Why Outplacement?

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One of the key services offered by Career Evolution is outplacement, so it is hardly surprising it is a topic we regularly refer to and write about. But unless you have been on the receiving end of outplacement or have commissioned it for someone else, it is entirely possible you don’t know exactly what it is and how it can be beneficial to you.

Outplacement isn’t something that is ‘done’ to someone else, it is an important process that the recipient has to fully engage with to get the most out of it. In fact, your outplacement Consultant is going to make you work hard!

Time to refocus

If you are in the process of being made redundant it is easy to get lost in a negative mindset. However, one of the great benefits of outplacement is that it gives you an opportunity to really take a step back and think about what you really want to do next. It is an opportunity to refocus on your goals, as well as your wants and needs. You might be perfectly happy looking for a similar role in the same sector as the one you have been working in. Equally, you might be delighted to take a totally different path. Whichever it is, your Consultant will work with you to identify what you need to do to enable you to achieve your dream.

Up-to-date digitally and on paper

With all the recent coverage about skills shortages, it is natural to assume it will be easy to find your next role. But regardless of your experience, knowledge and transferable skills, it still takes work to find the right, next best move for you.  It is important that you commit your time to job hunting, and one of the most important things you need to do is ensure that your CV is up-to-date and your LinkedIn profile is an accurate reflection of your CV. At a senior level, you are likely to find that you will spend as much time, if not more, networking to find your next role rather than filling in application forms.

Don’t be disheartened

Whatever time of year it is, you will be competing against other people looking for that next career move too. However, having an outplacement Consultant working with you, will help ensure you stay focused and accountable, and that commitment to the search, will help you achieve the role that you want – and when you find it, they will continue to help you prepare for the interview and finalise your offer.

Time for change

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We all have a work persona, whether we acknowledge it or not. But with WFH so prevalent, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between your true self and your ‘work self’. The same is correct when it comes to making decisions about your career path and your future. Are you self-aware enough to identify where your future lies?  Are spending less time in the office, but working as many hours from home? Have you got a work-life balance that suits you? Or would it be beneficial for you to be in the office more?

WFH doesn’t suit everyone. Perhaps a move towards a more office-based culture would be a better fit. This is certainly true in creative industries, where collective thinking and collaboration are vital ingredients. And of course, not everyone has had a say in whether they work from home. If the balance isn’t suiting you, then perhaps it’s time for a change.

A fresh outlook

Don’t wait for a formal review to speak to your manager about your development. These conversations should be woven into formal and informal discussions throughout the year.  Discuss with your manager to ensure they are aware of your feelings and areas you would like to develop or change if possible.

However, if you are reviewing your career due to redundancy, don’t forget to ask your employer to fund outplacement. This will give you access to a professional Career Consultant to discuss and identify your options and how to achieve them. This might be in the same sector you occupy now, or it may be an allied industry – or a new area entirely. A Career Consultant will be able to identify aspects such as transferable skills, that can be deployed in an adjacent sector. They may also be able to steer you towards something you find more fulfilling or into a sector where the demand for new employees and thinking is high.

Taking control

Successful career management means taking control. The old notion of a career being a continued upward progression and of ‘jobs for life’ is one that doesn’t really sit with today’s workplace. People move around, roles and technology evolve, so sometimes you have to retrain just to keep up with modern working methods. Also, with remote working, the world’s literally your oyster when it comes to working locations. A Career Consultant can help you to identify what is most important to you, to prioritise your ambitions and analyse your skills. They can also look at aligning your goals with a work-life balance you would prefer – wherever you choose to work.

The role of positive workplace culture

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There is a lot in the news at the moment concerning workplace culture and negative trends like ‘silent quitting’. Workplace culture is the essence and definition of any business. It’s what unifies the employees and management. It decides how your company will be perceived from the outside world – from clients to competitors. On a fundamental level, it’s the company’s shared values and beliefs, its attitudes and the ethics that people in a workplace share. A positive culture is essential for any successful business. But in these uncertain times, how do you make sure that you introduce a positive culture into the workplace?

A positive atmosphere

Many companies have directly addressed workplace culture and gone to great lengths to engender a positive workplace atmosphere. This has in some cases extended to include places where employees can socialise, but usually it is more along the lines of a friendly, sociable atmosphere. It can include a certain degree of flexibility, to better suit a work/life balance. This may also include working from home, as part of a hybrid working model, or working certain days of the week. Flexitime has been a feature of employment for many years, but many firms have embraced a wider flexibility now. This can help accommodate school runs, for instance, or the care of elderly relatives. Acknowledging employee needs and addressing them go a long way to generating a positive workplace culture.

Minimum effort

Defining shared culture and values in your business is very important. You want people working for and with you that care about their jobs and their business. The ‘silent quitting’ or ‘quiet quitting’ trend is actually nothing new, but it has become popularised via platforms such as TikTok. The idea behind it is to only do enough in your role to get your job done. You won’t run the extra mile, or exceed the parameters of your duties or your salary. In short, it’s doing the bare minimum to keep your job. It’s spurred on by disillusionment and the fact that people don’t want their jobs to be their lives. They want to work to live, rather than living for their work.

Positive attitudes

However, in any company – and especially in a small one – this attitude can be detrimental to workplace culture. There’s no room for passengers and by encouraging a positive atmosphere and a pleasant, sociable workplace, this kind of attitude may be discouraged. Larger companies have a culture and set of values – often via mission statements or other mantra – that will be obvious from your research, interview and induction process with the firm. Culture even extends to how you represent the company via your dress and attitude. These are expectations from employers that it is hoped are nurtured and will prosper in businesses that have a positive workplace culture – and hopefully rub off on everyone else.

Who makes it into your Personal Boardroom?

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Everyone likes a good read. It’s even more gratifying if the good read can feed into your career and personal life. I recently read a book that I really enjoyed that is actually about a subject very close to home. The book was titled Who is In Your Personal Boardroom?. It was co-written by Zella King and Amanda Scott. It was recommended to me by a client and is well worth going through, to formally identify those people who can make a difference to you in different segments of your life.

Choosing people, assigning roles and having conversations with purpose

The book’s full title is Who is in your Personal Boardroom?: How to choose people, assign roles and have conversations with purpose. It’s objective is to provide ‘A practical way to build the network you need to succeed.’ As the blurb states: “You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. But when did you last think about who exactly that is, and whether you’ve got the right people around you? How do you know how to select, from your network, the right combination of people to help you be truly effective as a leader and in your career? Drawing on their work with executives and on academic research on the networks of high performers, Zella King and Amanda Scott show how to home in on the six to 12 relationships that drive and sustain success.”

Finding your touchstones

I found it to be a great read and it made me think too. The people the authors identify from different points in your life can be those that inspire you, give you courage, or are experts who share their knowledge. They can also be ‘connectors’ who help you make connections. I have used it to identify businesspeople in my life that add value. I have found I have a few ex-clients who fall into some of these categories – they know who they are. The criteria can be extended to your personal life too. Where do you find your energy and touchstones when you need them? The people you rely on, the people you can simply chat to, or share problems with.

You need that level of support throughout your life. Good, supportive friends are not always easily found. Personally, when I have a quandary, I have a family member who I also talk through sensitive issues with. This helps make sure I create a ‘win-win’ situation, or at least not offend anybody. I found the book to be a real gem and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in creating their own Personal Boardroom. It’s made me look at my networks and relationships from a completely different perspective.

Asking for a friend: the importance of requesting LinkedIn recommendations

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I was recently delighted to receive an unsolicited recommendation on LinkedIn from a client whose programme is coming to an end. It is so gratifying when someone thinks so highly of the service you have provided, that without asking, they take the time to write a recommendation and post it on your LinkedIn profile.  Of course, people are generally very busy or it doesn’t even occur to them to leave a review or recommendation for you. Afterall, they have thanked you in person, and that is so much more important, isn’t it?

Thank you for the thank you

While, yes, it is great to be thanked at the end of a session or after a programme has been completed, but by this client going the extra mile and posting their recommendation on my profile, they have not only acknowledged the benefit of what I provided to them, but also endorsed my services to a much wider audience. This sort of public approval is gratifying but it is also highly beneficial to you, particularly if you are looking to change your job or role within the business you work in.

Do as I say…

However, it’s not just the ones that do this unsolicited that are happy to do this, many people are delighted to provide you with a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile, if you just ask them to. It can feel so incredibly awkward asking for a recommendation, but it really shouldn’t. I tell my clients all the time that they just need to reach out and ask for that glowing testimonial or recommendation, even though I am guilty of shying away from doing so myself!

Regardless of how awkward it makes you feel to ask, it is so important that you have these public declarations on your LinkedIn profile. With over 800 million users across 200 countries (according to LinkedIn Stats for 2022), LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool, with an extensive reach.

LinkedIn, Trip Advisor for work?

In addition, we are now living in an age when sites like Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot are visited before a decision on a new car, a meal out or even the purchase of a holiday or washing machine are made. Why should it be any different for someone looking to recruit – and where would they look other than LinkedIn?

Do something different

So, next time you have received a good service from someone or are impressed with the quality of the work that is being carried out, don’t wait to be asked, make someone’s day and leave them a positive recommendation on LinkedIn. You never know what a good service you are providing them in return.

Developing the right environment for growth

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Growing a business is something that is part of every company’s strategy – whether they realise it or not! It is also part of every success story, but often is taken for granted, or simply seen as the day-to-day workings of the business, which ‘growth’ is a by-product of. Sometimes it happens naturally. As more clients are engaged or more products are sold, a larger workforce is needed to carry out the work.

Success leads to expansion, which may lead to diversification, which requires greater knowledge in affiliated fields. This too can lead to growth. The other side of the coin is that the more productive and expert a team becomes, growth will occur naturally in this instance as well. But what do leaders need to do to encourage their team to step up, and how do they grow their future workforce?

Grow your own

There are many ways to grow a company. The most obvious and simplest is to employ more people. This can primarily be done with the recruitment of experts, who possess prior knowledge of the roles, business and sector. Or course, this can be a competitive field, with managers and recruitment agencies battling all kinds of issues affecting the pool of candidates available in the workforce. These issues, some of which we’ve touched on in other blogs, are things like the departure of expert talent due to early retirement, better opportunities elsewhere and the long-lasting effects of the pandemic on supply and demand. Engaging with your workforce – making them feel valued, acknowledging their efforts – will encourage them to remain loyal and will also keep morale high. Both of these things will also help growth thrive.

Gaining knowledge

Alternatively, recruitment for growth can be part of an in-house training programme that will strengthen a business. This will make sure that by ‘growing your own’ you retain the vital skills at a time when there is a widespread shortage in all kinds of areas and sectors. Keeping knowledge in-house with promotion and mentoring will encourage talent to remain within the company. Many firms are keen to have staff improving their skills and knowledge, either in refresher or training courses, or with industry accreditation and degrees at all levels. It enhances the company’s reputation and provides staff and management with the right message of self-development and academic improvement.

The right environment

Developing the right environment for growth is a vital part of the process. Positive workspaces can have all kinds of residual benefits. Encouraging staff to use their initiative, to look for new opportunities and find new challenges, itself encourages growth. Expansion and diversification – new markets, new knowledge – will result in growth too, when the opportunity arises. And when it comes to higher level roles, senior teams and first level managers need to provide role models for each other. In this way, the management teams of tomorrow are already in place, as part of a natural progression and onward expansion and success.


Taking the right route

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The modern workplace – and the route to it – is changing all the time. Universities are not always offering the right path (or experience) into work for young people nowadays. In-house apprenticeships and earning-while-learning are becoming increasingly more important. Some companies are adapting and doing really well at this. Others are not. Traditional routes are no longer the only option. In fact, the experience for many roles is now better learned whilst actually working.

On-the-spot experience

There’s no substitute for actually doing a job to learn about it. It’s the quickest way to find out the processes you’ll need to be a success. Also, how the business works and the mechanics of the interaction between the staff. Of course, to secure a job, you need qualifications of some form, be they degree, diploma or other qualification. But increasingly businesses are offering their own apprenticeship schemes. These will create a workforce in the business’s image, tailored to its ethos and with the right attitude in place. In this way, the company’s ethics and practices are instilled from the outset. It’s a sound concept and will pay dividends in the future, with such aspects as knowledge-sharing and mentoring key facets of any successful business.

A different era

We are now in a different era of university education to the one many of us grew up in. For many years, there was a generation of students that were awarded grants. This made it a lot easier financially to make the decision to go to university. Nowadays, the student loan system places a considerable burden on students from the moment they leave education and enter work. Even if repayment is deferred until a certain earnings threshold is reached, the debt remains as an obstacle to other financial commitments, such as a mortgage or marriage. The range of university and college courses have increased too, and with it the number of students. Universities have become a combination of places of learning and businesses that need to make a profit.

Join the skills’ set

But it’s a lack of practical experience that is driving the current jobs’ market. The skills shortage is a problem and there’s no better way to learn skills than by taking on an apprenticeship. Some companies are doing it really well, such as the large local employer Airbus at Broughton aerodrome. This aeronautical engineering company, which is a key employer in the north west of England, is offering its own degree course.

The UK government website indicates the Top 10 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022. These employer rankings are developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research, which independently assess and rank the country’s top apprenticeship employers. The Top 10 are the British Army, Royal Navy, BT, Royal Air Force, Department of Work and Pensions, Clarkson Evans, Mitchells & Butlers, RSM, BAE Systems and Grant Thornton. The Top five SME Apprenticeship Employers in the UK for 2022 are Lander Tubular Products, Adopstar, Lee Marley Brickwork, Applebridge and Darke & Taylor. But some of these companies are not household names and there are some very big employers out there that could probably do more with regards to apprenticeships and training.

HR managers are having to look at different ways to recruit and bring in the next generation of talent. The most imaginative and forward-thinking will ensure their futures, probably deploying a hybrid formula of recruitment and apprenticeships. It’s a great way to harness talent and mould it into something truly successful in the workplace.

Interviews through the ages

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Like so many things to do with work and finding a new job, interviews have changed considerably over the years. This is particularly true over the last three years. Once upon a time, an interview would always have been done in person. Now that isn’t always the case. In fact, depending on the type of role you are applying for, you might find yourself undertaking a number of different types of interviews and tasks at different stages of the process.

In person interviews

In person interviews are still the most likely form an interview will take. That could be a 1-2-1 between you and your potential boss. Alternatively, it could involve a panel of interviewers, that might represent the different stakeholders of the business you are interviewing for. Where it is an in-person interview, it’s important that you know where you are going, show up on time, dressed appropriately and prepared for your interview.

Call up

These days, particularly in the early stages of an interview process, it is feasible that you will be asked for a telephone interview. While your interviewer might not be able to see you, it is still important that you are prepared for the interview. That might still mean that you are dressed for an interview, to help you be in the right mindset. Make sure you also have somewhere quiet and private to take the call, so that you are not distracted.

Zooming along

With the increased familiarity with video conferencing, your interview may well be on-line. This is particularly likely if the job role is a long way from where you are currently living, or the company’s head office is overseas. Similar to an in-person interview, it is so important to be prepared and ready for an interview. Check your IT works beforehand and the sound is clear.

Ready for your close-up?

Less likely, you might even be asked to send in a video. While this is a good way to showcase your presentation skills, it is very one-sided. Therefore, it is not something that is used with too much regularity.

Is the future of interviews AI?

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technology, you may soon be interviewed for that job you really want by a computer. In fact, in cases this already happens and is a preferred format for some positions as it removes all types of bias.

With a VR headset you – or rather your avatar – will soon be able to be interviewed by AI software. This could be advantageous for some people, who will like the fact that there is no human being judging their performance, while others will miss the opportunity to build rapport with their interviewer.

Be prepared

It’s important to remember whatever form your interview takes, love them or hate them, in person or on-line, some things remain constant. Interviews are your chance to impress your would-be bosses. They are also an opportunity to assess whether the company is a place you would like to work. Make sure you are prepared and ready to get the most out of your interview

Quiet quitting – the silent enemy

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A variety of different factors – from cost-of-living uncertainty to the pandemic – have made a lot of people examine their work-life balance with forensic detail. What suits one person will not suit another, as everyone’s personal and working lives are different. One of the trends that has emerged is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’. It is associated with both work and home life, and can impact both. It is also causing problems for employers, managers and HR professionals, as this ‘silent’ change revolutionises the way people look at their careers. 

Balance or imbalance?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to employees who elect only to work the specific hours of their contract and fulfil the remit of their roles to the letter – no more, no less. Any extra input, or rather output, from them will need to be paid for. It’s been attributed to a number of factors, such as overwork, employee burnout and mental health issues around stress and anxiety. But it is part of wider trend of people wanting to extend the flexibility and convenience of working from home, or the hybrid part-office/part-home working that many companies have adopted. Apparently, 60% of UK employees value their improved work-life balance and job flexibility over a 10% pay rise.

The lack of structure when working flexibly is being found to be detrimental to some employees though. There are factors such as not knowing when you are going to see colleagues, or when others will be in the office, which can itself cause uncertainty for staff. Some people need structure, uniformity and surety. The nine-to-five routine and ‘who is in the office when’ on any given day matters to them. Many workers now feel disengaged from the workplace, which may mean they also feel disengaged from their roles too. As a result, motivation and productivity have dropped and there has been a wholesale disengagement from working life. Some employees are not even sure of what is expected of them in work and what exactly their roles are for the company. 

The need to reengage

The drop in engagement began in the latter half of 2021 and has particularly affected younger workers. The social aspects of work – communication, chat, popping out to the shops or for lunch – have also been disrupted or supplanted altogether by working from home and the ever-changing routine of any given working week. This has led to over half the UK workforce now reportedly contributing to the quiet quitting trend.

If you don’t feel valued at work, are unsure of your role, or will only do the ‘bare minimum’ of what’s required of you, then this is partly due to poor management. Managers need to make sure their staff are aware that they are part of a wider company. They must feel supported and genuinely valued, and must be provided with a place to work where people can learn and grow, engage with other staff and collaborate to create great teams. Isolation and disengagement should never be felt by any employee and only if managers address this will ‘quiet quitters’ be encouraged to reengage once more.


Bouncing back – wellbeing in the workplace and the importance of resilience

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We are all faced with challenges and difficult situations at work every day, many of which are out of our control. The important thing to address is how you bounce back from them. We are taking a look at the importance of resilience and creating wellbeing in the workplace.

Promoting wellbeing

We all want to work in the right environment, where individuals and organisations can thrive. Wellbeing starts with the office and facilities available to the workforce. The office space needs to be designed with the employees in mind and should incorporate wellbeing measures.  Nobody wants to work in a cold, clinical or shabby office, it should feel inviting and fresh to help boost morale and productivity. You don’t need to spend lots of money to do this; you could try introducing plants, artwork or just add a splash of colour to the walls.  It’s easy to create a ‘home from home’ environment.

Be flexible

Where possible, help to promote a positive work life balance with flexible working. Many companies are now resorting to ‘hybrid’ working; not just because they had to during the covid pandemic but because hybrid working often more easily allows flexibility. Keeping healthy contributes to overall wellbeing, having a selection of fresh fruit available and different benefits like gym memberships, health insurance and cycle to work schemes can help motivate healthier lifestyles.

What is resilience at work?

Resilience can show how effectively you handle challenging situations in your personal life and at home. It is often described as the ability to ‘bounce back’ and comfortably carry-on during adversity. Resilience means facing challenges, solving problems, and recovering from mistakes.  It can help employees manage their stress levels and encourage motivation when facing challenges. Here are several ways that highlight the importance of resilience in the workplace.

  1. Helps with self-esteem

Resilient employees may have better self-esteem because they can face challenges that may be presented at work with confidence and positivity.

  1. Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism

Absenteeism can present itself when the individual is stressed, overworked, or dissatisfied with their job. They may be struggling with their physical or mental health. Promoting wellbeing and resilience can help alleviate stress and work-related anxiety. In turn Presenteeism, where an employee works longer than required or through sickness, can indicate a stressed environment where they are unable not to work. By supporting physical wellbeing, offering flexible working hours, and making sure workloads are manageable you can help to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism.

  1. Boosted productivity and supports innovation

A resilient workforce will perform. This will mean an employee will have the capacity to thrive. It helps them to adapt, cope, and respond positively. A resilient employee feels more comfortable and confident and copes better with the idea of failure. As a result of this, they will take well-informed and measured risks within the workplace by trying new things, sharing new ideas and helping to lead the team.

A workplace needs strong leadership which can demonstrate resilience to others. Learn about employers’ needs and consider resilience training. By taking on board all the different factors mentioned, you can help improve wellbeing in your workplace.