Times of crisis call for more than an updated CV!

Graph showing falling number of employees on payroll

It’s hard for any of us to ignore that the world is in the grips of a crisis. It is in times like this of mass uncertainty and economic instability that many Cambridge companies have to make difficult decisions, often leading to redundancies.

Katherine Wiid, Career Management Coach, shares her advice on how to support your staff so they’ll thank you:

Many of us will have experienced making people redundant as a result of a recession or economic crisis. How can we minimise the damage of redundancy on our ex-employees?

Firstly, it’s important for you, and your employees, to realise that you are not alone.

Back in April, a poll by People Management found that one in four employers were anticipating making redundancies as a direct result of coronavirus. That number has increased dramatically as coronavirus has wreaked havoc. In June, the number of people on payroll in the UK dropped by 600,000 (according to the BBC).

As a result, the job market has shrunk. Job vacancies have fallen to their lowest in three years, and only pandemic-related roles are expanding (think delivery drivers, caring and healthcare roles, telecoms and logistics).

There are two ways that redundancy can go - smoothly, or awfully!

Making or being made redundant is never a pleasant experience. As the person making the job cuts and in control of the situation, you have the opportunity to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

When employees are made redundant, they usually jump straight back into the job market - thinking about the role they have left and looking for something similar. But coronavirus has taken its toll on the job market, and those roles may not to be there anymore. And if they are, the competition to secure them will be fierce.

The job market has been reshaped by coronavirus, so it’s time for those made redundant to think a little outside of the box. There are so many new opportunities out there, that may allow them to do things they never dreamed of. Like working from home and not worrying about having to beat traffic to rush back home for whatever reason!

Perspectives as a career management coach to help your employees realise their potential and ride out redundancy

As a career management coach, the last few months have been an interesting ride. Within three short months, the market has swung from a candidate shortage, to a candidate surplus. The support I was offering three months ago is not the same as to what is relevant right now! Like many, the focus of my business has pivoted in order to meet demand and help people through the coronavirus crisis.

I am regularly contacted by employers who want to do something to help the employees they have sadly had to let go, and now this is happening more frequently than ever.

My initial advice is this. No matter what your budget is, redundancy brings with it a wave of emotions. Given that we are all riding the ‘coronacoaster’ at the moment, these are likely to be felt even more intensely than usual. Each employee needs someone to speak to - someone impartial and removed from the redundancy process, to allow them to work through their frustrations, fears and emotions. Otherwise the lasting damage can wreak havoc (not just on the employee made redundant, but on those left behind and the reputation of your organisation).

One of my main roles as an outplacement specialist is to listen. And when my client has shared their concerns, it’s my turn help them to find their own path through redundancy and out the other side.

It’s all very well offering your employees training on improving their CVs or updating their LinkedIn profile. But that on its own is not going to help in a shrunken job market where there are far more candidates than roles. CVs and LinkedIn are only worthwhile once we have figured out what really makes them tick, and where they want to go next. The results are usually very different once a client has truly understood their career motivations.

Sometimes that means digging into their career history, interests, and market demands. Helping them find the resources and confidence they need to achieve something they may never have thought about.

So many of my clients find the journey of redundancy challenging. But with a little support, and some 1:2:1 coaching, they can also find it creative and confidence building.

Your exiting employees aren’t going to thank you for letting them go. But, if you take extra steps to ensure they receive meaningful outplacement support that is more than just an updated CV, they will in time come to have a far more positive view of you and the situation.

Katherine will join Cambridge Network's Recruitment Gateway team on Thursday 16th July for its Virtual Jobs & Careers Fair, when she will present a one-hour workshop entitled 'An unexpected side effect of coronavirus: Career Resilience'. Sign up for this free event here!


Based in Cambridge, Career Ambitions has a strong reputation for enabling highly-trained and talented individuals to get through major career change, redundancy and/or indecision to realise their career potential and meet their ambitions.

Career Ambitions