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Ask HR: What's the Best Way to Change Jobs Within a Company?

SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is answering HR questions as part of a series for USA Today.

Do you have an HR or work-related question you'd like him to answer? Submit it here. 


I want to transfer to a different position within my company, but I'm worried about how it will affect my standing in my current group, especially if I apply and don't get the position. How should I approach the situation with my manager and HR?—Doris 

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: Applying for an internal transfer can be a delicate process for employees, particularly when it comes to managing relationships with your current group and manager. 

If you haven't already, start by reviewing your company's internal transfer policy and process. See if you satisfy the eligibility requirements for a transfer under your employer's policy and check the job posting to see if you have the requisite skills and qualifications for the position. Identify what forms you need to complete in order to request a transfer.

Transparency is a good thing and preferable to blindsiding your manager. It would be better if the news came directly from you, allowing more control over the messaging. So have a candid discussion with your manager first and state your intent to apply for an internal position. It is essential to clarify the reasons for a transfer, such as a need for career growth, a difference in job duties or a career change. Convey that the action taken does not reflect the relationship between you, your manager or your group. Once you've discussed the situation with your manager, speak to your HR team to begin the internal transfer process.

Also, I would consider not disclosing your intent to transfer to your co-workers until your move is confirmed. This will help minimize the impact on your group, especially if you aren't selected. However, if you are chosen, offer to train your replacement and provide support to your team during the transition.

Putting these steps into action will make the process much less challenging. Good luck to you!

I was once reprimanded for showing up late to work on Election Day as there were longer wait times at my voting precinct. I am concerned this might happen again. Should employees be permitted time off to vote or special consideration if there are local delays?—Ann 

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: This is a timely question, as national midterm elections are around the corner. I appreciate your commitment to performing your civic duty. Employees should have the time allowed by law to exercise their right to vote. 

Time off to vote is not mandated by federal law, but most states and localities do have ordinances permitting it, especially when an employee's work hours don't allow enough time to vote when the polls are open. State and local laws determine the number of hours allowed and whether those are paid or unpaid. Some regulations even enable employers to specify employee leave timing, such as at the start or conclusion of the workday.

The laws also differ from state to state regarding what actions managers can take in response to an employee taking time off to vote. Most states forbid employers from disciplining or terminating an employee. However, in states where paid leave is allowed, a manager may have the ability to request proof of an employee voting. 

There are actions you can take now in anticipation of local delays. Review your company's voting policy and speak with your manager early about the upcoming election should you need time away from work to cast your ballot. Know the polling hours in your state on Election Day to determine the best time to be away from work. In this day and age, it is even easier to vote as states have expanded mail-in balloting and early in-person voting options.

I'll add this: Communication is key to ensuring you are familiar with your rights and company policy. It also helps your employer understand your needs and sets reasonable expectations for your Election Day availability. Despite what happened last year, voting is a right, privilege and responsibility of citizenship. I hope you choose the best voting option for you.