As organisations restructure themselves to be future-ready, redeploying existing talent into new roles seems like a clear win-win, but can often be simply the path of least resistance . Read these 6 tips for a successful redeployment strategy.
It’s almost impossible to miss the many articles about the future world of work where we are told that by 2025 more than a third of roles will no longer exist; skills and capability requirements will continue to change at an accelerated pace and job tenure will continue to shrink!
It comes as no surprise then, that we should expect a significant increase in redeployment – the transfer of an employee to another role within the same organisation.
Most organisations offer some form of redeployment support to their impacted employees. Redeployment success is frequently measured via number of employees with role changes who source another internal role i.e. we redeployed 50% of people whose roles no longer exist in our structure. However, this is not the true indicator of a successful redeployment strategy. Real success is to be found in the number of employees who redeploy, who are engaged to perform well in their new roles and express a desire to actively develop their careers and capability in partnership with their employers, taking into consideration not just for current role requirements but also looking to the future.
So how do we reinvent redeployment to ensure that employees are career agile and future skilled for new economy jobs?
Success in the new economy requires a considerable mindset shift. We need to reconsider redeployees to better harness their talent and potential, recognising the opportunity to source new roles internally, through developing their careers in ways that contribute positively to their future job satisfaction, employability, and the achievement of organisational performance. We need to move away from the label “Redeployee” to a more accurate and optimistic epithet “Talent”.
In my experience, redeployment often consists of providing information about available roles and assistance with internal recruitment processes. The opportunity exists to support employees to develop career agility, future proof their skills and make improved and informed decisions about their next role, as illustrated via Sarah’s story.
“I was told that my role was redundant but the company wanted to keep me on; I was given information about new available roles and I had 4 weeks to make a decision or take a redundancy. I really liked my old job, my leader, the team, the task content, so I was mourning the loss of that and really confused about what I wanted to do next.
I spoke to friends, family and my manager and managers of some of the areas that had new roles and received a lot of different advice that to be honest made me even more confused. In the end, I took a role because it was there and I was scared to leave the company in what I thought was a tough job market. It turned out to be a big mistake. I didn’t gel with the team and my day to day activities gave me no satisfaction. 6 months later, I found myself in performance management for the first time in my life!”
Sarah’s story is a lose: lose: lose scenario – for her; her leader and the organisation. Sadly, this story is repeated in various versions every day.
To establish truly successful redeployment processes, the potential of your organisational “Talent” needs to be genuinely embraced. Here are 6 ways to design and implement a redeployment strategy that contributes positively to building an engaged and talented future workforce.
1. Be clear on what you want to achieve from your redeployment strategy. How can you futureproof your employees’ careers and skills to align with current and future organisational needs? What does success look like and how you will measure outcomes? Advances in survey technology make it easier to collect engagement and performance data specific to individuals who have redeployed.
2. Provide employees with professional career decision making support. In Sarah’s words – “I really needed someone independent and skilled in career planning to put structure to my thinking – if I’d had that I am confident I would have made a different decision re my next role and development plan”. An added benefit of good career planning is the ability to self-reflect on current capability and how that aligns to future skill requirements.
3. Ensure good systems are in place, so that employees can source information about opportunities. Information about available roles, how to apply, and practical assistance with resume and interview skills remains important but it’s not enough by itself in today’s rapidly changing world of work. For larger organisations, consider creating a digital talent exchange, by establishing systems whereby talent can search for opportunities and leaders can search for talent.
4. Enable your leaders to engage in effective career conversations by building their capability. Many employees are great impression managers – but are often afraid to share detail pertinent to their career with their Boss. It can be difficult for an employee to say : “I really want to step back for the next 6 months” or “ I really want to make a career change”. Supporting leaders to ask open questions about skills, values and interests facilitates a deeper and more meaningful outcome.
5. Innovate and create
Initiatives such as career months or internal career fairs; lunch and learns which share stories about critical career steps taken by your leaders; identify and share research articles and webinars about future careers and the changing world of work.
6. Create a culture of continuous learning and career management More organisations are flagging change earlier with their employees, sometimes 2-3 years out, identifying the need to develop new capabilities and skill sets for future economy roles and developing support strategies based on a shared responsibility between the organisation and the individual to reskill.
Helen Burton is the Executive Director of Lee Hecht Harrison in Qld and has over 25 years’ experience in restructuring, change, redeployment and career transition.