Making the right decisions

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As an HR professional, choosing an Outplacement company to work with can be a difficult decision. It’s very dependent on what your company is like and in which areas it needs guidance. As the commissioning client, you should be given the opportunity to get to know your chosen outplacement Consultant. In turn, they should take the time to ask you about the issues and individuals involved, as well as giving a full explanation of the process and how they treat people. Knowledge and experience are crucial, and a good consultancy will have accrued a great deal of both over the years. Selecting the outplacement company that is suited to your needs is one of the biggest challenges facing HR professionals. You don’t want to find yourself wasting time and money, so choosing one that is a good match is paramount.

Mapping the road ahead

A good approach to outplacement is to allow a Consultant to initially spend some time with the company or individual, so they can get to know each other and discuss how to work together. We offer outplacement recipients an introductory session, lasting up to a hour, to explain what we do and importantly talk through their career to date. The process is two-way, so it’s worth communicating from the outset, openly and honestly. Once you’ve found an approach that will work, outplacement programmes have a variety of collateral benefits that are part of the discussion and coaching process.

To give just one example, if an individual is assessing where they currently are with their career and where they would like to be, it’s a good idea to build and strengthen their CV and LinkedIn profiles. These are useful tools in making someone more attractive for employers and allows the showcasing of strengths and knowledge in a positive way. It’s also worth taking time to map out some other areas that will be looked at, such as opportunities to practice interview skills. It might be that the Consultant also explores further avenues, including self-employment, contracting, interim and perhaps Non-Executive Directorships. Strategy and review are vital ongoing components to ensure an individual keeps on the right track and feels supported while they are doing it.

Getting along together

One of the most gratifying aspects of being a Consultant is when clients realise how much they are getting out the process and relationship. The ideal scenario will result in the candidates getting on well with their Consultant on a personal level as well as a professional level, thereby building a rapport. At Career Evolution, we have always worked on a holistic basis, to help support our clients and ensure that our outplacement candidates not only get the right job, but also one that will suit their preferred lifestyle.

This is where getting to know your clients will really pay dividends. As times and work patterns have changed, we have all realised that the daily commute and  9-to-5 work patterns needn’t be the norm. Many factors have changed people’s expectations of work-life balance and what they hope to achieve to fulfil their career. A good relationship between Consultant and client will enhance this – so it’s all about making the right choice in the first instance. That initial decision can make all the difference in the long run.

If you’d like to learn more about outplacement and how it can help your business, then contact one of our outplacement Consultants today. [link]


Mind your language

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I’m at an age where I’ve seen a lot of differences in language and word interpretation, some that are absolutely too rude or shocking to write down. I worked with an AI organisation about 20 years ago, but it didn’t have anything to do with artificial intelligence and everything to do with artificial insemination. These days, things should be simpler, as people can express themselves and be themselves much more easily – and hopefully with greater acceptance. But because of multiple meanings and interpretations, it can make it difficult for some people to communicate, for fear of getting things wrong and offending others.

I do find that it’s useful to make it clear to people that I may not know all the terms people are using or that I understand them, for example within an LGBTQ+ context. But I would like to ask questions, if they are happy with that, so I can learn. I also do always emphasise that if I do get anything wrong, it isn’t malicious or intended to offend. Many terms may be open to interpretation and it is often the case that not everyone can be familiar with every single term that is the acceptable one. The reverse is also true and many words that were perfectly acceptable for many years now have very negative connotations, for example around gender or culture. It is important to ensure that – especially in business – you create an inclusive, friendly environment.

A welcoming place

The inclusivity aspect is perhaps the most important aspect of working environment culture these days. So much has been spoken about remote working, the fear of returning to working premises again and the many barriers to getting people back into the office and collaborating in person once again. Workplace culture has to be welcoming and inclusive, and the way everyone speaks to one another is key to this – friendly language, the correct terms and amiable but professional behaviour. In this way, companies can be inclusive and tolerant, as well as efficient and productive.

The art of language can be difficult, but it should never become a barrier.  As somebody who speaks and writes to people daily, I don’t want to be stymied or constricted for fear of offence. Until you are fully aware of someone’s circumstances, particularly online, then it may be easy to cause unintentional offence – this may be most apparent with the many different terms for gender currently in use, for instance, and their preferred pronouns.

Open to interpretation

On the flipside, I find many people in Gen Z, for example, don’t know the terms that they use freely now were actually offensive back in the 1980s. It’s all about context too and tone of voice. If it’s obvious something has been said in jest, it’s often masked or excused as ‘banter’. But if someone takes offence at something that has been said entirely inadvertently, then it is hoped that a genuine error can be acknowledged. It’s important in these circumstances that the same mistake isn’t made again and that lessons are learned. Language can be a minefield and of course, in business, you’re not necessarily working with people you know well. It’s a learning curve, but one that will ensure that the true meaning of what we want to say is articulated in the way we want to say it.

There’s no such thing as an informal chat


In today’s working world, people seem generally to be incredibly busy – all the time. It is immaterial as to whether this is a hangover from Covid and people are still trying to catch up, or if it is due to the much-publicised skills shortage, and there is just more work to do.  Whatever the reason, be assured, that being invited in for an informal chat about a job role is probably in reality, much more serious, and you need to be as prepared as if you were being invited in for a formal interview.

Time is precious

People are generally too busy to waste time, so regardless of how informal the invitation seems to be, there is often more to it. Any conversation you have, remember, the other person might be sizing you up – whether that is on your ability, your skills and knowledge or your cultural fit. Be prepared and be able to demonstrate – and wow them – with your knowledge and experience.

Picking up the non-verbal cues

Don’t forget, people unconsciously make judgements on you, from how you dress, through to your body language, so think about how you would like to be perceived and make sure that you behave accordingly. You don’t want to turn up in your casual clothes to then meet with someone in formal business attire. It’s not so much ‘dress to impress’, more dress appropriately for the situation.

There is debate about how much communication is non-verbal, with some people suggesting it is in excess of 80%, but what is commonly agreed, is that a substantial part of your communication is shared without words. Instead, it will come from your facial expressions or how you use your hands when you talk. Hand gestures can be very useful in helping to make specific points, or it could be things like tone of voice, eye contact, posture and physical proximity.

And, if after all this, the informal chat turns out to be just that, don’t be despondent, as you don’t know who they might go on to mention you to – or when another opportunity might present itself.

Outplacement leads to brighter future for wellbeing consultant


Director Sue Thomas is absolutely delighted to share this story and would like to express her appreciation to Sam for this article, which describes her new business and the part played by outplacement with our new principal consultant Margery MacKellar.

Samantha Langford set up her health and wellbeing consultancy, Gaia Workplace Wellbeing, in October 2022. Now, having almost completed her first year, Sam has a busy order book and plans for business development. Once just a dream, her business became a reality following redundancy and outplacement support from Career Evolution.

When the company Sam had been working for as a Health and Wellbeing Advisor for 18 months made her redundant, with one month’s notice, on her return from her honeymoon, she was understandably shaken. However, her employer offered her outplacement support and despite initially being unsure whether to take it, decided to give it a go.

A winning pair

An important part of working with Career Evolution is the skills and experience of its Consultants. Sam was paired with Consultant Margery MacKellar, who worked closely with her to rebuild her confidence and help Sam recognise where her strengths were. Sam explains: “Margery was incredible. Without a doubt, without her support, I wouldn’t have got to where I am today.”

Thinking big in outplacement

Sam added: “Margery was so encouraging. She made me realise that the world was my oyster. I am passionate about reducing mental health stigma, promoting workplace health and wellbeing and ensuring staff feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work. Setting up Gaia has enabled me to do this and help more people. I have also been able to focus on areas I feel particularly strongly about, such as Menopause, Grief and Bereavement and Trauma Risk Management.”

With initial plans to set up as a sole trader, Sam ultimately opted to set up a limited company, as well as offering some associate training work. She focuses much of her energy on working with SMEs and not for profit clients. Through coaching conversations, Margery was able to support and encourage Sam to think big and pursue her dreams.

Wellbeing expert

Sam is a Mental Health and Suicide First Aider, Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) and Sustaining Resilience at Work (StRaW) Practitioner and Invisible Illness Advocate. She also holds a NEBOSH Certificate in Managing Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, as well as a Masters in Workplace Health and Wellbeing with Distinction.

Sam commented: “One of the things Margery helped me with was providing coaching but then also settings tasks to keep me focused on what I was trying to achieve. She made me write a bio statement that I felt really sold me and what I could offer. She encouraged me to turn my passive statements into strong statements that showcased what I was capable of. The support from Career Evolution and Margery has been life changing, and I am so glad I took advantage of the outplacement.”

For further information on outplacement, visit

Why use outplacement when there is a skills gap?

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There is a lot of conversation about a skills shortage across many sectors and job roles at the moment, which surely means that the power is currently in the hands of the job seeker rather than the recruiter. However, despite this, some employers are still sourcing out placement for individuals, even when the skills the individual has are very marketable, and there should be no issue in them securing a new role. This raises the question of why invest in outplacement services in the existing employment landscape?

Not ‘one size fits all’

Outplacement is not a linear process. There are many stages of outplacement, which will come in a different order for each individual depending on their personal circumstances. The main areas include identifying the options, preparing a CV, updating LinkedIn and putting a strategy in place, followed by interview training and check-ins. Outplacement can help an individual make sense of what needs doing, in what order, without it becoming overwhelming.

Turning the process upside down

Ensuring that a client is ready to get the next right job, can turn the linear process upside down. Some individuals will need to start with interview training rather than preparing a CV, if they end up with job interviews lined up, potentially even before their official leaving date. This can happen through word of mouth or if they have utilised their network effectively.

Making good decisions

Regardless of the order they approach their search for a new role, it can be a stressful time, and an outplacement Consultant can help make sure that the individual makes good decisions.  Whatever the outcome – and it’s great when a client gets the right job quickly – the individual still needs to take the time to record their achievements and substantiate them. In other words, make sure that their CV and LinkedIn profile is up to date.

Time to check-in

Securing a new role quickly has lots of benefits for the individual. Not only does it give them peace of mind and a clear direction, but it also provides the outplacement Consultant with the opportunity to check in with them during the first few months, to ensure that they are happy with their decision and help them assess if they need to try and change anything about their new role.  Outplacement is rarely wasted as a resource and continues to give good internal and external PR to the companies who commission it.

For further information, visit Career Evolution.

The problem with too much choice


Believe it or not, having more than one job offer on the table can be a very real cause of stress and anxiety. The pressure of having to choose and not knowing if you have made the best decision for your future career and happiness can be a little overwhelming. Obviously, I hesitate to say this to new outplacement clients, as at the time of redundancy, having choice about your next career move sounds like utopia.

Make a list

One of the things I do with new outplacement clients quite early on, is work with them to identify what is important to them in their next role.  The checklist covers all sorts of things, from type of role, sector, company size, possibility of progression, culture, working away from home, international travel and hybrid working. That’s before we have even started to consider salary and benefits. I also get them to think about their answers, and which of these are non-negotiable, and which are really only ‘nice to haves’.  This checklist is important initially to help them work out what they want to apply for, but actually, at the point of receiving a job offer – or even multiple job offers – this list really comes into its own.

Jobs are like buses?

Just like the saying about waiting for a bus, and two come at once, it is very likely the same thing could be said for job offers. It isn’t that surprising, as a client will have been following up on more than one opportunity at a time, so there is a fairly good chance that more than one offer will come through. What is difficult, is then balancing a definite offer, but maybe one that has some downsides, with one that is yet to be made. This is where the benefits of the checklist become apparent.

By revisiting and working through the checklist, my clients can then work out if the opportunity that is on the table meets all the non-negotiables on their list. If it doesn’t, they might decide to hold their nerve and see if something better comes along.

Seek advice

The benefit of working with an outplacement Consultant, is that you have someone experienced to talk it through with. The decision is ultimately yours, but your outplacement Consultant will  help you structure your thoughts and identify the pros and cons of each role. They can also advise you on how to speak to recruiters or the companies themselves, to ensure you keep your integrity and professional brand.

For further information, visit Career Evolution

The importance of employee engagement

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According to Gallup’s recent annual report, State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, there is a ‘global rise in employees who are thriving at work, even as worker stress remains at a record high’. However, it also reports that, although employee engagement is rising, the majority of the world’s workers are still quiet quitting. There is an estimated 59% of employees falling into this category. Something needs to be done to address this, as in today’s environment of skills shortages, retention is generally better than recruitment.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitters are your employees that are showing up for work physically but are not actually engaged with their role or the company that they are working for. Their feelings of disconnection with the business are more likely to lead to burn out and stress than more engaged employees, despite their productivity being much lower.

How do you reengage the quiet quitters?

As you well know, your investment into retaining your existing staff is money much better spent than in recruiting new team members. But do you know what things are most important to your team?   One area which needs to be considered is how your team is managed. This is particularly important if some, or all, of your team are working remotely or in a hybrid arrangement. Each member of your team needs the same level of appreciation, collaboration and support.

Culture, pay and wellbeing

Within the report, the three areas that employees are keen to see addressed are those of culture (or engagement), pay and wellbeing. While pay may be harder to address in the current climate, it is vital that you get the other two areas right. These can be as easy as ensuring that simple measures, such as regular meetings and encouraging people to move around more during the working day are in place, through to more structured culture and wellbeing programmes.  Key members of your team might also benefit from the introduction of coaching or other training programmes.

If you would like to discuss these opportunities, contact Career Evolution or visit the website today to find out how this could make a difference within your workplace.

Leaving a positive impression

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When an employee leaves a role, it’s a big change for everyone – both for the employee themselves and their employer. For the employee, if it is something they haven’t planned, then it will be outplacement that will help to ease the process. For the employer, it might be that the change has been forced upon them and they want to handle the situation as sympathetically and smoothly as possible. Although the change might not be something either party wants, it needs to be a favourable outcome for both of them.

Positive steps

Outplacement plays in important part in supporting people leaving a role, providing them with a positive experience of something that can feel quite negative. In this way, even someone leaving a role that they didn’t necessarily want to can still feel positive about the company. They will be able to provide positive references about the business in the future. If the decision has not been the individual’s personal choice, it can take some reconciling in their own mind. If you leave with unresolved differences and issues, then it’s very difficult to view a former employer in a positive light. However, outplacement and talking to professionals who can offer tangible solutions, is a way of taking positive steps in the right direction.

 Impacts of change

I’ve talked a lot in the past about the emotional impacts of change and how these can affect our personal and working lives. A change in one part of our lives often has a knock-on effect elsewhere. A major change at home can disrupt working lives, and equally a change at work can disrupt all aspects of our personal lives. This can be especially true if your job and working arrangements are finely balanced around wider commitments, for example caring for young children or elderly parents. It’s important not to allow your sense of direction during such transitionary periods to veer off track.

Building resilience

At Career Evolution, we can help employees move to a more positive place mentally and our key objective is to get them back in control of their own situation and future. We also encourage building resilience in such times and talking to someone familiar with the impacts of change can help with that. Preparedness too, of such things as CVs and interview techniques, can help going forward. When someone looks back at their transition between jobs, it’s important not to dwell on the negative aspects, but look forward at the positive ways that change has impacted them.

If you would like to talk to someone about providing outplacement support, then please get in touch with us today.


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Welcome to the latest vlog from Career Evolution!

We are continuing to share weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our latest vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from June, including the number of names in her role as an outplacement consultant and supporting her son through LinkedIn connections.

Watch the video below:

What’s in a name?

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Many people put a lot of stock into job titles and descriptions, and over the years we have seen the introduction of some interesting – and sometimes surprising – new job titles, from Metaverse Storyteller, through to Adventure Coach and Chief Disruption Officer. The list of new and fascinating job titles is endless and limited only by imagination or a need for the particular role.

A rose by any other name?

As an outplacement Consultant, my role is fundamentally to help you find a new job. But it’s not just about writing or rewriting your CV, the relationship between Client and Consultant is critical to the success of the endeavour. Working with people, who are often faced with a situation they haven’t chosen, can sometimes be difficult. It is important that we take the time to get to know each other, and that they trust me. That way, I am able to challenge them, to really understand what they have achieved and what they want to do next.

Over the years, I’ve been called a number of names in my role, some more favourable than others! My favourites, which I feel sum up the part I play, are Critical Colleague, Thought Friend, My Guru, and possibly my all-time favourite, the Career Whisperer.

Getting to the heart of it

While being challenged can sometimes be uncomfortable, the ultimate outcome is usually impressive – and sometimes unexpected – and enables my clients to identify, find and secure their next position. It’s always been a delight to get positive feedback that recognises the benefits of removing the staccato mechanics of job search, to concentrate on ‘people liking people’, making good connections and getting great results.

If you would like to find out more about corporate outplacement, visit