Taking back control


In my many years’ experience of working with senior executives going through outplacement, I am struck time and again by the significant impact that a role being made redundant has on the individual that was doing the role. While it is easy to say a decision to make a role redundant isn’t personal, it is harder for the person at the other end of the decision to not take it as such. A big part of my early work with these individuals is to reassure them that it isn’t and give them the framework to take back control.

The opportunity to experience outplacement should always be seen as a positive thing. It is an opportunity for an employee to take stock of the direction that their career was heading. Working out if it is the right direction. If it isn’t, it’s also the time to work out what is.

Ask the right questions

My role in these instances isn’t to provide a neatly packaged answer. It is to ask the right questions to enable the other person to see the bigger picture. From there, they can then work out what they want from their next career move.

It might be that outplacement is an opportunity to re-evaluate what is important to them and their future.  This could mean a change in career, sector or location. It is also an opportunity to consider the negotiable and non-negotiable elements of a future job prospect. Since the initial lockdown in 2020, many people have discovered benefits in working from home at least part of the time. This might now form a non-negotiable element of some people’s career requirements. Likewise, salary expectations and types of working environments are all important considerations.

Stay true to your plan

It is all too easy for job hunters to look for something comparable with their last role when they are applying for their next career move. And if that is where they want to be, then there is nothing wrong with that. But, another benefit of outplacement is that a Career Consultant will talk through options. Perhaps even remind the employee of the non-negotiables that they identified at the start.

If you would like to find out how we can help in the outplacement with your team, please contact us today.

Interview you!

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We all know how important it is to be prepared for a job interview. Once upon a time, this involved making sure you knew where you were going, how you were going to get there, what you were going to wear and what you needed to prepare for the interview itself. However, today with the increasing use of technology and the greater levels of complexity brought about by Covid, going into an interview scenario can involve a little more preparation.

Well versed and well prepared

Preparation is the key to getting this right, whatever form your interview takes. Don’t be daunted and remember that nerves are natural; if we felt complacent, it would be a sign of not being engaged or really wanting to win the interview and get the job.

Virtually in real life

Although something that was already happening, certainly since the pandemic there has been a marked increase in interviews being carried out virtually and this is still very much the case despite relaxation and removal in some part of the UK of social distancing. Zoom and Teams have become such as fixture in the working world now, that it is natural that they are more frequently used for interviewing too.  If you are invited to interview via the screen, it is important that you attach the same level of gravitas to the situation as you would for an in-person interview. You still need to prepare and turn up on time, dressed appropriately for the interview.

Your interviewer might only be able to see you from the chest up, but it is recommended to dress as though you are in the room with them. What you are wearing and how you are feeling come across to the other person, even when the conversation is carried out online. Clients I have worked with have felt substantially better when dressed appropriately from head to toe, including putting their shoes on.  Check your equipment is working properly before the meeting and that your backdrop is suitably professional too – even if you are working from your kitchen or spare room. While there is some leniency for technical problems, childcare issues and animal invasions, can take you off your guard.

Bringing it face-to-face

In person interviews are on the rise now, and even if your first interview is via a screen, there is a good chance your second interview might be face-to-face. If this is the case, make the most of being in the same room as the person – or panel – carrying out the interview, as you will find it much easier to get your personality across and hopefully connect with them. With the ongoing restrictions around the pandemic, make sure you follow current rules and also keep within the parameters you feel comfortable with.  While elbow bumps might work for some people, if you don’t feel comfortable shaking hands at the moment, you don’t need to feel compelled to do so.

Smile and enjoy!

As daunting as the interview process can be, a big part of the process is about seeing if you fit with the company culture – and if the company culture fits with you. Smile, be friendly and be your authentic self. Your work is a big part of your life, so it makes sense to find an organisation that suits you.

If you would like to find out how we can help, please contact us today.

Preventing illness – knowing when to take a break

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As we enter autumn and winter, many of us will get our annual cold. With many of us still working from home, it’s interesting to look at how employees and employers cope when faced with the challenge of ‘being off work’ due to illness, when you are already working from home. To begin with, how can you be ‘not at work’ when you live there? If you don’t turn your computer on, are you not at work? If you don’t walk into your office space at home, are you not at work? It’s a minefield that warrants some clarification for everyone concerned.

All being well

With the widespread adoption of working from home if you are able to, there has been an increased level of honesty and trust introduced into the conversation. You know in yourself when you’re not firing on all cylinders and meeting your usual standards of productivity. But conveying that to your employer is not always as simple as it sounds.

There are a multitude of ailments that can impact you – particularly in the current economic and social climate – and not all of these are readily apparent. They can be mental health issues, such as anxiety and stress, which are more difficult to identify, articulate into symptoms, and then treat. Also, one illness can feed into another, so stress can lead to anxiety, which can lead to depression, for example.

Having time to yourself

We’ve already looked in earlier articles at making sure that you and your employees are not working without respite. It’s important to acknowledge the necessity for taking a holiday, ‘a week off’, even if you’re just day-tripping in the car or doing some DIY around the house. It’s a switch-off from work and a mental ‘change of scene’ – a break from working life. Mental health and wellbeing are perhaps even more important in the present time. And acknowledging some time to yourself will allow you recharge your batteries – this will help with both your physical and mental health.

It’s equally important that if you are unwell, you should recognise the fact and take the time off you need to get better. It’s one thing working through a cold from the comfort of your home. But if you suffer an illness with flu or something more serious, then you shouldn’t be trying to get that report out from your sickbed, or be constantly checking your emails. You will get better quicker if you take the time you need to get on top of your symptoms and seek out treatment for them where necessary.

People talk about the everyday stress and anxiety, as well as the physical strains of the last 18 months. Any job has all the usual stresses of meeting deadlines, managing workloads and working efficiently. To do it properly you need to make sure that everyone, from managers to staff, are able to be at their best. That means knowing when to step back for a moment and take a break. The benefits will be felt for all concerned in the long-term.