Being made redundant, or facing redundancy can be an extremely difficult time. Not knowing what the future holds following the end of your current employment is a worrying prospect, but support is available.
Here we'll be talking about the role of redundancy coaching (also known as outplacement coaching) which is designed to help people meet the challenges they face following redundancy. A coach will help you develop skills and give you the confidence you need to make the right moves forward and regain control over your career.
Coping with the emotional impact of redundancy
In the past a job was simply a way to earn money, these days it tends to hold a deeper significance. Now, many of us want a ‘career’ and not just a ‘job’. We may view this as a source of self-esteem as our work becomes entwined with our identity.
This human desire to excel at something and the sense of success felt when we do, is what can make redundancy an overwhelming and often ruthless experience. While we know deep down it’s not our fault and has little to do with our ability to carry out the job - understandably, it can be difficult to see things this way when what we feel is failure.
If you’re feeling despondent after being made redundant, see below for some guidance on how to stay optimistic during this difficult time:
Remember, time is a great healer - Though you may feel downhearted now, try to look ahead and see that things will get better. Counsellors have frequently reported that clients who sought talk therapy during a traumatic redundancy often come to view the experience as positive over the long haul. As long as you are prepared to be adaptable it can give you back control by forcing you to move on from a position that wasn’t moving in the right direction.
Try to remain positive - It's OK to feel hurt and allow the sense of rejection to sink in for a while, but try not to stay in this painful place. Take some time to consider your current skills before you begin looking for work or additional training. Experts warn that pursuing a very similar role to the position made redundant could potentially be damaging on an emotional level, especially if those jobs no longer exist because the sector is under strain. Instead, reflect on the areas in which you are accomplished and think about what you would enjoy doing.
Remember you aren’t alone - While it is easier said than done, attempting to put things into context may help to add some perspective to the situation. Remember the old adage “It’s your job that’s been made redundant, not you” and also remember that this is a common occurrence in the workplace - especially during times of economic realignment.
Coping with the practicalities
On top of the emotional fallout, there are a number of practical considerations to think about. If you are worried about how you'll meet your financial obligations, or if you're worried you won’t be able to support your family – there are certain ways to prepare yourself:
Know your rights
There are a number of laws that have been established to ensure your employer treats you fairly, so be sure to check your contract and official avenues to confirm the correct procedure is followed. For information on your rights, visit GOV.UK for further information.
Appeal against the decision
You do of course have the right to appeal against your redundancy. If your employer is trying to cut costs for example, you could informally contest this decision and request shorter working hours while agreeing to a pay freeze. You might also wish to take your case to an employment tribunal if there are grounds for dispute (e.g. you suspect discrimination or the procedure wasn’t followed correctly).
Check what payouts you’re entitled to
When you become officially unemployed, check to see what benefits you might be entitled to. Jobseeker’s allowance for example, will provide a level of financial support and if you are entitled to income support you may also be eligible for additional benefits. Visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for further advice on state help.
Plan your finances
If you receive a decent lump sum payment from your redundancy, avoid the temptation of booking a holiday or buying a new car and spend carefully. Unless you know with certainty another job lies around the corner, you should spend wisely. If you wish to pay off debts, it’s a good idea to reduce unsecured loans and credit cards, as these are usually more expensive.
If you are likely to be out of work for a considerable length of time, check whether your loans have payment protection that may help you and also remember to check the ins and outs of what will happen to a company pension if you hold one.
Start by practically working out how much income you have and how much time you can afford to not be working. Calculate when you need to have a new role and put that date in your diary. Now you are in a good place to start thinking and planning for your future.
Consider redundancy/outplacement coaching
Being made redundant is an incredibly stressful experience, and as discussed it can often be a knock to both confidence and self-esteem. If you're looking for a way to build your confidence back up so that you can face interviews and get results, coaching is an excellent tool that will provide support and encouragement throughout this time.
What to expect from redundancy coaching
Some of the questions you will likely address during redundancy coaching include:
- What are you truly passionate about?
- What motivates you?
- What do you really want from life?
- Are you making the most of any particular gifts or talents?
- What help do you need in order to further your career?
What do redundancy coaching sessions involve?
A coach will support you in creating a course of action to help you get back on your feet following your redundancy. Sessions will be available for as long as you need, providing support and guidance in a range of career development areas. These might include:
- identifying transferable skills
- pinpointing career achievements and aspirations and exploring how to apply these to future career paths
- learning how to see change as a positive life experience and opportunity
- exploring career options
- evaluating personal values and career goals
- practical guidance on how to adapt your CV and develop a presence online
- identifying your strengths and weaknesses to determine the best approach for your next role
- developing interviewing and job application skills
- honing your personal and written communication skills, research techniques, marketing strategies and negotiating skills
- creating a long-term career plan
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
Redundancy coaching also focuses on the emotional issues and setbacks that arise as a result of redundancy, and many coaches will use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to address these. NLP is a specialist technique used to break down the mental barriers and habits we all unknowingly create for ourselves over a period of time. This is thought to change how we make sense of the world - helping us to adjust our behaviours and actions so that we make the most of our lives and ourselves.
An NLP practitioner can use NLP technique to help you emerge from your comfort zone, helping you rediscover your inner potential. This encourages you to focus on goal-orientated, career development actions that can lead to a more rewarding and satisfying career.
How can redundancy coaching help me?
The focus of coaching is to ensure your next course of action is the right one for you - and that you are physically and emotionally prepared for future opportunities that come your way. Rather than rushing back into a role similar to what you had before, redundancy coaching offers constructive support to help you realise what you really want from a career and how to achieve this.
The benefits of visiting a redundancy/outplacement coach include:
Helping you to stay focused on the positives rather than the negatives
After redundancy you will experience a range of emotions that can be difficult to deal with. Coaching can help you manage the pain and frustration that often comes with this forced transition, while emphasising the positives to this time in your life - including the opportunity to start again in a career you’re passionate about.
Your aim is to find a job that will use your enjoyable skills in a field you are really interested in or passionate about. A field that will give you meaning and purpose. It does not have to be saving the world – it’s what purpose and meaning means to you, that is what is important.
Providing support and guidance
A coach can offer support when you feel overwhelmed. Their aim is to assist you through this time of uncertainty and to help you open up about concerns and worries that you may have otherwise kept to yourself.
Increase your confidence and self-awareness
Securing a new job requires confidence - particularly in your skills - and a coach can encourage you to reflect on your achievements in the workplace and identify what makes you happy. Knowing where your career satisfaction and strengths lie will open up so many doors in regards to future roles - helping you feel more optimistic and confident about your future job success.
Helping you market yourself more effectively in the working world
Marketing yourself effectively online is crucial in today’s job market, and a coach can often advise you on setting up profiles (such as LinkedIn) where you can advertise your skills and expertise while networking with hiring managers in selected companies. Such platforms have become a key part of people’s job search activity, and they provide excellent sources for contacts that you can approach directly for job opportunities.
How do I know which redundancy coach to choose?
It is important that you choose a coach that makes you feel at ease - someone you feel you can trust and can share your feelings with. Consider speaking on the phone to your potential coach before arranging a meeting, and ask for a complimentary session so you can see for yourself what redundancy coaching will entail.
Choosing a coach with references, the relevant qualifications and evidence of membership with a recognised professional body is also advised for peace of mind. Simply browse profiles, and when you find the person you resonate with, send them an email.