How To Handle An Employee Asking To Switch Offices

An employee has asked to switch offices, and you’re not sure how to handle it. On the one hand, you want to be supportive and help her find satisfaction in her career. On the other hand, you don’t want to go through the headache of re-staffing and, if we’re being honest, it hurts that a good employee wants to leave.

asking to switch offices

What should you do? Here’s how to handle an employee who wants to switch offices.

Schedule Some Time To Talk

Schedule some time for a one-on-one discussion. See if the employee will tell you why he wants to leave, and gauge if he has a firm plan in place or is floating a general idea. Then get whatever details you can to help you plan.

You may discover a workplace issue you weren’t aware of. By rectifying the situation, you’ll improve the work environment and keep a top performer within the fold.

Then again, the employee may desire a move for career purposes. He could be looking to develop his skills, broaden his experiences, or gain greater visibility within the company. Use your best judgment to consider how an office switch may lead him to higher positions.

Understand the employee may not want to divulge the cause for the transfer request. If this is the case, don’t take it personally. From health concerns to family turmoil, there are many reasons for wanting a transfer that don’t reflect negatively on you or your abilities.

Be Encouraging

During your discussion, a supportive attitude will go a long way. It tells your employee you care about her and want to see her succeed. It also helps ensure the employee’s talent is retained within the company.

If your approach is dispiriting, you run the risk of losing the employee, only with a two weeks’ notice instead of an amiable office switch. The more requests you approach this way, the more discouragement will spread through the office, leading to a demotivated workforce on top of empty positions.

Be A Part Of The Process

Being a part of the process helps make for a smoother transition for both you and the employee. Brush up on the company’s office transfer policy, and keep your ear to the ground for promising opportunities.

If something does arise, set up a discussion between you, the employee, and the office lead. Be an advocate for your employee and his skills. If possible, suggest an inter-office trial run on a project, so the employee can get a feel for his new team.

In short, do everything you can to make for a successful transition and set your employee up for success.

Don’t Swap Strife

Let’s consider the other side of this situation: What if your problem employee asks to switch offices? Then resist the urge to make her someone else’s problem. You’ll need to mentor her up to standard before even considering such a request.

With that said, the employee may be a mismatch with your particular office, and a switch could be a perfect setup for success. Consider the possibility, assess the employee’s skills, and discuss the matter with the other lead. It may be your problem employee will shine in a new environment.

An employee who wants to switch offices is a difficult situation. Emotions can run high, and it can pile work on an already busy schedule. However, it’s important to assist talented employees in accessing such career opportunities. Advocating for employees keeps talent in the company, upskills talent through broader experiences, and creates an air of support your other employees will be grateful for.

And who knows? If this culture of support spreads through the company, you may find some promising talent asking to switch into your office.

The trusted source for DC's Employers

Sign up and post a job now

Post a job today

Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market