I have experienced a lot as a working professional. I’ve been told that it’ll be my last day of work. I also experienced being part of a team that will be reorganized. During those times, I felt devastated, confused and stressed. Obviously, it hurts to be let go. It’s equally hurtful to know that you will be transferred to another group. Being let go for one reason or another is not a pleasant thing to be in. So when I learned about Lee Hecht Harrison’s Career Transition Service, I only wished that they were present in my life during those trying times.
Lee Hecht Harrison is a company that provides talent development solutions, helping individuals with their jobs and careers. What do they have to do with displaced employees? Part of their services is assisting employees move to the right direction in their career as they discover things about themselves including interests, aspirations, competence, etc. while nursing the pain or whatever feelings that were brought about by a termination.
If your employer hired Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH)’s outplacement service, you experience after being laid-off would have been different. LHH’s Outplacement or Career Transition Service (CTS) is a program designed to help companies make changes in their organization by taking care of employees that are impacted or laid-off because of the change. I don’t remember having been in a company with LHH or a similar program. But apparently, there are more than a handful of Philippine businesses who tapped them for such services.
During an intimate gathering, we met LHH Managing Director Vicente Kilayko who pointed out, “When employees have to be laid off, it’s really usually nobody’s fault. Changes happen. When two companies merge, you cannot have two presidents, one must go. Or if new technology comes in and manual labor is eliminated, then you have to let people go too.” He added, “But it should be the employer’s responsibility to make sure that the laid off employees are taken care of.”
I totally agree with Mr. Kilayko. Employers should make sure that impacted employees are taken care of and not be left out. Especially if you’ve performed well in your job. This causes mixed emotions – resentment, self-pity, anger, etc. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. A cousin working in a global organization kept sharing stories of her colleagues who’s been part of the organization for 5 years or longer are being made redundant. That’s really difficult to take in.
LHH is involved in Manager Notification Training, Onsite Notification Support and Outplacement. That means companies, particularly the bosses, are trained how to properly deliver the bad news that the person is being laid off. Then a LHH consultant is present during the big day to help the laid-off employees deal with the bad news as they go through the emotional reactions. Impacted employees are also told of the next steps to take as part of the service.
At this point, an LHH consultant may also be advising an individual how to share the news to family and friends. I’ve experienced this myself, unable to tell my family that I don’t have a job anymore. For a couple of days, I was going through the motions of going to work early and coming home in the evening. That was one tiring phase of my life. LHH’s process is basically holding the employees by hand.
The third process is Outplacement which can either be delivered to a group or individually. With LHH”s help, the participants are able to examine their career; clarify their career related interests, skills and values; evaluate career options; and apply the career decision-making process. These are things that are very much needed to help focus on the positive and move on after such a horrible incident.
Lee Hecht Harrison conducts the group workshops which can run for several days, while individual programs can range from one month to as long as one year. In the Individual program, they are provided access to a professional career consultant, adviser on financial planning and investment management, and on entrepreneurship. They are also provided online resources (database, resume templates, online training), plus job leads and market information.
Individuals can attend group focus sessions that build skills in resume writing, interviewing, negotiating, personal financial planning, investment management, entrepreneurship, debt and credit management and many other topics. They are provided office and secretarial support through work stations at the LHH office with unlimited Internet access, telephone, secretarial services, library with publications related to recruitment and job search.
During our meet up at LHH office, Operations Director Jo Ann Asetre, gave a sneak preview of some of the activities done during the program. We were given an Introduction to Career Transition, a walk-through on the career transition process. Ms Asetre shared that they’ve witnessed individuals with feelings of grief, anger, denial, frustration, acceptance and even excitement in the midst of job loss.
The primary objective of a career transition program is to assist participants in finding appropriate new career as quickly and as effectively as possible. This new career may be in the form of another job, a new business, or active retirement. The company sees career transition as a work project that can be effectively managed using LHH’s AIM framework that has 10 Milestones.
We did activities that focused on the first two of these 10 milestones – Survey Your Professional Environment and Determining Professional Objective. We discussed key trends in the different industries and how these trends affect career goals. We learned that a professional objective gives direction to the job search, sets the tone for resume and other communications and helps an individual select and prioritize his contact and target lists.
Indeed, one needs to be sure that what he is looking for fits his qualifications and that he is aware of a number of different possibilities, not just a single job. We worked on our professional objectives in a phrase or a sentence that makes clear to the individual what he really wants. If I had gone through LHH”s process before, I would have made the right decisions in my career.
That’s because Outplacement basically bridges the gap between careers. It provides a good opportunity to assess one’s employability in the job market with the help of a professional career consultant. LHH statistics show that those in the program find their next job 50% faster. Although I am aware that I have transferable skills that can be tapped in other jobs, LHH’s process would have helped me consider other industries.
Too bad LHH does not offer the outplacement program to walk-in individuals. Your organization must make this available to you. If you are affected by a change in your organization, we suggest that you contact your Human Resources Department and request that an outplacement program be provided. After all, companies hire head hunters to find individuals to fill up positions. They should also hire an organization like LHH by companies who are making the change and letting go of positions/individuals to offer the career transition program to those who will be affected or terminated.
“Corporate social responsibility should begin within. It’s not always about building homes for the poor or education street children. It’s also about looking out for the welfare of your employees. In other countries, particularly Spain, outplacement is mandated by the law,” points out Kilayko. Discovering Lee Hecht Harrison’s Career Transition Service made me realize I should be asking this service as part of my company benefits. As one considering going back to the workforce after a long time, this is something that I should be looking out for. Find out more about Lee Hecht Harrison through www.lhh.com. Or call their Philippines office at (+632) 8116884. LHH is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lhhphils