TRANSFER in hrm Reasons, Principles, Types, Benefits, Problems

Table of Contents:

  1. Meaning of Transfer in hrm
  2. Definition of Transfer
  3. Reasons for Transfer
  4. Principles of Transfer
  5. Types of Transfer 
  6. Benefits of Transfer
  7. Problems of Transfer
  8. Types of transfer in hrm
  9. Reasons for transfer

Meaning of Transfer in hrm

The transfer of an employee refers to their movement from one location to another or between branches. Companies often follow a common policy of granting transfers based on circumstances or accepting transfer requests from employees. Sometimes, the transfer in hrm takes place with no change in the pay scale or position and sometimes it may prove to be financially beneficial to the employee. 

Definition of Transfer

According to Yoder and Associates, “Transfer is a lateral shift causing movement of individuals from one position to another usually without involving any marked change in duties, responsibilities, skills needed or compensation”.

According to Edwin B. Flippo, “Transfer is a change in job where the new job is substantially equal to the old in terms of pay, stats and responsibilities”.

Reasons for Transfer

Transfers are usually made to meet the interests of both the employee and the organization. The reason for transfer varies depending on organizational needs, and manager or employee interest.

Transfers due to the following reasons:

1) To Fulfil Employee Requirements

The company may opt for transfers if an employee struggles to fit or adapt to the working environment. If an employee experiences discomfort with superiors or colleagues, lacks visibility for future growth in a specific role or faces family issues, the organization can consider transfers as a means to address these concerns. Transfers may involve moving the employee to a different location or department, catering to their needs and requirements.

2) To Meet Organisational Needs

An organisation has to go through several changes in the path of growth and achievement of its goal successfully. These changes may include work inconsistencies, changes in the structure of the organisation, changes in the economic status, changes in the quantity of production, etc. This demands either reduction or reallocation of the workforce. Hence, the organization makes necessary adjustments to meet these requirements by transferring suitable candidates to the appropriate positions.

3) To Make Effective Utilisation of Employees’ Skills

In certain instances, employees’ skills remain underutilized, leading to unsatisfactory job performance. Thus, the organization undertakes the task of shifting these employees to positions that match their capabilities.

4) To Enhance Employee Productivity

When an employee performs the same task for an extended period, both their productivity and level of excitement start to decline. Thus, to break this boredom and make the jobs more interesting, transfers are made.

5) To Increase Employees’ Versatility

Transferring an employee from one department to another or from one place to another helps the employees face new challenges and gain new experiences. This increases the versatility of the employee as he receives enough opportunities to improve his diverse skills.

6) To Adjust the Employees and their Timing

Transfer takes place to adjust the employees into different departments particularly when there are certain changes in the organisation. Employees can also request transfers based on their convenience. Some people prefer morning shifts, some prefer evening and some prefer night shifts. For example, working women prefer to work evening shifts as they have to do their daily household work in the morning time. 

7) To Maintain a Tenure System

Many organisations follow a tenure system. Government organizations, especially, hire employees for a designated tenure and specific position. Subsequently, the organization transfers these employees to different locations or departments to gain fresh knowledge and skills. The company may opt for transfers to prevent employees from engaging in politics against the organization. For example, Banks recruit probationary officers for a tenure of 3 years, after which they relocate them to different locations for the subsequent 3 years.

8) To Ensure Discipline in Employees

There are some officers or employees of the organisation who violate the rules and regulations and work for their benefit. Therefore to penalise, such employees are transferred to a distant branch or office where they do not get a chance to carry out their unlawful activities.

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Principles of Transfer

The transfer is an integral part of the organisation. Sometimes transfer takes place as per the requirement of the organisation and sometimes because of the employees. Frequent transfers are a regular practice within organizations. The transfer policy’s impartiality is of utmost importance, and employees across the organization should have a clear awareness of it. The person designated for managing transfers must exhibit qualities of trustworthiness, experience, and fairness when making decisions. Prescribing the conditions for approving transfers is essential for maintaining a transparent transfer policy. The organization’s management needs to adopt suitable placement and selection protocols to lessen the need for frequent or large-scale transfers.

Some principles that can make a transfer policy more sound and successful are as follows:

1) Every employee should have a comprehensive understanding of the transfer policy established by the organization. For that, a company can provide the policy in writing to the employees. 

2)The policy should outline the types of transfers, reasons for transfer, and the conditions necessitating employees to move between job roles.

3) The organization’s authority should know the identity of the person in charge of instigating and executing the transfer policy.

4) Policy must specify the pay scale for the transferred employee and the areas in which the transfer can take place, i.e., whether the transfer will take place within the department unit or branch or some other state.

5) The policy must incorporate a requirement to give the concerned individual prior notice of the transfer, enabling them to mentally brace themselves for the move.

6) Ensuring the transfer policy’s credibility requires fairness and a departure from personal motivations, centring on the organization’s well-being rather than individual differences.

7)The policy must specify whether the employee needs training or re-training for the new job.

Types of Transfer 

Different types of transfer are as follows:

  1. Based on Purpose
  2. Production Transfers
  3. Replacement Transfers
  4. Shift Transfers
  5. Remedial Transfers
  6. Versatility Transfers
  7. Based on Unit
  8. Sectional Transfers 
  9. Departmental Transfers
  10. Inter-Plant Transfers

1) Based on Purpose

It includes the following: 

i) Production Transfers

Production transfers are based on the changing requirements of the organisation. When the employees are moved from the place where they are available in excessive numbers to a place where there is demand for more employees, such a transfer is called production transfer. In this case, the organisation is the same, only the departments are changed to increase the productivity of the organisation.

ii) Replacement Transfers

Replacement means to substitute a new employee in place of an old employee who has been working in the organisation for a long time. New employees are energetic and have new ideas. Replacement transfer helps in utilising the new knowledge and advanced skills of the fresh talent in the interest of the organisation. The purpose of these transfers is mainly to avoid layoffs.

iii) Shift Transfers

Shift transfers mean a transfer from one shift to another at the convenience of the employee as well as the organisation. It is a very common type of transfer. There are usually 3 shifts namely morning, evening and night. The position and job remain the same, only the timings are adjusted accordingly.

iv) Remedial Transfers

As the name indicates, remedial transfers are made to remedy the situation or faults that happened during the placement. When employees are not able to perform their duties effectively or they are unable to adjust themselves to the changing environment, employees are transferred to a more suitable place where their skills can be better utilised and their performance can become better.

v) Versatility Transfers

These transfers are made to make the employees more versatile. They are transferred to a different job so that they can get varied experience and skills. It also prepares the employee for future promotions along with greater job satisfaction.

2) Based on Unit

It includes the following:

i) Sectional Transfers

When the transfers are made to train the employees to handle the operations and working of different sections of the same department, such transfers are called sectional transfers. 

ii) Departmental Transfers

Transfers made from one department to another department within the same organisation are called departmental transfers. In such transfers, the job responsibilities remain the same for the employees in the departments.

iii) Inter-Plant Transfers

If an organisation has more than one branch or plant, inter-plant transfers can be made to fulfil the various changing needs of the organisation.

Benefits of Transfer

 The benefits of the transfer are as follows

1) When an employee is transferred from one department to another or is given responsibilities of different Jobs, he can gain advanced knowledge and different skills that may prove to be beneficial for him. 

2) Transferring staff members is one of the best ways to improve social interaction in an organisation. It not only reduces the politics between the employees but also maintains healthy coordination between the employees of different departments

3) When the employees work with coordination and cooperation, it results in the smooth functioning of the organisation which further will result in raising organisational gains and improving organisational effectiveness. 

4) The problem that the company faces due to faulty placements can be corrected by transferring suitable and efficient employees to the respective department. This stabilises the work fluctuations happening in the organisation.

5) Transfer helps the employees to overcome the tediousness of the same job they have been performing for a long time. They are fully energised to take up new work and duties. They can acquire new skills which increase their chances of future promotion.

6) Transferred employees are motivated to learn new things as they receive new challenges and get an opportunity to express their ideas and show their potential.

Problems of Transfer

Several problems faced by the employees are related to the transfer. Some of them are as follows: 

1) One of the major problems faced by employees during a transfer is adaptability. When moved to a new job, an employee has to adjust himself to the place and environment. He even has to face criticism from senior persons and co-workers. 

2) Transfers cause a lot of trouble not only to the employee but also to his family members. An employee may face the problem of housing, adjustment, education of children, etc. when transferred from one place to another.

3) There is a loss of time as well as money when employees are transferred from one place to another. Sometimes, employees are not happy with their transfer, so, they become careless and inefficient in their work.

4) When transfers are based on discrimination, it diminishes the morale of the employee leading to reduced job contentment, loyalty and devotion and he becomes less productive.

Types of transfer in hrm

A transfer refers to a change in job assignment where an employee may be moved from one department to another or from one city to another. Transfers within an organization can be categorized into two types: Personal Transfer or Organization-Initiated Transfer.

i) Personal Transfer

Personal transfers are those initiated by the employee based on their desires and primarily in their interest. The reasons for such requests could include:

1) Correcting erroneous placement,

2) Relieving the monotony of a job, acquiring better working conditions, or joining friends/spouse/family,

3) Finding an outlet from blind alley jobs,

4) Avoiding interpersonal conflicts,

5) Considering the interests of age, health, education of children, housing difficulties, and joining immobile dependents,

6) Availing training elsewhere to facilitate later advancement or promotion,

7) Seeking financial gains such as high frequency or overtime payments or the perception that opportunities for advancement are better in another department.

In such cases, probing is needed, as a collective desire for transfers from a unit may indicate underlying issues such as a difficult supervisor, promotion concerns, or other ulterior motives. In such instances, simple transfers may not solve the problem, and additional measures such as counselling might be necessary.

ii) Organization-Initiated Transfer

A business may initiate transfers for the reasons given below:

1) Temporary adjustments for the organisation’s or employee’s convenience or benefit, such as leave replacement or very short assignments.

2) Meeting emergencies or changes in operations, dealing with fluctuations in work requirements due to output volume or separations.

3) Making use of the increasing versatility and competence of key employees.

4) Implementing transfers from one shift to another when there is more than one shift and shift assignments are not rotating.

5) Managing new responsibilities, etc.

The nature of the transfer should be considered while determining its type, considering the purpose for which it is made. One major type, discipline transfer, is a remedial transfer extensively used in the government and public sectors. The second type, based on personal convenience, is also prevalent in some countries. Lastly, transfers made on the boss’s wishes occur when a higher-level manager moves and prefers to take their personnel to the new position. This helps maintain a cohesive team and ensures familiarity with the working manner and pattern of the manager in the new environment.


1. What are the various types of transfer in hrm?

There are two types of transfer in HRM personal transfers and organization-initiated transfers.

2. What is transfer in hrm?

A transfer is a change in job assignment, which may involve a promotion, demotion, or no change in responsibility and status. It is a shift in assignment where the employee moves to another job with approximately the same level of commitment, demanding similar skills, and at a comparable pay level.

3. Explain the reasons for transfer.

A transfer may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the need, and it can occur within a department, between departments and divisions, or between plants or offices within a company/organization. Often, transfers are used to fill vacancies or shift employees who need to perform optimally for the company. Simultaneously, in many cases, promotions come with transfers.

Two main conditions lead to transfer situations:

  1. Employees may request a transfer to pursue personal preferences and benefits.
  2. Organizations may initiate transfers to enhance operational effectiveness or solve human relations problems.

It is essential to recognize that transfers are made for various reasons and can be initiated by either the supervisor or the subordinate. If transfers are entirely at the discretion of supervisors or employees, problems such as favouritism or victimization may arise. For instance, a few employees might consistently get transfers whenever they want, while the requests of many others could be rejected. Conversely, some individuals might face repeated transfers, causing them inconvenience. Supervisors may transfer subordinates arbitrarily, merely to remove them. Some employees might request transfers repeatedly for various reasons. Specific departments may gain a reputation for being easy to move from, while others may be seen as the opposite, and so on.

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