Unemployment figures are increasing at an alarming rate. ONS’s October 2020 figures indicate 1.5 million are now unemployed (4.5% – compared to 3.8% the same time last year); and those claiming benefit is now circa 2.7 million. Unfortunately and, perhaps unsurprisingly, our future talent pipeline has been hardest hit; with 13.4% of 16-24 year olds now unemployed. The outlook is grim indeed – economists predict a rise in unemployment to 9.7% during 2021 (best case scenario) and, at worst, an increase to 13.2%. This equates to a staggering 4 million people. And since lockdown1.0 in March it is estimated that at least 695,000 people have already been made redundant.
So, what help is on hand for those facing redundancy and career transitions going forward? Outplacement is not a particularly well-known service area. It involves providing a support of programme to support staff exiting an organisation; be that voluntarily or involuntarily. It typically consists of a range of insights, inputs and practical tools and resources on how to approach the career transition journey and successfully find a new role. Programmes can be off the shelf or tailored to suit the organisational context; and those ahead of the curve may also incorporate aspects of well-being (such as stress management and building resilience); taking a more holistic approach to supporting individuals – ‘mind, body and soul’. Data on the impact of such programmes suggests that those who receive an outplacement service may resettle 50% faster than those who are not offered the service.
All that said, the Covid19 labour market is however now tougher than ever. This means job hunters need even more targeted, positive and inspirational interventions to help them on their way.
So what are the potential organisational benefits of investing in outplacement support?
- Management time – Reduce HR and management time spent on handling the transition and alleviate the burden of supporting each individual affected on top of business as usual.
- Positive PR – Mitigate against negative PR by acknowledging the difficulties staff may be facing and taking positive action to help them (communicate a positive message to staff in challenging times).
- Reduce or offset staff conflict: ‘Giving back’ to individuals so that they may feel supported in their transition may help negate feelings of anger and upset caused by the changes.
- Enhance support framework – Such a programme can complement existing staff wellbeing policies and support programmes and infrastructure.
- Morale – Uplift a de-moralised workforce to help encourage continued productivity levels during the transition.
- Progression – Encourage staff to channel their talents, explore new opportunities and progress in their careers (e.g. high performers may land a more senior role and other individuals may identify a more desirable career path).
- Positive legacy – Leave the employee feeling more upbeat about the organisation during their departure despite the difficult circumstances.
- Intelligence – Opportunity to gain intelligence from employees via an outplacement programme pre-questionnaire, survey or feedback form.
And how can staff benefit?
- Safe place – Access impartial and independent support and air fears and challenges in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
- Job market insights – Gain a better understanding of the latest hiring trends and assessment methodology.
- Growth mindset – Increase levels of self-awareness, confidence and boost motivation to tackle the transition and conduct career search activity.
- Career tools – Develop practical tools and techniques in their career armoury to prepare and drive towards success in their transition.
- Support network – Opportunity to connect with other individuals, share experiences and grow a new support network.
- Firm foundation for development – Better equipped and more resilient to drive own personal and career development in the long term.
I’d love to hear your views and questions about this blog. For more information get in touch!