Maximising your Career Transition Budget

Maximising your career transition budget

Human resource professionals are often challenged to work out how best to support their exiting employees within their approved career transition budget. 

Career transition services are varied and can range from single workshops focused on specific job-seeking skills (e.g. resume building) through to six-month comprehensive coaching programs, with varying levels of investment required.  Uptake of outplacement services can also vary, on average ranging from 80 – 90%, but this figure can be higher, or lower, depending on a range of competing factors.  This can make it challenging to determine what to offer to your exiting employees and how much it is likely to cost you.

Here are our top three considerations for maximizing the support of your employees, whilst keeping control of your budget.

Understanding your workforce

When determining how to spend your outplacement budget, the first consideration is what your exiting employees may need by way of outplacement support and how likely it is that they will take up outplacement services.

When seeking to identify the needs and likely uptake of your workforce, ask yourself the following questions:

What are the prospects for re-employment?

When employment prospects are good, exiting employees tend to require less support.  The emotional impact of redundancy is less significant when feelings are not being further compounded by fears of unemployment. 

If employees are likely to gain employment quickly, it may reduce the amount of ‘hands-on’, practical support required. In this situation, you can utilise more cost-effective outplacement options such as group workshops or short 1:1 programs and you may be able to bank on fewer employees taking up the offer of outplacement support. 

What role levels are being impacted?

There are some common needs experienced by employees at different role levels which can give you insight into what type of outplacement program would be most suitable:

Individuals in low/semi-skilled roles

The most common needs relate to resume development, job search techniques and interviewing techniques.  Individuals benefit most from group-based interventions that target specific skill development relating to these areas, along with support around coping with job loss (e.g. workshops). 

Professional roles

These individuals are often very skilled at resume development and navigating interviews but need support with social media, networking or salary negotiation.  Programs that offer 1:1 coaching support to help individuals navigate networking meetings/events, social media platforms or specific salary negotiations are most effective for these participants.

Senior/Executive Roles

A redundancy at a senior level often prompts a need for a re-think on career direction, requiring comprehensive career guidance and planning. Further, executives often require help with the practical side of job seeking (e.g. writing concise, impactful resumes and cover letters), having traditionally relied heavily on others for administration support.  Programs that offer long-term, 1:1 support with an experienced Executive coach are most effective for this group.

What is the tenure of your employees?

While we must allow for individual differences, in general, navigating an (involuntary) redundancy can be more challenging in situations where an employee is of long tenure.  Employees with long tenure can experience a strong sense of identification with their place of work, requiring a longer period of adjustment.  Additional support in the form of a more comprehensive outplacement program better supports their needs and acknowledges their breadth of service.

Choosing a versatile outplacement provider

There are a range of outplacement providers in the market and a diverse range of program offerings.  When seeking to appoint an outplacement provider, choose one that can offer you a range of different options to meet the varying needs of your workforce.  While you may initially approach an outplacement provider for a specific need at a point in time, you may need to engage them later to meet a different requirement.  To choose a provider which will suit your needs long term, check out this checklist for choosing a career transition provider.

Planning for additional needs

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS) Mental Health Survey estimated that there were approximately 4.8 million Australians with a mental or behavioural condition in 2017/18.  Startlingly, this translates to approximately 20% of the Australian population identified as currently experiencing mental or behavioural conditions at the time of the survey. 

As such, it is likely that some of your impacted staff members will be experiencing a mental or behavioural condition at the time of their notification, which may exacerbate the emotional impact of the redundancy. To comfortably meet their needs from a duty of care perspective, you may find that you need to provide more support to the individual than originally planned. This may take the form of additional 1:1 sessions.  While these cases are generally in the minority, it is helpful to reserve a small proportion of your outplacement budget for this scenario.

Meeting the needs of your exiting employees while meeting the financial needs of your business can be challenging, but with careful consideration of your exiting employees’ needs, together with a flexible approach to outplacement program selection and delivery, you can arrive at a solution that ensures your employees are taken care of while achieving your budget. 

Chandler Macleod remains one of Australia’s largest employers of registered psychologists working within the business, through our Chandler Macleod People Insights Team, and has a strong complement of Executive Career Coaches.  At CMPI, we have a holistic approach to career transition needs, providing high-quality support and advice to our clients and their program participants, along with flexible outplacement programs.  Contact us at career& for a confidential discussion regarding your outplacement needs.

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