New beginnings

by Iain Hopkins11 Oct 2017

Career transition services have traditionally only been thought about reactively, at the time of need. Today, with an increasingly contingent workforce, a proactive approach can reap significant dividends

After years of talking about change fatigue and the potentially damaging impact that relentless change can have not just on productivity and engagement but also on health and wellbeing, it seems employees have embraced the  concept to the extent that change is now fundamental to how work is undertaken. Change and transition between jobs underpins today’s gig economy, which consists of freelancers, contract workers and project-based workers. The rise of the gig economy has also forced the hand of employers, who now need to reconsider the relationships they have with employees.

“The dynamics of the workforce are undergoing a monumental shift, with more remote workers and flexible working options, including a shift towards project-based employment,” says Stacey Blanch, national sales director at Sageco – a RiseSmart Company. “Transition has become an increasingly normal part of today’s work environment.”

Redefining outplacement
Some traditional HR functions, such as outplacement, need to be reconfigured to match the changing needs of employees and employers. In today’s market, leading employers create environments that promote open conversations regarding employment transition options from the beginning of the employment relationship. In addition to flexible/remote working options, leading employers are also reviewing their operational environment to identify opportunities to implement project-based options, which when planned effectively can deliver significant benefits to employers and employees alike.

“Transition is no longer a notion contained within the traditional concept of outplacement, but rather is an evolving process of discovery within the established relationship,” Blanch says. “Sageco’s clients are prepared and empowered to consider employment alternatives upstream of the activities generally considered as ‘redeployment’ or ‘outplacement’ initiatives.”

Indeed, rather than considering an existing employee-employer relationship in terms of an ‘end-to-end solution’, Sageco refers to the relationship in terms of ‘beginning-to-beginning’. This is RiseSmart’s global approach to transition which assists employers in effectively identifying, designing or redefi ning alternative employment modes within their businesses prior to the requirement for change. As a RiseSmart company, Sageco guides and inspires companies and their employees from beginning to beginning.

Career transition for mature-age workers
Just as baby boomers have redefined all phases of life, they’re also redefining the concept of retirement. And while the ‘big ticket’ forces such as technology development and globalisation, automation and outsourcing offshore are increasing the rate of change within Australian organisations, demographic change is still having a major impact. Fortunately, the proliferation of flexible working conditions in today’s workplaces can provide a great platform for the retention of mature-age workers.

“No longer is retirement the end stage of one’s career at a predetermined age. Now, mature-age workers can explore a variety of ways to work differently in their career field of choice or apply their cumulated knowledge and know-how to new work options,” says Blanch.

Again, the ‘beginning-to-beginning’ approach can help. Employers using this philosophy are well positioned to have early change conversations with mature-age employees regarding their future. Mature-age workers benefit from participating in a holistic approach, which supports them in envisaging a positive and productive future. The key is in exploring the meaning of flexibility for each individual, as it is different for all.

Fundamental to this, however, is leadership commitment. “People leaders need to be champions – facilitating conversations, challenging the norm and monitoring targets and embedding them in performance measures,” says Blanch. “Senior leaders need to actively help all people leaders navigate the risks, challenges and opportunities of an ageing workforce to ensure their engagement and good practice.”

Sageco’s mature-age specialist team encourages employers to look through the inclusion lens at their recruitment and retention practices. In many instances, simple tweaks here and there can make all the difference – for example, website images and how these reflect the diversity within the organisation.

A proactive approach might also include targeted education and training for mature-age workers. Blanch cites research that indicates people in their late careers receive less organisation-funded professional development and training. Additionally, qualifications acquired later in life have as good, and in some cases better, pay-off than qualifications obtained at a younger age.

While employee loyalty is still sought after, today the key is building relationships. Stacey Blanch outlines what this means for career transition services

“The success of transition hinges on trust, the new cornerstone of the relationship between employer and employee. Part of preserving that trust is recognising that a company’s relationship with its employees is never finite. A specialised workforce bonded by strong company cultures means that former employees and contractors become brand ambassadors, references, customers, recruiters, and cheerleaders. These relationships will make or break the industry leaders of the future, and we’re here to preserve and protect them.

“The challenge is that as organisations we are hard-wired industrially, legally and culturally in a traditional relationship between employer and employee. As we move towards a time where employment contracts change and we have a much more contingent workforce, what are we going to do as an organisation to build trust and empower each individual who works within it? How can you help them create their career and go from beginning to beginning?”

Best practice career transition
Blanch outlines several key factors that employers should consider in order to embrace best practice career transition services:

  • Maintain positive and productive relationships: As the construct of our workforces change in our progress towards the future world of work, the ultimate goal of transition for organisations is to maintain positive relationships that span beyond employment periods or projects, and create brand ambassadors within our markets. Talent, and our access to it, will continue to become more fluid in the years to come. Now is the time when organisations need to be readying themselves to equally support their permanent and flexible workforces.
  • It starts at the top: Organisations that are serious about creating brand ambassadors must have the buy-in and ongoing support of their senior leadership. These champions must encourage and empower their people leaders to explore creative alternatives to employment that meet both the commercial outcomes desired by the business and the individual considerations of the employee.
  • Real flexible work options: There is a paradigm shift occurring within the relationship between employer and employee. Desired talent are becoming more selective in ‘who’ they work with, and this decision is strongly linked with the organisation’s ‘why’. A clear organisational position on flexible working arrangements that details their impacts and benefits on work-life balance is a ‘must have’ for organisations to remain successful in the future.
  • One size does not fit all: Transition projects of the future will include an increased diversity of specialty groups that will each require unique approaches to transition. Whether you consider the varying needs of workers, from ‘blue collar’ to ‘white collar’, mature age to Generation Z, or special knowledge holders or contractors, to name a few, it is clear that the process and outcomes of transition mean something a little different to each group – let alone the L&D differences that occur at an individual level.
  • Speed and agility matters: As a RiseSmart company, Sageco is powered by revolutionary technology that helps participants get started quickly; find targeted, smartly matched roles quickly; get a résumé in no time, and still have a personalised coaching, résumé writing and job sourcing experience. Sageco’s participants are landing roles 40% faster than the Australian national average – globally it can be up to 60%. We are really confident about making new beginnings possible, faster.

A fresh approach
A fresh approach to career transition that includes the latest technology can provide a helping hand. For example, Blanch says the ‘high touch/high tech’ approach is common across the transition industry – however, RiseSmart has taken that to a whole new level, with demonstrated capability to accelerate career transition beyond market expectations – 40% faster than the national average in Australia/New Zealand.

RiseSmart is the first to pioneer the ‘Team of Three’ approach: a dedicated transition coach, a dedicated résumé writer to provide tailored personal branding, and a personal job concierge, handpicking roles for consideration.

RiseSmart’s revolutionary patent-protected technology includes SmartMatch, a proprietary algorithm that gives participants a shortlist of the best-fitting jobs in just seconds. “Our contact discovery engine reveals contacts in the participant’s existing network who can help them source roles,” says Blanch. “In effect, our transition coaches are accessible 24/7 via the RiseSmart platform, with messaging systems, a wealth of resources and organisation tools.”

In addition, RiseSmart’s ‘Insight’ is the first client portal that provides clients with real-time access to the progress of their transition projects and individual participant program. Further, the company provides hard facts on ROI for business impact studies.

Alison Monroe outlines how Sageco has gone from strength to strength

“Organisations have long known Sageco for our mature-age expertise. In the last four years we have increasingly worked on broader career transition management projects with large organisations who sought out our unique holistic approach. In January 2017, Sageco became Sageco – a RiseSmart company – and we believe we can now offer the best-in-class solutions for all ages and all stages of transition.

“This year, we have been managing the typical internal transitions of becoming being part of a bigger entity with global reach. We are already known as RiseSmart New Zealand, and in January 2018 Sageco will become RiseSmart Australia, incorporating the well-known and loved Sageco solutions. I am proud to lead the Sageco team through this journey as national director, Australia and New Zealand, and am looking forward to the Sageco suite of solutions becoming available globally under the RiseSmart banner.”

From reactive to proactive
However, while a multifaceted transition provider can help, relationships and trust lie at the heart of effective career transitions. Blanch also urges employers to be proactive.

“Transition for the future world of work needs to be a proactive activity. That requires an evolving series of conversations and not a reactive single conversation brought about by market and/or business changes,” she says.

“The more open and transparent the transition conversation is, the more powerful it is for each individual to act confidently and manage their career.”

Sageco – a RiseSmart company makes new beginnings possible, faster. We provide expert transition services to support people through organisational and demographic change. Sageco is part of RiseSmart’s Network of Global Solutions in 70 countries.

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  • by Bill Fotsch 12/10/2017 11:37:34 PM

    If I were to choose between working on transition services for employees or more effectively engaging employees, I would choose the latter. Empowering employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company, is a proven way to drive results and engagement. Industry leaders like Southwest Airlines, Johns Hopkins, Capital One and BHP Billiton and hundreds of private companies treat their employees like trusted business partners, enabling them to make more money for their company and themselves. They consistently see both profits and engagement soar. This Forbes article provides more background:

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