There’s no doubt that we are living in some interesting times – economically, these are some very risky times and, on many levels, they are unchartered. It’s easy to see this on a macro level as organisations all over the world try to stay afloat but I’m also seeing it on a micro level as a career coach. Individuals are feeling the impact of these tricky times as they face offboarding, redundancy, outplacement and more.
On an international level, there are a number of different drivers. Governments have pumped trillions of dollars into various economies to manage the pandemic, and some countries are still struggling to find the right way to respond to the crisis, something residents of Shanghai know all too well. The Russian war with Ukraine is impacting Europe in myriad ways, including through agriculture, causing basic staples like flour and bread to become more expensive. Supply chains all over the world are struggling to keep up with demand with COVID-19 continuing to impact workers. Interest rates are rising and the cost of living increases as a response.
It can seem like a bleak outlook when it’s all laid out like that and it’s no wonder that organisations are struggling to maintain control when the external forces are throwing so many challenges in their way.
Navigating a tight job market
The result of all of these factors is a tight job market – one that can unravel quickly if an organisation makes the wrong move. Companies of all sizes are seeing this: Facebook put several projects on hold during the pandemic so that they were able to focus on features that were in demand. In making this pivot, they also put certain hiring freezes in place, leaving employees uncertain about what the future holds.
Tesla, too, is looking to cut staff by 10% in response to the state of the economy and wider world. No organisation is exempt from needing to take measures to survive. What’s important is that organisations maintain as much control throughout this time as possible.
This control doesn’t have to be difficult to grasp:
1. Have you identified your best and brightest employees?
The hiring market is tight and if employees are made to feel as though their job is at risk, they may leave for a better offer elsewhere or start to consider that change of career that has been on their mind. Knowing who your best and brightest employees are means that you can focus on these core staff members when things get tricky. This doesn’t mean you neglect all other employees, rather you understand who is key to the success of your organisation so that you can make effective decisions.
2. How are you retaining these employees?
What kinds of resources are you putting into play to make sure these employees stay on board throughout tumultuous times? Stay interviews (ideally handled by an external third party) can be a huge help in this process. They can help you to understand what these employees want out of their role, how you can support them, and the incentives that will get them to stay even when times are tough.
3. How are you supporting those left behind?
Letting employees go is an unfortunate part of the times that we’re living through. There will be employees left behind who feel the weight of being a ‘survivor’. It’s important that you plan appropriately to ensure they understand how valued they are within your team, aren’t left with an impossible task load and understand the direction your organisation is taking.
For those who are being let go, it’s crucial to provide a comprehensive outplacement program to help them find employment quickly. In these situations, it’s easy for leaving employees to feel frustrated and let down, but supplying outplacement means that they are 90% less likely to talk badly about your organisation as they go. It’s a no-brainer – outplacement supports leaving employees, giving them the tools and resources they need to make their next move.