Being Human in Job Transitions

Being Human in Job Transitions

The Impact of Job Transitions

If starting a new job is one of life’s most stressful events, being transitioned out due to the economic impact of COVID is even higher on that list. Although aware of today’s economy, people are still shocked when they receive the news about the impact on their role. A reduction in force destroys a portion of one’s world as they know it. Their security, stability and well-being have been derailed, and it leaves remaining employees feeling confused and worried too. How can leaders make the process of job transitions a step forward into their next chapter while inspiring confidence?

Reduce Shock: Transparency and Connection in All Team Meetings

While your employees generally know the current economic state, do they know how it has impacted your organization? Do they understand the potential personal impact? If you haven’t conducted virtual all team meetings before, now is the time to start. Share updates on your industry, your clients or customers and your business. If you anticipate layoffs – whether it’s your first or a subsequent round – foreshadow this with your team. Be transparent within reason, advising that decisions will need to be made that will impact staff and provide an anticipated timeline.

Reduce Ambiguity: The Transition Plan

Organize a transition planning team while the list of impacted employees is being finalized. A well-orchestrated transition takes effort to ensure no pieces are overlooked. A seemingly small oversight can confuse affected employees and negatively impact the morale of your remaining team. A confident plan ensures unified communication before, during and after job transitions and should include:

  • Pre-transitions all team meeting – foreshadow what is coming and decrease rumors
  • Scheduling process for impacted individuals – a cohesive process and message minimizes worry
  • Outlines with assigned owners, checklist and FAQs for transition discussions – reduce errors and opportunity for misinterpretation
  • Pre-transition check-in with paired department leaders and HR partners – less stress for those leading the difficult conversations allows their focus to be on the affected individual
  • Recap communication plan with benefits and outplacement services – provide information and support when they have had a moment to process and can capture the details and ask questions
  • Outlines for post-transition team meetings – give leaders confidence in their message
  • All team post-transitions meeting – recognize the impact of the situation on everyone while instilling confidence and showing care for the remaining team
  • One-week post-transition check-in with impacted individuals – provide support beyond transition day to boost their confidence and build your alumni network

Reduce Uncertainty: Build Confidence and Be There

Transitions are stressful. Our current virtual work environment makes job transitions even less personal and more emotional. Ensure those who are facilitating the transitions are well-informed and confidently prepared to focus on what’s most important – notifying impacted employees with care. Whether they have one or many transitions, they need to empathetically approach each meeting as their most important conversation of the day. This team is the messenger of life altering news and must be prepared to be the recipients of anger, shock and dismay.

Remaining employees will be confused and worried. In a virtual environment they will wonder who has been impacted when they can’t immediately see who is absent. Many will think, “Am I next?” Combat their fears by sharing the all-team update immediately after the transitions take place. And don’t stop the all-team meetings then. Schedule one-on-ones with your team soon after the transitions so you can talk about how these transitions have affected them personally and how it will impact their responsibilities. Give them time to ask questions. Be vulnerable – let them know how these transitions have impacted you as their leader.

Provide Confidence: Intentional Discussion and Job Transition Services

The leader of the transition discussion should share the impact on the role and what to expect next, allowing for immediate questions from the affected employee. That is all – let the information process. Send them a recap email and schedule time to connect with HR the following day to discuss the transition and their benefits.

Providing outplacement transition services makes all the difference. You have the opportunity to change the perception from “I was let go” to “I was taken care of” and build alumni advocates for your organization. The services should support them with navigating today’s job search – their resume, cover letter, social media presence, mock interviews and networking best practices. Allow them the opportunity to follow up – most will have questions that require expertise along the way.

Organizations take great care in onboarding their employees and the same should hold true when offboarding, especially when the circumstances are purely financial reasons. Treating your affected employees as appreciated members of your organization – and humans – takes an unfortunate circumstance and sets a new path.

Job Transition Services from humanworks

If you’re interested in offering job transition services to employees or former employees of your organization, or for questions about how these services can elevate your people practices, contact me at