Termination. Letting someone go. Firing. Laying off. Sacking. Redundancy.
No matter what you call it, it can be devastating. For an employee, it’s not just lost income, it’s losing structure, colleagues and a piece of their identity. It’s human nature for them to worry about their logical next step – which can feel overwhelming.
Letting a worker go is an unpleasant, and usually uncomfortable experience for supervisor, too. Regardless of the person or the reason they are leaving, it’s usually a tough decision followed by an awkward and emotional conversation.
As a business leader, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself terminating an employee at some point and then hoping that the departure hasn’t caused a negative shift in your workplace culture.
You do have some control in making exiting an employee a positive experience – by providing them with their “next step”.
What is Career Transitioning?
Career Transitioning (or outplacement) is an employer-provided benefit offered to help departing employees make a smooth and timely career change. Career transitioning provides employees who have been impacted by organisational decisions, such as downsizing or a restructure, with support to transition into new roles and assist in the process of attaining a new role. Support can include reviewing resumes, job search advice, interview preparation and 1:1 coaching. These services are usually rendered by the internal HR representative or an external provider engaged by the employer. The provider works with both parties to ensure that the former employee has the best chance possible at securing a new position – and thus making the transition period is as smooth as possible for everyone.
Career transitioning provides focus, a sense of purpose and a ‘next step’ for employees who are most likely experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and uncertainty. It provides a pathway to a new, meaningful role.
Like most things, career transitioning needs time, care and commitment to get right. It’s easy for employers to get it drastically wrong. One common pitfall that an organisation can fall into is delaying the service.
A disgruntled ex-employee with nothing but time on their hands can use social media and other platforms, like Glassdoor, to broadcast their views on you, your company and the way their exit was managed (poorly). This not only negatively impacts the employer’s reputation but can have a serious impact on potential and remaining employees, via employer brand. To minimise this from happening, it is important to be proactive about arranging almost immediate appointments to help employees with their next career step.
A strong employer brand is critical to attracting the best talent. By ensuring that your exiting employees are immediately focusing on their careers there is less of a chance of them taking out their frustrations (of being laid off) online. When you’re trying to attract top candidates, those bad reviews and comments matter (pro tip: reply to the reviews on Glassdoor!).
It’s not just about the employees you’re laying off. It’s about the ones who remain, too. Layoffs cause a lot of anxiety among survivors who wonder if they’re next. Knowing their colleagues got help finding new jobs does a lot to calm those fears and also creates loyalty. When employees see you doing right by their friends and colleagues, they trust and become your brand ambassadors.
Investing in post-employment support can help your company by:
- Turning a negative into a positive
- Protecting your brand
- Protecting workplace culture and productivity
- Reducing employee turnover
- Controlling future recruitment costs (through a positive employer brand)
- Reducing the likelihood and protentional cost of legal action
It may seem counterintuitive (or just a waste of money!) to invest in the welfare of departing staff, especially those whom an organisation has targeted to leave for a specific reason. Career transition is an investment that decreases the risk of lost productivity (a hidden cost of organisational change) by ensuring that all affected employees are able to effectively navigate the restructuring process.
- Preparing exiting employees for their “next step” outside of your organisation – think helping them find a new job.
- Help maintain morale and productivity among your existing employees – think workplace culture
- Manage relationships with exiting employees to reduce the risk of negative actions against your organisation – think reputation and employer brand
What does a good process look like?
- Consoling emotions
- Combatting impost syndrome
- Coaching through listening and questioning
- Strategising on career paths
- Reflection on goals
- Reviewing resumes and LinkedIn profiles
- Practicing interview skills
- Providing (sometimes harsh) feedback
If you are now thinking that you need to provide a career transitioning service, but you have limited time or resources to dedicate to it, we suggest you find an outsourced partner to assist you.
There are a range of providers in the market and a diverse range of program offerings. When seeking to appoint a provider, choose one that can offer you a range of different options to meet the varying needs of your workforce. While you may initially approach a provider for a specific need at a point in time, you may need to engage them later to meet a different requirement.
PerformHR partners with brave business leaders to get an edge on their people strategy. Get in touch with the team to discuss how we use a coaching model that cultivates connection which shifts from problem-solving to question-based discussions to assist employees in their personal growth journey.