How to Handle Workforce Restructuring and Career Transition When organizations approach layoffs without the proper preparation, the process can be unpleasant and negative and we tell you the right approach to come out of the situation

By Joel Paul

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Globally, layoffs have become the common phenomenon and part of the normal ebb and flow of how business is done. In India, there is still a lot of social stigma attached to losing your job and most people do not view being laid off as an expected outcome during times of change. In recent years, layoffs have become more common as a result of larger economic and hiring trends. Even when layoffs are the only recourse for a company facing financial difficulties, shifting markets, or redundancies, they can invite bad press and hamper the reputation of the company if not handled properly.

When organizations approach layoffs without the proper preparation, the process can be unpleasant and negative, adversely affecting the reputation of the company and its leadership. Unbeknownst to many, there is an alternative. It begins with partnering with an outplacement services provider to deliver contemporary career transition services. These services help impacted employees land new jobs quickly while providing companies the support and best practices they need to handle the layoff and notification processes. For companies, not only is providing outplacement the right thing to do for employees, it also results in positive alumni employee sentiment, better employer brand reputation, and good standing within the community.

Most times, employees impacted by layoffs are confused and intimidated about their next step, as many of them are not aware about the current job market or the skills required to land their next job. In such a scenario, they go to their family and close friends for advice as they don't have anyone else to guide them on how to handle this transition period, resulting in poorly executed job searches and long periods of time without work. Career coaches provided by outplacement services guide these employees and mentor them as they determine their career goals. Employees and career coaches work together to devise the best strategic job search plan with an actionable goal based on the individual's unique situation, skills, expertise, and career goals.

What does the data tell?

Outplacement practice has been a standard part of the severance package offered to employees by organizations around the world for many years. While the practice hasn't been widely publicized, outplacement services are being offered to workers in India through their employers. In fact, a recent study found that 72% of the survey respondents had been offered outplacement services at the time of layoff and 97% of employees surveyed felt that the outplacement services they received were really beneficial – so much so that the majority of those surveyed said they would pay for these services themselves, if not offered by the employer. The study was focused on assuring employees and employers that even in times of workforce restructuring, they can brave the change (outplacement or internal redeployment) with the help of the right outplacement partner and restore hope for positive outcomes.

As part of the coaching model, job seekers are challenged to approach their transitions with more positivity and productivity. Some examples of career transition advice include:

Identify skill gaps- No matter their current employment status, professionals are encouraged to periodically re-assess the marketability of their existing skillsets and identify improvement areas through a skills gap analysis. Especially during times of job transition, it's important to remain competitive by updating and acquiring the skills required for current job opportunities. When working with a career coach, job seekers are given the tools and support necessary to analyze the gaps in their resumes and explore the best ways to fill those gaps while identifying transferable skills.

Increasing online visibility - As most companies hire online these days, it's important to update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Since the majority of recruiters use digital profiles to evaluate potential candidates, it's more important than ever to insure your digital profile is current and compelling. The professional resume writers and branding experts provided through contemporary outplacement service providers help job seekers with expertly written resumes, digital profiles and customized cover letters to ensure they make it to the next level – the interview. In addition, career coaches help job seekers follow best practices for building a social media presence and a professional brand.

Networking – Whether you're currently looking for a job, or not, remember to keep your professional networks active. On a regular basis, connect with old colleagues and attend seminars and workshops to make connections in the relevant industry. Contemporary outplacement service providers have technology which can help you in this.

Reduction in workforce is stressful for everyone, not just the employees whom it directly impacts. But, the impact of layoffs can be mitigated by showing impacted employees compassion and direction throughout the process and helping ease their transitions into new jobs.

Joel Paul

Director of Operations, RiseSmart India

Joel Paul is Director of Operations, RiseSmart India.

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