In the working world, most of us know what to expect when accepting a promotion within the same department. But what are the nuances of transitioning into a different department within the same company?
I learned many of the answers first-hand. After 11 years of intense public relations work in my company’s corporate communications office, I transferred last year into our marketing department. I spent several months planning the move, which I requested to round out my work experience. Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned about making an intra-company move:
Keep your outgoing supervisor informed – As a matter of courtesy, your supervisor should hear of any job change from you, not from human resources or someone else. At our initial meeting, I laid out my ideas for a new role and immediately offered to help hire and train my replacement before leaving. We also set a specific date for the official change.
- Tell your employees as soon as possible – Your employees should hear about this change from you, not from someone else. Be prepared to reassure them about life after you’re gone.
- Establish clear expectations with your new supervisor – Prior to my transition, I met with my new supervisor to review my new job description and specific objectives for me to achieve during my first year. By the official transfer date, my new supervisor and I had the same expectations about my new role.
- Communicate to others within the company – It surprised me how many colleagues wanted to know details of my transition, including why I was moving and the nature of my new duties. Use their curiosity to inform them about your new role.
- Communicate externally – Tell your clients, vendors and any third parties who might be affected by your leaving about the change. They’ll appreciate a courtesy “heads up.’
- Assist former coworkers with the transition – Don’t forget about the coworkers you leave behind, particularly if they will be asked to assume some or all of your duties once you move. Offer to show them any tips you picked up.
- Help your replacement. You don’t want to be a ghost, constantly drifting in and out of your old department and boasting about how you used to do things. Instead, avail yourself to your replacement as he/she needs you and strive to help them succeed.
- Prepare yourself mentally –Expect to be a little anxious. Alexis de Tocqueville said “To change is to be vulnerable – and to be vulnerable is to be alive!”
- Hit the ground running – Demonstrate to new coworkers that you’re a willing and friendly co-worker.
- Have fun. Life is short, so enjoy it.
Now you’re ready for that big move.