2010 has started fast for us, with a key focus on redeveloping our career centre and creating in-house career development programmes for our clients. However, we are also having conversations with some clients about approaching business change. Despite a recovering economy and more positive business outlook for many, organisational restructuring is an ongoing business reality. For this reason, our newsletter this month has a focus on career transition and how you can help your people manage change.
We have also included a couple of articles for those experiencing job change with some tips on how to navigate the job market.
We are also privileged to be part of the Trade Me On The Job online series and the WorkChoice Day on May 18. Read more about these initiatives below.
This Issue Contains:
By Jo Mills
Originally published in Employment Today
A wide variety of businesses and organisations are making tough staffing decisions right now, and unfortunately the current economic climate has meant more and more people facing redundancy. So how do you help people make the best of a difficult situation and create a successful transition for all involved....while delivering on expected efficiencies and working within strict change budgets?
Assisting your people to navigate career transition
A wide variety of businesses and organisations are making tough staffing decisions right now, and unfortunately the current economic climate has meant more and more people facing redundancy. As a business leader, the pressure to create organisational efficiencies can push transition and change support to the bottom of the priority list, creating a ripple on effect of lower morale across all staff, increased issues with exiting employees and negatively impacting your employment brand.
So how do you help people make the best of a difficult situation and create a successful transition for all involved....while delivering on expected efficiencies and working within strict change budgets?
Prioritise Change Management And Recognise Redundancy As High Impact Change
This seems obvious, but too often the urgency of business decisions means that robust change management practices are neglected. Change is a business constant, but not all individuals have experienced the uncertainty of job loss, and as a result will be in unchartered territory. Feelings of anger, despair and fear are natural and expected, but without interventions individuals can stay in this stage of change for prolonged periods, derailing their career and future opportunities. Self sabotage such as refusing to engage in selection processes, out of character behaviour, rash decisions and poor performance can destroy years of good employee citizenship overnight.
Coaching support during consultation can provide an outlet for the above, and provide immediate coping strategies to individuals. Creating a plan of action to give feedback, starting to refresh a CV just in case, or techniques for gaining family support can foster a feeling of control and empowerment.
Provide Career Transition Support
Career Transition support provides essential tools, knowledge and objective feedback during a job search process. It is easy to assume that a job search is ‘common sense’ but job search is a learned skill. For those of us who haven’t been in the job market for some time or are used to an abundant economy, it can be a shock to understand that we have just entered into a sales process....a sales process where the product is me, and I have to get out there and prove my value to multiple employers.
Besides the interview, networking, relationship building and cold canvassing skills, career transition coaching is an opportunity to build confidence in our coaching clients As coaches, we see it as our role to help individuals value their contributions to the workplace, and present themselves as a unique candidate for future roles. Forward focussed coaching helps individuals to set goals for the future and short term, assisting them to move forward and take action with their job search.
Career Transition coaching also demonstrates compassion on the part of the organisation, which is visible to employees remaining with the business.
We find that most businesses enjoy the confidence of external support during this time, but Career Analysts also provide support and tools to in-house transition programmes delivered by internal management or HR. When this is a key priority for the internal team, this can be very effective and maximise existing business resource while providing cost effective support to staff.
No matter how many times you communicate, it is never enough and people will leave the clearest of meetings with confusion and questions. Management availability for individual discussions is essential in ensuring a smooth process and maximising individual support. Regardless of business as usual pressures, leaders need to be available to meet with their people during this time and be able to communicate the reasons behind the change clearly. Communication to the broader business will also help alleviate other staffs’ fear, and help them to make sense of what is happening around them.
Management networks can be used to identify new job opportunities or create introductions. The more people looking for opportunities for your staff, the quicker your people will find new work.
Care for the ‘Survivors’
Survivor Syndrome describes the feeling of guilt, anger or discomfort experienced by those not directly impacted by change. Coaching around how to interact with impacted peers and good role modelling from senior staff demonstrating compassion and confidence in departing staff members is essential. Post change, acknowledging the difficulty of the transition and debriefing with teams will help air any left over concerns of remaining staff. However, it may take time before a feeling of security returns. Moving staff forward requires articulating a compelling shared vision for the future, rewarding and celebrating good performance, and ensuring transparency around any ongoing change initiatives.
Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your compassion. Time and time again, we talk with candidates who feel that once the decision has been made to disestablish their role, management and HR lose interest in them as an individual. It isn’t always easy to know how to interact with people who have lost their jobs, but like any grief process, it is better to do something than nothing. Demonstrate empathy, concern and care to individuals while they remain at work, and ensure their colleagues are doing the same.
Help Individuals Develop An Exit Strategy
Once a decision has been made, the notice period needs to be carefully managed. Don’t leave your staff member alone to work this out themselves. Involve them in planning a handover, respectfully transitioning work of those leaving to those remaining. Continue to recognise good performance, set clear performance criteria (while recognising there may be same shaky periods) and support individuals to attend interviews and networking events. If you normally have farewell morning teas (for example) do the same for this individual or team as well. Coaching for staff around how to behave during this period, creating a plan, maximising great references and leaving with your ‘head held high’ can be extremely beneficial.
Create A Culture of Career Development and Learning
If career development and planning isn’t part of your overall strategy, then start introducing this for remaining staff. Taking control of your career, creating a strategy for the next 12months and developing skills will help staff to focus on positive change, help them to step up to challenges, and re-engage in the business. Career development is critical to employee satisfaction and positions staff for increased adaptability to business needs. Staff who have a career plan and goals, and are continually learning are often better able to navigate change and come out on top!
Successful transition relies on a number of factors including individual resilience, economic factors, media tone and industry growth or decline. As a business leader these are outside of your control, but you can implement a number of initiatives as above that support a more positive transition for your people. Use your existing knowledge of your people to focus your attention on what will best help them during this time, and don’t forget to do the basics (e.g. change management and robust processes) right. That, combined with genuine care and respect, will create a smoother transition for all.
To find out more about our careerTransition and Outplacement programmes, call 09 523 0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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More on Outplacement & Transition
Robyn Webb provides some useful insight into outplacement and transition programmes in her article dated 26/07/09 on nzherald.co.nz. Click on the following headline to redirect to the article now:
Transition Help Offers Lifeline When Axe Falls
Checking Your Tools
By Kathryn Jackson
If you are looking for a new job due to change, and wondering what else you could be doing to maximise your success, then this article is for you.
Let’s face it, looking for a job is never an easy task…and it can be even worse if you’ve been forced into it; whether as a result of redundancy or because you’ve just left school and for the first time in years there are no jobs immediately available.
No doubt there have been days when you’ve had to give yourself a break, and days when you’ve had to give yourself a good hard kick up the backside to check that you’re moving ever closer towards your goal of getting a new job - whether it’s the ‘dream’ job you’re after, or just a money spinner for right now.
If you feel like you’re going nowhere fast, then there’s little doubt that you’d be feeling pretty crap round about now…and possibly even ready to throw in the towel and give up.
The problem is that this negative frame of mind drains your energy, as well as the energy of other people around you. It saps your confidence, interferes with your problem solving skills and you can wind up focussing on obstacles and can fail to spot opportunities.
There’s a saying by the great Abraham Maslow that ‘if the only tool you have is a hammer…then every problem becomes a nail’ - and in the job world this often translates to firing the same CV out over and over again (with no luck), attending interview after interview but just getting nowhere fast or only checking out the same two websites for new job opportunities (that hardly come up).
If this sounds like you, then chances are you need to stop.
Stop right now and take a step back from how you’re approaching your job search, because you need to check out the tools that you’re using to progress your career.
Go back to basics and ask yourself;
- Am I really applying for jobs that I want (or am I sending my CV to anything and everything that sounds remotely interesting?!)
- Am I sitting at home/in front of the computer waiting for the right job to find me, or am I out there networking; asking for help from my entire social and workplace contacts?
- Do I send the same CV out over and over again, or do I ensure it highlights the specific knowledge, skills and abilities required by the job advert?
- Do I prepare for each interview by reading my CV, identifying the key things I want to discuss, checking that I have identified what how I might answer their questions and do I have a couple of questions I’d like to ask the interviewer about the job?
- Have I asked for feedback about my CV or interview style (either from a professional career coach or from the people who interviewed for a job that I’ve applied for)? If so, what have I changed about my job search strategy?
- What do I do during the interview process to make sure that I stand out to employers (for all the right reasons!)?
- Am I thinking laterally about the sort of jobs that I’m applying to – or am I just applying for ‘more of the same’…and will I therefore run the risk of finding myself being made redundant again later this year?
Chances are that no matter how proactive you’re being in your job search, there’s still something that you could do differently. If you reflect on the list of questions above, what could change for you?
If you’d like to discuss your current strategy in more detail, you can contact Kathryn at Career Analysts… or pick up a copy of How to Keep Your Cool if You Lose Your Job from the business section in high street book sellers across New Zealand (or online book stores) for great tools and resources to help you in your job search – whether you’ve been made redundant, or are simply looking for new ideas on getting back into the job market.
Kathryn Jackson is a Christchurch based Career Consultant for Career Analysts Ltd and the author of How to Keep Your Cool if You Lose Your Job (Random House/Longacre Press; 2009).
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WorkChoice Day 2010
Career Analysts is once again proud to support WorkChoice Day.
Workchoice Day is held annually and on a national basis, offering a link between New Zealand's future workforce and employers enabling students to gather knowledge first hand and share experiences of people employed in their field of interest.
Workchoice Day 2010 will be held on Tuesday 18 May.
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Trade Me is 'On the Job'
This week Trade Me Jobs launched an online series that follows four Kiwis as they hunt for jobs. The tips and advice they receive will be used on-site to help other job hunters.
Career Analysts is excited to announce our participation in this exciting new venture with Trade Me Jobs.
Check out the profiles of the four individuals as the start their quest to find a job, then make sure you keep watching as their story unfolds.
Click here or the image below to start EPISODE 1!
Make sure you watch out for our General Manager, Jo Mills in episode four (coming up in a few weeks!).
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