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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Default Navigating Inter-office transfer politics - advice needed

    I previously mentioned that our HR director will be retiring in January. I haven't heard more about the succession plan, but my assumption based on company culture leads me to believe the assistant director would move into the Director position. Still leaving a vacancy in the department. While I really, truly do enjoy what I'm doing, I'd like to try my hand in HR. I got my masters in it and I should probably put my education to use.

    I moved to a new supervisor last year and she and I get along well. I feel very comfortable talking with her about a litany of items, however this topic really gives me pause. I don't want this to become a huge company rumor/gossip "oh, chimi doesn't like her position and now she wants to transfer...." Not the case at all! But, rumors and gossip have a way of not checking for validity.

    Similarly, if the succession plan I mentioned above ISN'T happening, then I look foolish to everyone. Our tenure is quite lengthy here (my senior director has been here 40+ years), and people never forget. I'm still hearing stories from 10-15 years ago about employees that are still with the company.

    I would like to broach the topic with my supervisor and appreciate any suggestions for ways of doing that. I could be very direct and say something like:

    "I deeply enjoy the work I'm doing in this department. I am happy where I am at. However, I would like to explore the option of transferring to the HR department. With my background and education, I'd like to see if I would be qualified to transfer."

    I know direct is best, but we have a very political company and maybe this isn't the best route?

    If the HR thing doesn't pan out, I'm happy to stay where I am. I enjoy my team, I enjoy the people I interact with and I would hate to have my inquiry taken as discontent.

    Any suggestions are great. Maybe I was just also typing this out to work through things in my head...
    Kidlet 1 - 8/06
    Kidlet 2 - 7/09
    Kidlet 3 - 12/12

  2. #2
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    Jun 2005
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    Chimi it's been a LONG time since I worked in an office, but when I did there were a LOT of inner office politics/posturing so I think I understand your dilemma. If I were you I would go to the HR director who is leaving. He may have a better underdtanding of the succession plan and trickle down, but also since he's HR I would think your conversation would be confidential and if you end up not moving could eliminate any awkwardness with your current director.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gardenmommy View Post
    but also since he's HR I would think your conversation would be confidential and if you end up not moving could eliminate any awkwardness with your current director.
    Hee.... yeah, see our HR department is decidedly not confidential. I forgot to mention that. It should be!! But it isn't. Really, people don't go to HR with problems because they know it will be talked about outside the office.

    I did go to chat with him but never got around to this particular point. I will definitely try again and see where it goes. He's a chatter box and likely would talk about my conversation with him to others.

    One of the executive VPs is a pretty cool guy and I may ask him what the plan is for succession. We play softball tonight so it will seem very low key and casual. But, if there is a plan to hire outside, maybe he'd let me know. We did chat once a year or two ago about my desire to move into HR. There wasn't an opening at the time (and I just finished my masters which is why we had the conversation). I don't expect him to remember that, but it shouldn't be an issue of "we never knew chimi was interested in this."
    Kidlet 1 - 8/06
    Kidlet 2 - 7/09
    Kidlet 3 - 12/12

  4. #4
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    I don't know what your structure is for HR, but I think it would be a long shot to go from not working in HR to being the assistant director of HR, without any experience, even if that is your educational background. I assume there are HR generalists/staff who would also have their eye on that position?
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  5. #5
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    How do people feel about the HR dept not being confidential? That just seems wrong all around.

    I remember you getting your masters in HR - I guess I always assumed that that was the department you already worked in and you got your masters so you could move up. So what do you do then?
    J&D - May 2005 *** E - 8/7/06 *** J - 3/17/09

  6. #6
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    Jul 2005
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    Laura - good point. The current department is 3 people. While I don't currently work in HR, the work I do perform is very heavy into benefits; so I'm HR-tangent. The assistant would likely have her eye on the director position. The other lady has no interest in moving up (i'd be find sliding into her spot as well, but she's more payroll than anything. not an area I'm as familiar with). It is normally highly unlikely to not have any experience and move into that high of a position. I'd imagine they'd "demote" it a bit back down to manager - but I never know. I'm fine with being a generalist or lower staff. It's just that the position I believe to be open would be the assistant.

    Jessey - folks know what the situation is and no one really goes to HR for anything. They do, however, contact me. Not everyone, of course, but other managers have called/emailed me for advice on how to handle situations or with benefits questions. Since I'm not currently a practitioner, I do always caveat to say they would do well to contact HR for specifics. But, employee issues I am comfortable with and we'd usually work together on the situation. So, other employees already see me as a resource. And, those I've worked with have seen that I don't have loose lips.

    I've done employee relations/management in the past, but currently I work for a non-profit association dealing with employee benefits. My members are all benefits/HR professionals. I'm adjacent to HR/benefits and work to keep up on the legislative updates. While this in no way makes me incredibly "qualified" because I haven't actually done the work, I feel I could. And an interoffice transfer would be the best way for me to get into that world. Because, it would be very difficult for me to start fresh at a new company with no experience.
    Kidlet 1 - 8/06
    Kidlet 2 - 7/09
    Kidlet 3 - 12/12

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