Given the fluidity of most jobs today, it's likely your employees will wear many hats -- and they won't necessarily be restricted to the department they were hired to work in. But if they come to you asking for a position in a completely different area of your business, you may be at a loss for how to handle this request.
If this team member isn't feeling inspired by their current duties, maybe it's time to give them a chance to prove themselves in a new position. These six entrepreneurs have gone through similar situations themselves, and share their advice for what to do during the transition.
Instead of pigeonholing your employees into performing specific duties outlined in a job description, ask them what areas of your business they're most interested in -- even if those fall outside their designated department.
"In reviews, [our] employees are asked what skills they'd like to explore, and every time, they have curiosity about other departments," says Maren Hogan, leader of marketing agency Red Branch Media. "If they are sincere, they usually avail themselves of learning opportunities we offer. I've had employees express interest in small projects that resulted in new revenue channels."
Hold a departmental meeting.
Before making the switch, it's a good idea to call a meeting with the employee's current manager, as well as the manager of the department they wish to move to.
Peter Daisyme, special adviser to payments company Due, holds a preliminary meeting first to gauge the possibility of moving. "The communication helps to stop any misunderstandings as to why the employee wants to move, and promotes greater collaboration across departments. It's always been a positive way to make a move," he says.
Treat the process as if they were moving to a new company.
If an employee is eager to take on an entirely new role in your company, consider implementing a more formal process as you would for any job applicant applying for the position.
"When an employee wants to move to a new department, and it's been determined that such a thing makes sense for the company, treat the process like you would for a new hire at another company," says David Ciccarelli, CEO of voice talent marketplace Voices.com. "For example, we would post the role as an opening, let others interested apply in order to make it fair, then interview. The employee would be given a new start date, contract, training and manager."
Vet their skills and passion.
Verify that the team member has the appropriate chops and drive to ensure they don't fail in the endeavor.
"Step one is to recognize whether the employee has the skill set and passion to succeed in the new department," says Leila Lewis, founder and CEO of wedding PR agency Be Inspired PR. Lewis recalls an employee who had expressed her passion in social media.
"At the time our social department was small, but her desire to focus solely on social was the spark we needed," she says. "The enthusiasm she brought to the table opened up new doors for our company and quadrupled our social media clients."
Try a trial run.
If you still aren't sure of whether your team member would be a good fit in their desired role, consider implementing a test run first before changing their job title. Andy Eastes, CEO of warehouse management system SkuVault, likes to assign the candidate homework related to the department to assess their current competency.
"Doing this ensures that the desire to transfer isn't a phase and that the employee is genuinely serious about putting in effort," he says. I have given employees trial runs in different departments to see if, after this experience, they still want to transition to the requested position."
"Moving team members from one department to another gives a great opportunity to move in slowly and get their feet wet before diving in," says Zach Obront, founder of curated book business Book in a Box. Obront uses this process as a means of tying up loose ends in their previous role.
"It's always makes for a more peaceful, less hectic transition than trying to make the change overnight," he says.