A transfer is a change in job assignment. It may involve a promotion or demotion or no change at all in status and responsibility. A transfer has to be viewed as a change in assignment in which an employee moves from one job to another in the same level of hierarchy, requiring similar skills, involving approximately same level of responsibility, same status and same level of pay. A transfer does not imply any ascending (promotion) or descending (demotion) change in status or responsibility.
Purposes of Transfer
Organisations resort to transfers with a view to serve the following purposes:
i. To meet the organisational requirements: Organisations may have to transfer
employees due to changes in technology, changes in volume of production, production schedule, product line, quality of products, changes in the job pattern caused by change in organisational structure, fluctuations in the market conditions like demands fluctuations, introduction of new lines and/or dropping of existing lines. All these changes demand the shift in job assignments with a view to place the right man on the right job.
ii. To satisfy the employee needs: Employees may need transfers in order to satisfy their desire to work under a friendly superior, in a department/region where opportunities for advancement are bright, in or near their native place or place of interest, doing a job where the work itself is challenging, etc.
iii. To utilise employees better: An employee may be transferred because management feels that his skills, experience and job knowledge could be put to better use elsewhere.
iv. To make the employee more versatile: Employees may be rolled over different jobs to expand their capabilities. Job rotation may prepare the employee for more challenging assignments in future.
v. To adjust the workforce: Workforce may be transferred from a plant where there is less work to a plant where there is more work.
vi. To provide relief: Transfers may be made to give relief to employees who are overburdened or doing hazardous work for long periods.
vii. To reduce conflicts: Where employees find it difficult to get along with colleagues in a particular section, department or location – they could be shifted to another place to reduce conflicts.
viii. To punish employees: Transfers may be effected as disciplinary measures – to shift employees indulging in undesirable activities to remote, far-flung areas.
Types of Transfers
Transfers can be classified thus:
i. Production transfers : Transfers caused due to changes in production.
ii. Replacement transfers : Transfers caused due to replacement of an employee
working on the same job for a long time.
iii. Rotation transfers : Transfers initiated to increase the versatility of
iv. Shift transfers : Transfers of an employee from one shift to another.
v. Remedial transfers : Transfers initiated to correct the wrong placements.
vi. Penal transfers : Transfers initiated as a punishment for indisciplinary
action of employees.
Transfer Policy
Organisations should clearly specify their policy regarding transfers. Otherwise, superiors
may transfer their subordinates arbitrarily if they do not like them. It causes frustration among employees. Similarly, subordinates may also request for transfers even for the petty issues. Most of the people may ask for transfer to riskless and easy jobs and places. As such, organisation may find it difficult to manage such transfers. Hence, an organisation should formulate a systematic transfer policy. A systematic transfer policy should contain the following items:
i. Specification of circumstances under which an employee will be transferred in the
case of any company initiated transfer.
ii. Name of the superior who is authorised and responsible to initiate a transfer.
iii. Jobs from and to which transfers will be made, based on the job specification,
description and classification, etc.
iv. The region or unit of the organisation within which transfers will be administered.

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