. Voting is even easier these days as states have expanded mail-in voting and early in-person voting options.

I’ll add this: communication is key to making sure you know your rights and company policy. It also helps your employer understand your needs and set reasonable expectations about your availability on Election Day. Despite what happened last year, voting is a right, a privilege and a responsibility of citizenship. I hope you will choose the best voting option for you.


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