Have you ever considered trying a new role at your company, but you were too nervous to ask? What were you afraid of exactly? That your boss would be upset? That your coworkers would see you as abandoning them? Too often, employees feel discouraged from branching out to other teams within their company. This discouragement comes from low visibility into other teams, office anecdotes (you heard what happened when Sam tried to switch teams), or more often than not, just isn’t talked about at all.
As the CEO of a growing company, I understand how important it is to identify when an employee needs a change and a new challenge, ideally before the employee knows it. Here are some tips for my fellow CEOs to encourage team-switching for their employees.
Don’t wait for employees to make the first move
Very rarely will an employee have the confidence and self-awareness to realize they want to try a different role at their company. Eliminate the taboo of team-switching by bringing it up yourself during a one-on-one. My company has an annual self-evaluation that all employees take. This year, we added the question, “Are you interested in exploring opportunities with other teams at the company?” If the answer is yes, then great–we can get the ball rolling on educating them about available opportunities. If the answer is no, odds are you can find out why they like the role they have, which can help you better market that role to future candidates.
Let employees do a trial period
I’ve had plenty of employees express interest in trying a new role, but they weren’t 100% sure it would be right for them. Let them try it out for a week or two.
Creating a risk-free environment encourages employees to dig into the new role without worrying about making the wrong decision. If you can’t commit to a week, let an employee shadow someone from another team for a morning or full day. Seeing someone’s day-to-day workload is the best way for an employee to get firsthand experience with the team they’re interested in.
Make sure employees know you always have their back
After the employee has finished their trial period, it’s time for them to make the switch for good. The change doesn’t just benefit the employee who switched teams. The new team benefits from an infusion of new blood, while the rest of your employees get to see that you value them not just as specific team members, but as smart individuals who can explore new challenges to further their careers.
As an important side note, make sure you have patience if the employee struggles early on in their new role. If you can trust them to try a new role, you should also trust that with time, they will become a top performer in their new department.
Don’t let boredom bedevil your employees
Mastery is a recipe for boredom. All ambitious people need to be continuously challenged in order to glean satisfaction from their work. The most successful companies and CEOs make sure that everyone has the opportunity to identify a new itch, and more importantly, the opportunity to scratch it.
Corey Weiner is the CEO of Jun Group, a New York-based company delivering full-screen video, display, and rich media campaigns for Fortune 500 advertisers and drives millions of opt-in page views for leading publishers.