So you’re wondering whether transferring to another department is the right thing for your career?The short answer is yes. The long answer includes three questions to determine whether your CURRENT organisation is the right place for a job switch.
But first, let’s start with the basics of why you might consider a move to a different department, which essentially boils down to this:
ARE YOU AMBITIOUS FOR THE TOP JOBS?
I’ve worked with 100s of women. The ones who make it to the top are those who get a wider range of experience in that company. The longer you are with a company, but working across different siloes - you get a better understanding of how the company works as a whole. You’ve seen it through ups and downs and you understand both the external market and internal politics far better than anyone joining the company from outside. This is vital as it’s expensive and time-consuming to onboard people, and half the time they don’t work out, something you might want to point out in your friendly way :)
YOU on the other hand, already know your way around and a wide range of contacts and advocates if you’ve worked across an organisation - you’re simply more memorable and have more allies. If you’re ambitious you don’t want to get stuck as being known as ‘Jane in accounts’.
So that brings me to whether or not your CURRENT EMPLOYER is the right place to look for internal transfers? That boils down to 3 questions to ask yourself on whether the company is a keeper, (even if the department isn’t.
1. Is the company a good long term employer with great benefits?
This is one of the main reasons to stay, but move to a different department. If you can’t answer yes, you’re better off moving to a different organisation completely rather than simply transferring to a different team. However, companies push to improve ‘employee engagement’ companies are wising up to how much people value generous parenting leave, flexible working, good pension contributions, holiday leave, tuition reimbursements and other factors. If they’ve got all of that and you still want a change, then a move to a different department would be better than a move outside the company.
2. Are you optimistic about the company’s future and its purpose?
You’ve probably had enough pep talks to get a sense of where the bus is headed. Is the company, and more specifically, the team you’d like to join growing? As importantly, do you like where that bus is headed? If so, stay in the company - but switch to a different department when you want a new challenge.
3. Can I get Profit and Loss responsibility?
Okay, so fiscal responsibility may not sound as sexy as it could be, but having experience with profit and loss responsibilities is vital for people who want to get ahead. The most common objection I hear about C-suite or Board appointments is of the candidate’s lack of Profit and Loss experience. They want someone who can tell their ‘Cash Flow’ from their’ Balance Sheet’. This particularly affects women. Women are less likely to be in those roles or seek them out. But if you’re ambitious, as we’ve already seen you are - then having a grasp of Profit and Loss is something you’ll need to develop on your way to the top. So get into a role in a department where you’ll get these skills.
Now let's increase your promotion opportunities...
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Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data