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Transfers and Separation


A transfer refers to lateral movement of employees within the same grade, from one job to another. According to Flippo “a transfer is a change in the job (accompanied by a change in the place of the job) of an employee without a change in responsibilities or remuneration”.

Transfer differs from promotion in the sense that the latter involves a change of job involving increase in salary, authority, status and responsibility, while all these remain unchanged /stagnant in the case of former. Also, transfers are frequent and regular whereas promotions are infrequent, if not irregular.

There are some public sector organizations like Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) who have entered into agreements, with employees for creating two cadres of officers, namely. Local Officers and All India Officers wherein promotions to and within the former are less accelerated than in the latter, but do not entail transfer.

Need of Transfer-

The need for making transfer is left for various reasons as listed below:

(i) To Meet Organisational Needs

Changes in technology, volume of production, production schedule, product line, quality of products, organisational structure, etc. necessitate an organisation to reassign jobs among employees so that right employee is placed on the right job.

(ii) To Satisfy Employee Needs

Employees may request for transfer in order to satisfy their desire to work in a particular department, place and under some superior. Personal problems of employee like health, family circumstances, and interpersonal conflicts may also necessitate transfer.

(iii) To Better Utilize Employee

When an employee is not performing satisfactorily on one job and management thinks that his/her capabilities would be utilized better elsewhere, he/she may be transferred to other job.

(iv) To Make the Employee More Versatile

In some organizations like banks, employees after working on a job for a specified period are transferred to other job with a view to widen their knowledge and skill and also reduce monotony. This is also called ‘job rotation.

(v) To Adjust the Workforce

Work force can be transferred from the departments / plants where there is less work to the departments/plants where more work is.

(vi) To Provide Relief

Transfers may be made to give relief to the employees who are overburdened or doing hazardous work for long period.

(vii) To Punish Employee

Management may use transfer as an instrument to penalize employees who are indulged in undesirable activities. As a disciplinary action, employees are transferred to remote and far-flung areas.

Types of Transfer

(i) Production Transfer

Such transfers are made when labour requirements in one division or branch is declining. The surplus employees from such division are transferred to those divisions or branches where there is shortage of employees. Such transfers help avoid lay off and stabilize employment.

(ii) Remedial Transfer

Such transfers are affected to correct the wrong selection and placement of employees. A wrongly placed employee is transferred to more suitable job. Such transfers protect the interest of the employee.

(iii) Replacement Transfer

Replacement transfers are similar to production transfers in their inherent, i.e. to avoid layoffs. Replacement transfers are affected when labour requirements are declining and are designed to replace a new employee by an employee who has been in the organization for a sufficiently long time. The purpose of these transfers is to retain long service employees in the organization and also give them some relief from the heavy pressure of work.

(iv) Versatility Transfer

These transfers are also known as ‘job rotation? In such transfers, employees are made move from one job to another to gain varied and broader experience of work. It benefits both the employee and organization. It reduces boredom and monotony and gives job enrichment to the employee. Also, employees’ versatility can be utilized by the organization as and when needed.

(v) Shift Transfers

These transfers are affected in the organizations where work progresses for 24 hours or in shifts. Employees are transferred from one shift to another usually on the basis of mutual understanding and convenience.

(vi) Penalty Transfer

Management may use transfer as an instrument to penalize employees’ involved in undesirable activities in the organization. Employee transfer from one’s place of convenience to a far-flung and remote area is considered as a penalty to the employee.


Employee separation is a sensitive issue for any organization. Usually, an employee leaves the organization after several years of service. Thus, the permanent separation of employees from an organization requires discretion, empathy and a great deal of planning. An employee may be separated as consequence of resignation, removal, death, permanent incapacity, discharge or retirement. The employee may also be separated due to the expiration of an employment contract or as part of downsizing of the workforce. Organizations should never harass the employees, especially in the case of resignation, just because they are quitting the organiza­tion. In fact, a quitting employee of the organization must be seen as a potential candidate of the future for the organization and also the brand ambassador of its HR policies and practices. However, many organizations are still treating their employees as “expendable resources” and discharging them in an unplanned manner whenever they choose  to do so

Each organization must have comprehensive separation policies and procedures to treat the departing employees equitably and ensure smooth transition for them. Further, each employee can provide a wealth of information to the organization at the time of separation. Exit interviews can be conducted by the HR department to ascertain the views of the leaving employees about different aspects of the organization, including the efficacy of its HR policies.

Reasons for Separation of Employees

Employee separation constitutes the final stage in the staffing process of an organization. An employee can leave the organization for any reason which he deems fit for seeking separation. However, separation is classified basically into two types. These are: voluntary separation and involuntary separation. Voluntary separation refers to the separation of employees on their own request, while involuntary separation means the separation of employees for organizational reasons which are beyond the control of the employees. We shall now discuss the causes of these separations in detail.

(i) Voluntary Separation:  Voluntary separation, which normally begins after a request is placed in this regard by the employee, can happen due to two reasons: professional reason and personal reason. We shall now discuss these reasons in detail.

(ii) Professional reasons: Employees may seek separation when they decide to seek better positions, responsibilities and status outside the present organization. Efficient employees would seek to expand their realm of knowledge and skills continuously by working in different capacities/positions in various organizations. In their quest for greater responsibility, power and status, they may seek separation from the organization.

(iii) Personal reasons: The important personal reasons for voluntary separation are relocation for family reasons like marriage of the employees and health crisis of family members, maternity and child-rearing. For instance, when working women get married, they often prefer to settle in the partners place of occupation. Similarly, an employee may seek voluntary separation to look after the child or parent.

(iv) Involuntary Separation: As mentioned earlier, an involuntary separation is caused by the factors which remain beyond the purview of the employees. However, these factors may be classified broadly into health problems, behavioural problems and organizational problems. We shall now discuss these factors in detail

(v) Health problems: Major health problems crippling the employees may make them invalid or unfit to continue in the profession. For instance, accidents causing permanent disabilities and illness of the employees like brain stroke and other terminal illnesses can lead to their involuntary separation. Death of employees is another factor which results in their involuntary separation.

(vi) Behavioural problems: An employee’s objectionable and unruly behaviour within the organization may also lead to his involuntary separation from the organization. When the employees behaviour is unethical or violates the code of conduct in force, the organization may initiate disciplinary actions, which may eventually result in his termination. This may constitute an act of involuntary separation. Consistent failure to reach performance goals by an employee can also result in his involuntary separation.

(vii) Organizational problems: Organizational problems are another important factor that contributes to the involuntary separation of employees. The poor financial performance of an organization may cause it to terminate the services of some of its employees as part of cost control measure. Such terminations are also classified as involuntary separation. Similarly, automation, organizational restructuring and rationalization can also result in employee termination, discharge or layoff, broadly called involuntary separation.


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