No employer likes layoffs, downsizing, or letting people go. No employee likes being on the receiving end of a layoff notification.
But there are times when layoffs are necessary. It is simply a fact of business, especially in an uncertain economy. That’s why career transition support, or outplacement services, are crucial. But a layoff isn’t the only reason career transitions happen. Individuals seek to transition from one job to another for a variety of reasons, too. That’s why career transition support benefits both employers and employees. In this article, we’ll dig into what career transition support is all about and how it might benefit you.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article…
Click to jump to a specific topic.
- What are career transition services?
- Why career transition support makes sense for your brand
- How career transition support helps your employees
- What career transition services include
- Why do people make career transitions?
- What career transitions are possible?
- How to transition
What is career transition support?
A layoff can be devastating. For an employee, it’s not just lost income, it’s losing an identity and community of colleagues. Worrying about the logical next step can feel overwhelming when you’re not sure where to turn. For the employer, letting workers go is an unpleasant, uncomfortable experience. Deciding it’s necessary is no easy task, and delivering the news is just plain hard. Human resources pros will tell you it’s among the most difficult parts of the job. Not only are the departing employees shell-shocked and upset, but that feeling reverberates around the company as well. Survivors of a layoff can begin to feel their jobs are on shaky ground. Will they be next?
The way a layoff is handled is crucial, too. When it’s handled badly enough, it makes headlines. But even if it doesn’t make the news, a poorly handled layoff can sour company culture in as long as it takes to say: “You’re fired.”
That’s why termination with dignity should always include career transition
support to help workers take a step forward in the next chapter of their careers.
Career transition services and support provide assistance to employees in finding new work. After losing a job, the prospect of finding another position can feel overwhelming, especially if the loss was unexpected. With emotions high, career transition services provides support and guidance to help you close one door and open another to your future.
It can mean job coaching, resume help, networking advice, and more. The goal is to empower people to successfully move on to the next stage in their professional lives. Certified coaches provide support and tools to help people define their passions, direct their next steps, and land new positions, quite a bit sooner than if career transition services were not utilized.
A few years ago, GetFive coined the phrase ‘Career Sustainability,’ which is the idea that career success in these fast-moving times requires individuals to be successful on the job and in transition. A poorly executed transition can result in a big setback for an individual’s career. The reality is that employees who find themselves unexpectedly in transition often do not know how to pursue an effective job search. By the time they realize that professional advice is needed, they’ve dug a hole for themselves.
Experienced HR professionals know this and that’s why they ensure that career transition support is provided when there’s a layoff — so that the impacted employees don’t have to learn this lesson for themselves.
Let’s look in more depth at why career transition support is good for both employers and employees.
What career transition support includes
Career transition support, or outplacement, may include many facets. Here are some typical offerings.
A career coach.
These experts can get to know you and provide tailored advice that can help you not only get a job, but negotiate an offer with incredible benefits.
The first step to kick off a job hunt is actually a directional assessment. Take advantage of the assessments and exercises offered. These resources are meant to develop your vision, focus your plan, and help you achieve your dreams so you feel satisfied in the long term.
It is critical that the job seeker takes a moment to make sure that he or she is looking for the right role, not just the same role. Once the direction is established, it is time to ferret out the job opportunities and create a list of targets.
With the direction and targets in hand, the job seeker can now develop the essential messages that will be the basis for a strong resume, LinkedIn profile, and short pitch.
Resume and cover letter writing.
It is time to fine-tune the resume and cover letter. If it’s been awhile since your employees have been in the job market, career transition services coaches can help create documents that highlight the appropriate skills in a modern, professional format.
Interviewing for a new job can be nerve-racking, especially on a virtual basis. Coaches help people prepare by going over answers to common and difficult questions.
Losing a job might be the impetus for career change. If people want to shift focus, career transition coaches are able to help them learn more about their talents and passions so they can confidently choose the right career path. Coaches help you perfect your elevator pitch, prepare for tough questions, and learn the best way to highlight your skills at phone, video, or in-person interviews.
Everyone knows networking is a key component of getting a new job, but how exactly do you do it? Career transition services offer guidance, embracing the most effective networking strategies.
Losing your job can make people feel anxious. A job search that drags out can make them feel depressed. A career coach is like having a best friend who is always there as a sounding board to help people vent concerns and then give you a boost of positive feedback so you can keep your eye on the prize.
Fellowship from other job seekers provides essential emotional support, plus can help you be strategic about your search. Group camaraderie thrives and you realize you’re far from alone in your hunt for the next big opportunity.
This is not the time to be a wallflower. Sign up for webinars. Ask questions to your group. Request meetings with your coach. You’ll get out as much as you put in, so put in 100%.
Why career transition support makes sense
Why should you invest in career transition services for the employees who are departing your company? Employers should invest in career transition services for myriad reasons. Here are just a few:
It’s the right thing to do for employees.
Whether you’ve warned your staff that a major layoff is coming or not, the finality of that last day and the uncertainty of at least temporary unemployment is a shock to a person’s psyche. By providing them immediate career transition services, you are giving them a lifeline in that sea of uncertainty, something tangible to focus on that will give real value, right away.
It’s good for your brand.
One word: Glassdoor. A strong employer brand is critical to attracting the best talent, and in this job market, it means more than ever. By ensuring that your exiting employees are immediately focusing on their careers, rather than their frustrations at being let go, you’ll substantially reduce the adverse impact on your social reputation. Today, disgruntled employees who are upset about a layoff aren’t just complaining to friends and family. They’re posting on social media, ripping you on Glassdoor, and doing tangible damage to your employer brand in the process. And make no mistake about it, when you’re trying to attract top talent, those bad reviews and comments on social media matter.
It’s good for your business.
Handling layoffs and other types of terminations correctly is not just about attracting prospective star employees. It’s also about your vendors, customers, and anyone else you do business with. Bad Glassdoor reviews affect that aspect of your business, too. Negative headlines, even worse.
It creates security for survivors.
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 it creates loyalty, too, when they see you doing right by their friends and colleagues.
How career transition support helps your employees
Career transition services, or outplacement, helps employees navigate through an uncertain, unsettling time, helping them set a course and find a focus for their futures.
Career transition services provide a focus.
Employees are shell-shocked by a layoff. Whether you’ve warned your staff that a major layoff is coming or not, the finality of that last day and the uncertainty of at least temporary unemployment is a shock to a person’s psyche. By providing them immediate career transition services, you are giving them a lifeline in that sea of uncertainty, something tangible to focus on that will give real value, right away.
It empowers laid-off employees.
When people are using career transition services, they move on faster to the next stage in their professional lives. You give them the tools to define their passions, direct their next steps, and become hired again typically sooner than if career transition services were not provided.
Career coaching is invaluable.
This is especially true for people who have been out of the job market for a while. If you’re in the position of laying off longtime employees, it’s more than likely that they’re not up on the latest job search trends, don’t know the importance of LinkedIn, have never heard of Glassdoor, and have no idea how to structure their time in transition.
Career transition services speed up the job search process.
At GetFive, we’ve been doing this awhile, and we find that people who use career transition support make fewer mistakes, find their new place to land faster than those who don’t, and find greater satisfaction in their new role because they took the time to assess their direction and to align their search with their enjoyable skills.
No cost to employees.
When people lose their jobs, reduced income is a main concern. Fortunately, career transition services are complimentary to employees. Employers pay for these services.
For individuals: Career transitions
Career transition support for individuals
We’ve talked about why career transition support is vital for employers and their employees. But what about the individual perspective? People seek new jobs and even change careers whether they’re laid off or not. Let’s look at career transitions in more detail from an individual perspective.
Why do you need or want to transition your career?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that Americans hold an average of 12 jobs during the course of their working careers. So, career transition is nothing new. People have been changing jobs ever since there were jobs, and they do so for a variety of reasons. They are unhappy in their current situation. Maybe they don’t mesh well with managers or colleagues. Maybe they want to move up the ladder but there’s no rung available for them where they are. Maybe they’re in the wrong field altogether. Whatever the reason, it becomes clear that change is necessary.
One facet of career transition that is new, however, is a phenomenon that has taken hold during the pandemic. It’s so prevalent today, there’s even a term for it: YOLO. You only live once. YOLO is wafting through the millennial community, but more generations than just that are embracing it. It’s the concept that, if you don’t like your job, your career, or your field, why are you staying in it? Life is too short. The pandemic has caused people to take stock of their lives. Some are choosing to trade in their nine-to-fives for side hustles, jobs that take less of their time and give them more work/life balance. They’re pursuing dreams, not just practical paychecks.
What could you transition to?
This is the real question, filled with hope, possibility, and also, angst. Is your work making you happy, or are you just slogging through the days? Do you know what would make you happy? Some people do, many don’t. This is where career transition support can play a vital role.
At GetFive, we created The Seven Stories Exercise to help people discover their passions and dreams.
The exercise is designed to help uncover your true motivations. During this assessment, you will uncover your accomplishments and most enjoyable skills — patterns that run through our lives and ultimately become the elements for a satisfying job. Upon completion, you will have a better perspective on what these skills are. The assessment will also help you ace interviews and feel more confident in your career search.
Here’s how to do it, step by step.
- Make a list of all the enjoyable accomplishments of your life, those things you enjoyed doing and also did well. List at least 25 enjoyable accomplishments from all parts of your life: work, from your youth, your school years, your early career up to the present. Reach back and dig deep. Don’t forget volunteer work, your hobbies, and your personal life. This doesn’t have to include only work-related things.
- Don’t discount failures. Maybe the result of your efforts was not a roaring success. Maybe other people got credit for it, or maybe they under-appreciated it. For example, perhaps you were assigned to develop a new product and take it to market. Let’s say you worked on a project for two years, loved every minute of it, but it failed in the market. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you enjoyed doing it and did it well.
- Don’t include accomplishments you didn’t enjoy. If you slogged your way through a project that ultimately won a new contract, that’s great, but if you had to do it every day, would you be happy? Or say you got straight As in math in school. Wonderful, but did you love it, or were you just good at it?
- Rank your accomplishments. When you have come up with 25 accomplishments, rank them in the order of how important they were in your life. The first seven on the list are your seven stories.
- Write your seven stories. Starting with your first story, write a paragraph about each accomplishment. Describe what you did, how you did it, the skills you used, and why it made it to your list of seven lifetime accomplishments.
- Look for patterns. When you have your seven stories in front of you, assess them. What do they have in common?
- You will probably be surprised by what you find.
How to transition?
When you’ve assessed your interests and decided to make a change, what then? Here, too, career transition support can be extremely valuable. A career coach can guide you on those important next steps, including:
- Assessing your skills. You may be transitioning jobs or careers, but what you’re carrying with you are the skills you have developed and mastered along the way. Assess the skills you’re currently bringing to the table, and that can help guide you to where you want to go.
- Is upskilling necessary? You may need to take some online courses, get certified in different disciplines, or even go back to school to get a master’s degree or other credentials.
- Creating a timeline and a budget. When do you want or need to make this change? How long can you afford to be out of work while you pursue your dreams?