Ensure a Smooth Job Transfer With Planning and Preparation

A yellow suitcase on a blue backdrop

A new job is exciting—and nerve wracking. An internal job transfer can be less stressful than starting at a new company, since the employee already knows the company culture and some coworkers. Even so, they might worry about mastering the new role and whether and for how long they may be called on for tasks related to their old role.

Managers can play a key role in helping employees prepare for internal transfers. Offering support, such as assistance in creating a training plan, can ease a transferring employee’s worries about new responsibilities and position them for continued success.

Before employees change roles

Employees considering an internal job transfer have an advantage over newcomers from outside the company: They can ask colleagues and those currently in the role about day-to-day routines and responsibilities. When you’re overseeing employees making lateral moves, you can help them take advantage of that insider view by introducing them to their new colleagues and asking the new managers for resources and training suggestions.

You can also help employees prepare, which can increase their confidence. Figure out which of their existing skills will complement their new role, and identify any gaps. Then, use the LMS to help the employee plan a learning path. Start early to give the transferring employee a head start on upskilling. This forethought can ensure a smoother transition, as transferring employees will feel less overwhelmed by new tasks and more ready to take on the new role.

During the transitional period

A transition plan is essential. If a new hire or another internal transfer will fill the vacated role, include that employee in your preparations and create a training plan for them, too. If the transferring employee’s former role hasn’t yet been filled, be sure to plan coverage for key tasks.

The transition calendar might be structured to allow the employee to finish critical assignments and create instructions for ongoing tasks, a schedule of meetings and other vital information. During the transitional period, the manager for the vacated role may have to arrange for other employees to cover some responsibilities. Otherwise, the transferring employee may essentially be expected to fill two roles at once, with constant requests for help from former colleagues. Planning ahead can avoid this stress and ease transition-related anxieties on all sides.

Off to a great start

Once the employee has transitioned to the new role, the focus shifts to learning new tasks—which likely means upskilling or refresher training for key role-related responsibilities. The employee’s new manager should provide guidance and help the employee schedule training in the LMS that supports job priorities and ensures a sustainable rate of progress.

It might take a while for colleagues to adjust to the change in the workplace. It’s common for employees who have made internal transfers to get questions and requests related to their old role for a while, as news of the change filters out to people on other teams and to clients. A thorough transition plan should anticipate these questions and allay anxiety by identifying the correct person to take over each type of request.

To further smooth the transition, managers should identify colleagues to help the employee field questions related to new duties. This support helps maintain productivity, promotes collaboration and reduces stress during the adjustment period.

Preparation for internal job transfers can improve the experience for all affected employees. Most importantly, it alleviates the transferring employee’s worries about being unprepared or facing the demands of two roles at once, freeing them to focus on succeeding in their new role.