Firms may have to shed staff and many are trying to do it in the fairest way possible. Outplacement is a process which companies use to help those who have lost their jobs deal with the change and move into new employment.
Outplacement can also have an impact on those who remain in the organisation, as they feel that the departing person has been treated fairly – they are more likely to view their employer in a positive light as a result. Good outplacement can also help ensure the employer maintains a strong reputation.
From the employee’s perspective, the outplacement process typically involves an assessment of the current situation. It’s a cliché, but redundancy may be an opportunity to do what they really want to do and it’s worth exploring this before they jump into another, similar role. We are finding that people are generally looking for more of the same, although some of our outplacement clients have talked of a return to study.
The outplacement coach will begin by helping the person take small steps to move forward positively. This is particularly important in the early stages and may involve identifying the skills that they have, but might not recognise.
They will also give practical advice around CV preparation, interview skills, finding unadvertised jobs and creating a plan of activity, which can help even the most senior people.
Finding another role is proving to be different from previous downturns, largely as job-seeking methods have moved on significantly. While personal networking has traditionally proven to be successful, websites such as ‘Linked-In’ make this much easier as specifically targeted audiences can be reached much more readily than ever before. The ability to post your CV online to be accessed by a broad audience is also advantageous.
Jobs in other sectors are being explored by some, but in markets where there is an over-supply of talent, employers often naturally take the safe option and opt with someone with experience of their sector. The key to moving sectors is to identify transferable skills and really selling these.
We have found that the most successful individuals are flexible, open-minded and use their personal network to the full.
Toby Turner is managing director of people consultancy Holtby Turner.