Department Transfers for Business Coaching and Development
If Footballers Can be Loaned, Why Not Workers?
In football, a player who is not in the immediate requirements of the manager to play in the team can be loaned to another. This is primarily done with young, inexperienced players to not only help develop their skills by playing regularly, but also to provide them with experience of the pressure that comes with playing in front of a crowd of people and possibly even television cameras. As there is no substitute for actually playing for real, it is felt that this will be far more beneficial for their development than always sat on the bench watching other players.
Although often not thought of, the same tactic can also be utilised in a business environment too and form part of a business coaching and personal development programme. Instead of having a young or inexperienced worker doing the same job every day, it may be possible for them to temporarily move to another department or work for a manager who currently has more time available to devote to helping the employee develop their skills.
Discuss it With the Employee First
It is important to ensure that the worker has been informed and agrees to this movement, preferably discussing it with them during one or more business coaching meetings, otherwise they may wonder why they are being moved; even thinking that they have done something wrong or that their current manager is trying to get rid of them. Moving someone against their will, into an area where they definitely do not want to go, can end up creating a whole lot of trouble.
Developing New Skills
Numerous skills can be developed in this new environment. For a start, it may improve their interpersonal and communication skills if they are forced to talk and engage with a new set of people, rather than just talking to their existing colleagues. A manager who has more time to spend with the employee can impart their managerial knowledge and experience, as well as letting the employee shadow and observe what they do and how they act. This can be a perfect complement to any formal management training courses or programmes that the person attends. Also, the employee may learn new skills and methods of working from a new set of people that they would otherwise not do by sitting with the same people day after day.
Taking the Lead in Transfers
An Employee Can Learn New Skills in a Different Department
As we have seen, certain employees - particularly those who are young and/or inexperienced - can be temporarily moved to a different department within an organisation. This allows them to acquire new skills and develop themselves in areas which they may otherwise not have done had they been stuck doing the same job with the same people for the foreseeable future.
For example a person who is regarded with the potential to one day be a department head and needs to improve their knowledge of certain financial matters such as budgeting for their department may spend some time with the company's main finance/accounts team to learn about this particular area of expertise.
These temporary transfers can play a key part in an individual's business coaching programme and their overall personal development.
A Manager Needs to Continue Monitoring The Employee's Development
It is important for a manager to remember that when they send one of their employees to a different department that they are still in overall control of that person's development and it is up to them to instruct the management of the other department in how and what they wish the individual to do and what they want them to get out of the transfer. At the end of the day they will be temporarily losing a member of their team and if they are not going to be doing anything productive that is of benefit to them then the manager may as well have them back in order to assist with their own particular targets. They cannot simply send the person to a different department and forget about them or leave it up to the other manager to find them something to do, as otherwise they may not acquire the skills that were hoped for.
The original manager needs to take the lead and agree specific objectives and targets with their colleague who will be taking responsibility for the worker whilst they are transferred across.
Set Time Limits for Transfers
Why Set a Time Limit for a Temporary Transfer?
Temporarily transferring a worker to a different department or area of the organisation can allow them to acquire new skills, assist with their development and complement a business coaching programme. Not only is it important that their original manager takes the lead in shaping the direction and objectives that their new tasks will be geared towards, but it will also be extremely beneficial for a time limit to be discussed and set before the transfer takes place.
This is so that the two parties have a clear notion of how long they have together, which should focus their attention onto achieving the goals and objectives by this end date. If a deadline/end date is not set, they may procrastinate and spend a lot of time not working towards the requirements.
Setting a Time Limit Can Cause Problems
Time limits can also have their disadvantages. The employee may finish and learn what they need to know before this date and the employee then spends the rest of the time not doing very much when they could return to their original department and get on (or catch up!) with their work there. Alternatively if the time limit is too short the two parties may not do everything that they wanted to and/or rush what they do get through, which can prevent the worker from learning as much as would otherwise be possible.
Departmental transfers, formal training courses and business coaching sessions can all be used to improve the skills and speed up the development of employees which will be highly beneficial for the overall success of their organisation.