Twenty years ago, very few people had heard the term ‘outplacement’. Today, it is common terminology and practice in the workplace and often referred to as ‘career transition’. Many of us throughout our careers, may have been retrenched and found ourselves on a program – perhaps more than once? Job security is ancient history – even in the finance sector!

Many years ago a negative stigma may have been attached to being retrenched – it was deemed that you were let go because you weren’t good enough. Some people felt their career had come to a dramatic halt and everything was doom and gloom. Of course, we know this is not the case nowadays. Restructures, takeovers etc occur culminating in people being let go through no fault of their own. It presents a chance to embrace the opportunity to rethink careers and life and proactively take control of the next steps.

Outplacement is now part of modern business practice and you could ask yourself the question, “Why wait until you lose your job?” Be proactive and as part of your career planning, take yourself through the reassessment process even when you are in a job – this is a unique chance in your career to truly assess what you want to do. Are you in a role you enjoy or not?
To understand the outplacement process, you might compare it to a product marketing campaign. Before a campaign can be launched successfully to market a product, the product’s characteristics and assets must be analysed and marketing tools and communication pieces developed. You also must identify your target market. There are typically three phases – assessment, preparation and implementation.

The outplacement process can be an invaluable ‘learning’ for your career – whatever your age; it stops you from being complacent and activates self questioning around the following to cover the three phases:

  • Assessing your needs and interests;
  • Determining your work satisfiers and dissatisfiers;
  • Understanding the myths and realities of the older worker;
  • Competing with all generations – achieving a level playing field;
  • Understanding how your skills are transferable to other industries;
  • Who is in your network and how it can be best utilised;
  • Identifying your ideal job preferences;
  • Developing your written and oral communication skills;
  • Developing your resume and conducting yourself at interviews;
  • Planning your individual marketing strategy and defining target market;
  • Assess other possible options going forward, eg starting your own business, a portfolio career, retractable retirement.

While my background is banking, I spent many years in the outplacement industry around the world working with people at different levels of seniority to achieve sustainable careers. I have witnessed many great success stories over that time. People embrace the process and use the time and resources to honestly self assess what their desired future career path might be and work towards that end goal.

Being retrenched should be viewed as a launching pad to reinvent yourself for the career you want going forward to help you achieve fulfilment and your career goals.