Leadership Case Study: Taking Care of Your People - Question Mark and Header Image

You are a department head leading 25 employees. A branch head, on board for 6 months comes to you and asks for your support on a transfer request within the company.

The company has 2500 employees, with many disparate divisions. The corporation is a services company with the values of: Mission, People, and Service. This branch head is a solid performer, came up to speed very quickly, and is making a difference. She supervises 10 of the 25 employees assigned to the department and your hierarchy is the number three leader after you and your deputy. It is January and you had three transfers that have not been filled by HR. If she leaves that would be four and she is the continuity. Your department is a policy unit that updates, modifies, researches, and inspects policy within the entire company.

When she arrived in September you knew she would likely be with you for a year, the typical minimum to stay. On her welcome meeting with you she was very clear that she was looking for a transfer to her “career goal” position within another department. With the company for 11 years, she set a goal to move to that department when she started.

Positions come available occasionally and are very competitive. In fact, one came available right after she arrived and you supported her competing for it. She was runner up. If she won the position, she would have departed during the summer transfer time.

Here it is January and a “quick fill” opportunity has come available and she is asking for your support to apply. Company policy requires department heads approve the application. You estimate her chances of winning the position to be one-in-four due to the high number of applicants. However, she is well qualified and if selected will be gone by mid-April. That will take away the continuity in your department and reduce your staffing by four. You will get replacements but they will likely trickle in starting in April and continue over the summer.

What do you do and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll share my thoughts in next week’s blog post.

1 reply
  1. Chris Canniff
    Chris Canniff says:

    I would recommend her for the position. I know the company provides services and that my department is an internal policy division which does not directly support that. So putting mission and people first means letting her apply. It’s a competitive position and they don’t come along often. If I don’t allow her to apply I could end up losing this person to another company. If I allow her it’s only a 1 in 4 chance I lose her. She will feel supported and have loyalty because I supported them.

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