Career Transitions – The best gift you can give your departing employees

By Lotte Struwing, Lasting Solutions – September 2019

A few years ago, when he was in grade 10, my oldest son got his first job. At that time, he was also taking a careers and civics class in school. Being in HR, and a career strategist, I took the time to show him how to write a great resume and explained how to best present his skills by considering which ones were important to employers and then demonstrating them. That lesson continues to serve him well and he shares that lesson with his friends.

He came home after school one day and he was very angry with me. He had been given an assignment to write his first resume, and he had handed in the one he’d written with my guidance. His grade was a fail. I was baffled; we both were. He was so upset, as he thought I gave him wrong information. It just so happened to be parent teacher that night and I was eager to understand why he had failed. The reason shocked me: his resume did not follow the outlined curriculum. When I spoke to the teacher, he showed me the curriculum – the style of resumes had nothing to do with the era we are living in. Quite honestly, a 1970s-style resume that will not work in today’s economy and does not properly prepare our children for it. The teacher and I had a healthy conversation about the curriculum and he could clearly see the difference. I offered to speak to all the children in the school about today’s resume realities, and even help to update the curriculum to give the kids a stronger head start in our competitive job market/economy. Sadly, my offer was met with a ‘no thanks,’ but my son’s resume was re-graded to a pass. Both of my boys have had a wonderful education, but this encounter was disappointing.  So, I took it upon myself to assist my son’s friends when they needed the help. Teaching kids the fundamentals at an early age gives them the head start they need to find meaningful employment.

This whole experience made me think (and this was in 2011): if our children are not being taught how to write a resume for today and the connection with finding work, how can people who have been out of school much longer have the proper skills to be able to navigate through the process of seeking work and remaining current in their careers? Add the lack of resume writing and interviewing skills to that with the stress of career transition and you have what can feel like a desperate situation. It was one of those moments that made me thankful for the work of excellent career strategists and robust career transition services.

How do we as HR Professionals serve both our employers interests AND those of a departing employee?  We understand some of the benefits of transition (outplacement) services, which include potentially mitigating extensive legal costs and assisting our departing employees at a tough time. But one benefit that is often overlooked (but equally important) is the impact transition services have on the employer’s brand. The influence on an employer’s brand will be impacted by the quality of the transition services. The best transition services will provide tactical and strategic tools for their clients. Tactical tools can mean helping to write a resume that gets noticed, sharpening interview skills so that they are focused and clear and providing job search strategies that can assist clients in finding the work they want to do. Even more important (and sometimes overlooked) are the strategic aspects. These include re-gaining personal and professional confidence and self-worth and finding meaningful work – all while maintaining a positive outlook. When a terminated employee moves on to something better, they are always thankful for the support they received during the challenging time and, with that, comes the positive reflection on employer brand.

In times, when budgets are tight and where every penny counts, are you sure the investment you are making in career transition services is spent the best way possible and your departing employees will get the career transition services they need? Ask these questions of your Transition Provider to help you make your decision.

  • Describe the resources clients will receive?
    • Knowing your employees receive the most current career strategy resources is what will help them find meaningful work.  Do they receive a ‘website code’ and no other material or do they get tangible resources as well?
  • How often are your resources updated?
    • Knowing your employees receive current, best practice, career strategy resources will give them the best advantage in finding meaningful work.
  • How is the service delivered? Do employees have a personal coach?
    • Many transition services are delivered 24/7 for the convenience of employees, however, the most results-oriented results occur working with a personal coach.  Be sure this is the primary delivery method for your employees.
  • What credentials and experience do your coaches have in the career strategy field?
    • Credentialed, career strategy coaches have the most current and specific knowledge to help your employees find meaningful work.
  • What is your success rate for clients obtaining meaningful work?
    • Most career transition firms measure client satisfaction and that’s important. Do they also measure the success rates of your departed employees finding meaningful work? Now that’s important! Ask them. Base your decision on that answer.

Your chosen Career Transition Services Provider should be trained in the career strategy field to help your departing employees learn life-long career management skills, build confidence, and professional marketing tools including resume and LinkedIn profile, so they can gain meaningful employment, quickly.

 If you find yourself in the situation where you are terminating employees and want to mitigate your risk, support your departing team members while maintaining your brand reputation, feel free to reach out via email at .


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