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Post-COVID career concerns

What businesses can do to engage with their employees and support their career development within the business.
FEB 22, 2022
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In this uncertain and difficult economic climate, many companies will need to take the difficult decision to make redundancies to reduce costs and create a leaner and more sustainable organisation. Although the need to cut costs drives many redundancy scenarios, there are other reasons why an organisation might need to make roles redundant - mergers or acquisitions, implementation of new technology, outsourcing, geographical relocations, change in business strategy, etc. 

Whatever the driver for the redundancies, there will be some questions on how these could have been avoided and what could the organisation have done to help reduce the need for redundancies. 

Below are 5 steps that can drive a culture of continuous skill-building so that your workforce can shift from becoming replaceable to renewable:

1. Redeployment. When there are roles that are no longer required in one part of the business, there is an opportunity to redeploy employees to other areas of the organisation that have vacancies. Hiring from within can reduce potential severance costs as well as any recruitment fees that may have been spent on filling these roles with external hires. This not only supports the individual, but the organisation benefits from utilising their internal skillset as it retains company knowledge and increases engagement and loyalty.

2. Reskilling. 87% of executives say their organisation is already experiencing skill gaps or expect to face them within a few years1. This often leads to businesses looking externally to fill these gaps and incurring heavy recruitment costs. Investing in reskilling employees can reduce the skills gap for the organisation in the long-term and potentially help avoid the need for future redundancies. 

3. Career development conversations. Enabling career development conversations between line managers and employees can help align employees career goals with the organisation’s objectives. Many managers are not equipped to have these types of conversations which can result in poor engagement and performance. Providing training for managers to be able to proactively engage in development conversations can encourage this alignment and create a more motivated workforce.

4. Coaching. Training line managers to have these types of conversations is one thing, but supporting this with coaching further sustains and cements this behaviour. Whether it be 1:1 coaching or team and group coaching, it can deliver the highest individual and business benefits over a sustained period and can further enhance performance. 70% of leaders and teams have improved performance after coaching2 and so investments made here can help the business work towards building a more renewable workforce.

5. Accelerate change workshops. As the speed of change is accelerating it is no wonder some organisations get left behind. The pressure on leaders to manage through change can often be overwhelming, so helping them understand the right tools and approaches to effectively guide their teams, can drive greater performance. Accelerate change workshops can not only help a leader steer strong team performance but it can also help employees develop resilience and the ability to embrace change.

At a time where everyone is grappling with the pressure to maximise on their budgets, redundancies can often seem an easy way to cut costs. However, with a growing skills gap, the greater need for talent mobility and the increasing pressure on performance, there are more cost-effective ways to leverage your talent effectively from within.

If redundancies are unavoidable, ensure that those affected are supported beyond their employment with you. One of the main reasons why companies invest in outplacement services is that they want to ensure that they are supporting colleagues in maximising their ability to successfully and quickly transition to the next stage of their career. Not only will it be valued by employees and be seen by remaining employees that you care for your employees, but it also helps improve your brand reputation.