Friday, September 11, 2015

Lateral Moves And How They Help Employees' Career Growth

That there is stiff competition in the job market is an inconvenient truth. So, it may not be possible for people to climb up the career ladder as fast as they desire. In fact, organizations are thinking of moving employees laterally. In this context, you must know whether a lateral move will enhance your career or not.

What do you mean by a "lateral move?"

A lateral move is that in which you, as an employee, will be moving to almost an equivalent position, in a different department or the same department in your organization. You will get the same salary or there may be a very small increase. The job title may also be the same. But your responsibilities will change.

In the organizational chart, your level will be the same as that of your former job. If you are shifted within the same department, you will be reporting to the same manager. On the other hand, if you move to another department, you may have to report to a new manager. Likewise, whether there will be changes in the work areas or groups will depend on whether you continue to remain in the same department or shift to some other department.

Earlier, employees were not ready to accept lateral moves. But now, the situation has drastically changed, points out Kirk Hoyle, a headhunter from Los Angeles. He says “everyone has a subconscious weakness right now. There’s a lot of insecurity about the future.”

More and more organizations are becoming flatter. In fact, organizations are trying for more output with less number of employees. So, it is not surprising that the number of companies that explicitly encourage lateral moves has been on the increase. For example, Deloitte has replaced "career ladder" with what is known as "career lattice" which is a metaphor that denotes sideways, diagonal and up-or-down moves. Similarly, Erin Hand, one of the vice presidents of Cox Communications that is a popular cable provider company, says that they have initiated discussions over the value of opportunities 'sideways moves' can bestow on their employees as well as on the organization. 

But you must choose a lateral move carefully. This means you should do your home work and study your responsibilities in the new position as well as the future opportunities that may be available to you. Especially, if you are holding a senior position, this study is all the more important, says Donna Schwarz, a career consultant from New York. In short, you should be certain that you can have real growth once you make the lateral move.

Whether your lateral move is within your company, a different organization or another industry, you must be prepared to feel the cultural differences you may encounter in your new position.

Advantages of a lateral move

1. You will be able to expand your skills. You can expand your network also because you will work with a new group of employees, managers and customers. 

2. Secondly, there are chances that you may be able to expand opportunities in your career path. Since available roles in senior positions are becoming lesser and lesser, opting for a lateral move, if you are in a senior position, may be beneficial.

3. You can overcome the problem of dissatisfaction and boredom thanks to your new position and new responsibilities.

4. When you face new challenges, you will have more chances to prove your potential. 

5. You can learn the tasks and functions of new departments and so, your organizational knowledge will expand.

6. Your visibility in the organization will increase as more managers and coworkers will come to know of you. In fact, management will be impressed with your readiness to embrace new responsibilities. So, your lateral move may lead to career growth.

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