There’s no doubt this year has seen businesses and individuals facing new levels of disruption and uncertainty. Leaders have been asked to make hard decisions to preserve their businesses, which has left many facing layoffs or redeployment.
While 2020 has perhaps brought more of us face to face with the difficulties (and opportunities) that layoffs involve, they’re certainly nothing new. In an alternate reality in which we weren’t combatting a global pandemic, businesses would still be restructuring, making acquisitions and reducing costs – all strategies that may involve workforce reduction or redeployment. As some economies begin to rebound and others continue to stagger on, this activity will continue.
All this is to say: employee transitions are nothing new. They’re also never easy. Irrespective of whether employees know and understand the difficulties their businesses are facing, they (both displaced and retained employees) often take the news of redundancy hard. But there are ways to support displaced employees that can take the transition from acceptable to positive – for all employees, with little financial cost.
The transition trap(s)
Workforce reductions bring great uncertainty for both the displaced employees, who feel tremendous pressure to find another job quickly, and their retained colleagues who wonder if they might be next.
These feelings are heightened by the pandemic, where lost income and, in many cases, lost benefits, may threaten basic safety and security for displaced employees and potentially their family as well.
Research backs this up. Among the many real impacts of layoffs, there’s a 45% lower likelihood of getting a job interview for those who don’t find a job quickly and a 83% greater chance of developing new health issues within a year. Organisations face impaired reputation, lowered productivity and decreased trust and innovation.
We have also found that layoffs disproportionately affect lower income workers and the majority of outplacement support end up going to those at the top of the income spectrum. We estimate that only 8% of career transition resources are devoted to the lower 80% of income earners, and most of this group receive none.
This is because historically, companies have believed they can’t afford to extend support to all employees. But we believe they can offer a human-centric approach that supports both the individual and the organisation for the long term.
Technology offers the personal touch
We don’t often think of technology as offering the personal touch, but in managing career transitions it can do exactly this. Technology makes it possible to provide person-to-person career guidance and job search support to everyone, humanising the experience for the individual while keeping the costs low for the organisation.
Our approach uniquely supports the whole journey. It goes beyond helping candidates draft resumes, prepare for interviews, and find job opportunities. Instead, it centres on the whole individual, linking assessment data to development, empowering them to fully understand their strengths and identify where they need to develop additional skills and consequently find roles that offer a stronger fit.
Technology makes this possible by enabling:
- One-on-one career coaching
- Anytime, anywhere access
- Real-time feedback e.g. AI for interview practice
- Access to 24/7 real-time chat
- Ability to create a unique learning journey from thousands of development modules
- Online assessments
In a time when taking care of people has become part of the social contract between employer and employee, this holistic approach can help diminish the risk of long term impacts that can dog displaced employees, restoring their confidence and setting them up for new successes.
Learn more about best practices in career transition services, attend the webinar: Challenging traditional outplacements – a look ahead.