opinion piece

BLOG – The business case for helping departing employees reskill and upskill

By Dan Davenport, President and General Manager at Randstad RiseSmart & member of WEC’s Career Management Group

Published on 14th December 2020

As the world of work rapidly evolves, the shelf life of skills continues to decrease and new skills are constantly being introduced to meet business needs. According to recent data from Gartner, the number of skills needed for a single job increases by 10% each year and one-third of the skills listed in an average 2017 job posting will not be relevant by 2021.

The rapid changes caused by the pandemic have only increased the number of new skills required and, by default, have widened the gap for employees. Top employers today are reskilling and upskilling their staff to close this gap, whether the employees are transitioning internally or externally.

In a previous post, I highlighted how offering departing employees outplacement benefits can help improve an organisation’s brand and bottom line. With effective outplacement, individuals can receive a freshly written, targeted and optimized resume and social profile, personalized career coaching and access to highly targeted job leads. The right outplacement services partner also offers impacted employees online tools and resources to match their specific needs and accelerate the job search.

Employees impacted by layoffs can benefit from added support to ensure they have the skills needed to capture the attention of hiring managers and make a successful career transition in today’s highly competitive job market. Beyond traditional outplacement benefits, organisations that care for their employees are going above and beyond by offering departing team members reskilling and upskilling opportunities. Below, I’ve highlighted a few benefits of doing so.

Support a positive experience throughout the employee lifecycle

When you let go of employees, their exit experience is an important last step of their employee journey. Organisations pay careful attention when they recruit and onboard employees to ensure a positive first impression of our company and continue to focus on the employee experience throughout individuals’ time with the company.

The exit from the organisation should always be an extension of the experience you provide to your employees. You’ve taken care of them as employees and you can continue to take care of their needs, including helping them skill to find their next opportunity faster. By helping your employees expand their skill sets, you can set them up for success with their career transition, whether they’re moving to a similar role externally or considering a switch to a different role or function altogether.

Lead with corporate responsibility

The global pandemic has ushered in a new era for corporate responsibility, in which organisations are thinking more about giving back to their communities and creating sustainable, future-proof workforces. According to a recent Trust Barometer report about leading during crisis from global public relations firm Edelman, 86% of respondents said they expect organisations to focus on societal and personal problems, including treating employees well.

Given the widespread impact of the pandemic, the road to economic recovery will entail helping millions of individuals return to the labour force, and organisations are realizing the importance of helping departing employees get back on their feet. By continuing to invest in employees and help them learn, even after you make the difficult decision to let them go, you can increase the chances of these individuals landing their next role sooner. And organisations that do right by impacted employees during these challenging times will be seen as employers of choice in the future, as well as perceived positively by current and prospective customers – helping drive long-term business success.

Leave the door open for boomerang employees

While it’s never easy to lose talented employees – whether as the result of a layoff or due to their own decision – treating your employees right when they exit presents the opportunity for these individuals to return to your organisation down the road. The Corporate Culture and Boomerang Employee Study by Workplace Trends shows that 40% of employees say they would consider returning to a company for which they previously worked.

Providing employees with a foundation of learning upon their departure with encouragement to further their career development from another organisation can invite key talent to return to your team with fresh skills and knowledge that will lead to faster productivity.

A recent Randstad RiseSmart study found that since the onset of COVID-19, only 4.5% of employers said they include skilling courses as part of their current outplacement programs. By offering reskilling and upskilling solutions to not only current team members but also to exiting employees, you can help support their career growth and long-term employability as they find new roles outside your organisation.

This post is part of a series of blog contributions by members of the World Employment Confederation’s Career Management group exploring the value added of career management services to people, organisations and society, in particular in a world of work disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis.

WEC’s Career Management group was founded by leading global career management firms LHH, Randstad Risesmart, Right Management and Intoo and keeps expanding to national federations in countries like Belgium and Poland. For more information about WEC’s activities regarding Career Management, visit our dedicated webpage.

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