The traditional “up or out” career path, where an employee’s only option is a promotion to her direct manager’s position, is a relic of the past. Companies adopting a talent strategy to develop future leaders from within can achieve higher productivity and lower talent acquisition costs. Among other juicy tidbits in Oracle’s Talent Retention white paper is the statistic that nearly 40% of all full-time positions are filled with internal transfers and promotions. If the SuccessFactors Australian benchmark study is representative of global trends, the ratio of transfers to promotions is more than 8:1 for top quartile organizations.
So if it’s likely that your next career move is lateral, how can you be prepared to get in sync quickly with your new team? Try these four steps:
- Understand each other’s personalities. It can take months to learn the communication style and motivations of a new co-worker. Take a shortcut by reviewing and discussing each other’s personality profiles as described by an external test. The best option is to see if your HR department can provide Predictive Index (PI) results, however, freemium options like CrystalKnows can provide a solid basis for a meaningful conversation.
- Build a current project list and backlog. Dropping into a new team means that you will have to get familiar quickly with the in-flight projects, recurring deliverables, and upcoming work. If your new team doesn’t already use a project and resource management tool, spend an hour together to create a Trello board to list out the active, ready to start, and backlog projects. Note that you can get to the same level of understanding with sticky notes or a whiteboard, so don’t let technology impede the information exchange.
- Load up the calendars. A boring but important step is to ensure all of the recurring team meetings, 1:1 discussions, and upcoming vacations are visible in each other’s calendars. And don’t forget to cancel that meeting series with your old boss!
- Build relationships through informal channels. As you climb the steep learning curve with your new team, don’t forget to get to know the person behind the co-worker: take the team out for coffee, lunch, or drinks. Find out their favorite foods and surprise them with a snack or treat. Ask about their favorite vacations. Anything that builds rapport (in a non-creepy way) will strengthen your working relationships, too.
Internal transfers are nearly unavoidable in the modern career path. It’s my intent to make your next transfer a smoother one by offering the steps above. Feel free to leave a comment with any other advice on the topic.