Digital Is Changing Everything…Even Career Transition | Mercer 2018

Digital Is Changing Everything…Even Career Transition

Our Thinking / Career /

Digital Is Changing Everything…Even Career Transition
Calendar21 February 2018

If I had a nickel for all the times I’ve heard “your people matter more than ever” over the last few years, I’d have a lot of nickels. Companies globally are making a concerted effort to help their people work better and live better, all while preparing their businesses for the future in an age of digital disruption.

Employees expect a consumer-grade employee experience during their 360 degree lifecycle with an employer; from application to transition. But expecting and getting are very different, especially when it comes to the transition part. 

As companies strive to become more innovative, more diverse and more digital, layoffs will unfortunately remain a constant. In fact, Mercer’s 2017 Global Talent Trends Report revealed that companies will reorganize on average, every two years.

Companies then have the difficult decision of how to handle their transitioning employees. They can do nothing, and risk lawsuits and/or the negative backlash on the world’s largest megaphone, social media. Or, employers can do the right thing, and offer career transition services as part of a severance package to help employees get back to work as quickly as possible.


Unfortunately, the outplacement space hasn’t changed much over the last few decades, while our workforce continues to transform daily. The high transactional cost of outplacement makes it difficult to offer service to all transitioning employees, which is why senior professionals are typically the benefactors. While many outplacement firms have started to move to online platforms to offer virtual service, these services remain curriculum oriented, one-size fits all, and are seldom on the terminated employee’s schedule. Seniority remains the decision-maker for the type and length of service an exiting professional receives.

So how can employers offer a more consumer-focused, digital career transitioning experience that meets the expectations of all ex-employees? Start by taking a page out of Uber or Lyft’s book. 

 Let your former employees decide when it’s convenient for them to have career coaching, resume development, interview preparation, job searching and networking support. 

Much like how Uber and Lyft provide a car when you ask for one regardless of time and location, why can’t transitioning employees have access to outplacement services on their schedule?  Why should some employees have access to service for one-month, when others receive support for half a year if needed?

When employers provide all terminated employees a solution historically reserved for senior leadership, negative reviews become few and far between and those unaffected by layoffs, the “leave behinds,” see a company that cares about all its employees, during the good times and the bad. Perhaps most importantly, your former employees won’t have the time to lament about being laid off…they’ll already have found another job.

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