Given the prevalence of redundancies and the increase in self-directed career changes, it is important for organisations to shift their practices to understand, support and respond to these transitions.
As long-term unemployment significantly increases the risks of individuals experiencing poor mental health, it is important for organisations to support displaced employees through the transition and to find suitable work. Just under one-third of displaced workers are still unemployed after 12 months and re-employment rates are even lower for certain groups, including women, older workers and those with less formal education (OECD).
-Australian Institute of Business
Organisations that actively support exiting employees with their transition help mitigate against risks such as employee self-harm, or other mental health-related issues, as well as potential lawsuits. It also helps to ensure exiting employees maintain a positive association with the employer brand in the market. Most importantly, it helps people find their pathway through one of life’s most challenging and stressful events, with dignity and respect.
The remaining employees are also more likely to maintain favourable opinions of the organisation due to the way they have seen their colleagues being treated on exit. This is critical to help re-engage the ‘survivors’ who often feel guilty and disengaged after a redundancy process.
Transitioning Well’s Bri Hayllar says there are many things a leader can do to support the team through a restructure or role redundancies.
“The key to understanding your role is to understand the impact of change on people,” says Bri. “Uncertainty is not usually a human happy place. In the face of uncertainty, the brain literally doesn’t have a map. It can’t conceptualise exactly what’s coming, and therefore it predicts lots of potential outcomes. This can be exhausting, distracting, and depleting.”
“In times of change and uncertainty, we need to look after ourselves more. However, people can often be really concerned about impression management and so they may actually be doubling down on their work efforts and actually reducing their self-care at this critical time. Leaders explicitly giving people permission for self-care is invaluable. Don’t assume they know it.”
Take a look at the full video below where Bri outlines strategies for leading well through hard and uncertain times.
Establishing a reputation as an employer that provides genuine and practical support to both exiting and current employees can contribute to a healthy and engaged workforce.
Workplaces that educate and encourage help-seeking behaviours by providing practical tools, resources and information can help those in a career change or role redundancy to successfully navigate this transition.