Employment is not always as secure as we think it is and the reality is that many of us will find ourselves unemployed at some point in our professional lives – for a variety of reasons, of course, but unemployed nonetheless. The recent challenges throughout the pandemic have put this into a harsher light, with many people finding themselves without work for extended periods of time and with very little warning.
It can be daunting to navigate the job search process again. Updating resumes, securing job interviews and consequently attending those interviews can be enough to make most people doubt themselves and feel frustrated at the position they’re in. Then, once a new job is secured, onboarding and settling in can be a mammoth task in itself.
But the support that you need when you’re facing unemployment can have a huge amount of sway in how well you navigate this challenge. It can be the difference between thriving and drowning.
Unemployment and mental health
Retirement aside, being without a job is rarely ‘in the plan’. When employees find themselves being let go, it can be a trigger for a number of negative effects on mental health.
Many people experience:
- Financial distress
- Loss of purpose
- Loss of control
- Impacted self-esteem
- Loss of social connections
- And much more.
Facing unemployment is a tumultuous time and while each of these things on their own may be manageable, they are often compounded, making it difficult for individuals to cope.
As uncomfortable as it is to address this statistic, unemployment itself is associated with a two- to threefold increased relative risk of death by suicide compared to being employed.
Studies also show that the longer unemployment continues, the more individuals will feel these detrimental effects, and the harder they’ll find it to re-enter the workforce.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unemployment and mental health – for many, becoming unemployed involuntarily can be the beginning of a downward spiral that can last weeks, months or even years. This is why having the right support is so important.
The power of outplacement support
The goal of outplacement is to transition you out of your previous role and into a new role with a new organisation as soon as possible.
It helps you to:
- Navigate the transition and upheaval that comes along with such a tricky time
- Move to a new role quickly, minimising your time unemployed
- Receive valuable coaching in preparing for the job search
- Update your resume and job-searching skills
- Keep focused while you focus on a new goal, rather than dwelling on the loss of employment.
Not unemployed yet? Outplacement still matters.
The nature of unexpected unemployment is exactly that … it’s unexpected. There are a few things you can do now to make sure you’re ready if your organisation takes you by surprise. One of these is to investigate the outplacement support you will be provided upon leaving, if any.
Start by understanding how any leaving employees have been supported in the past. For many reasons, you might now know this information, which is when you should approach HR.
When it comes to letting employees go, HR are often seen as the ‘bad guys’, since they are the ones to deliver the bad news. In difficult times, we all like to be able to point and blame, to make ourselves feel better. Most of the time, HR accept this difficult part of their role, but while they have the power to hire and fire, they also have the power to support through these transitions.
Whether unemployment is around the corner for you or you’re secure in your role, knowing what support is available is important. Here are three things you can speak with your HR team about:
- Ask your HR team whether outplacement support is provided
- If it’s not provided, agitate for it, citing the benefits we’ve outlined above
- Push to have outplacement support provided by a third-party provider
You may not always have control over the trajectory of your career, particularly when restructuring and redundancy come into play. You do have the power, however, to advocate for outplacement support to make these difficult transitions easier.
Are you tackling the job search now – or thinking about it for the near future? Preparing your LinkedIn profile for the task is one of the most valuable things you can do to put your best foot forward. Take part in my mini course that gives you the best tips and tricks to showcasing your expertise and capabilities. Secure your place now.