Help Clients Navigate Change and Positively Embrace a New Year

change neon sign

As we enter 2020, there have been numerous industry and labour market shifts that have impacted Canadian jobs.

In a volatile economy, any worker can have a stellar performance record and still lose their job. Role changes, company restructurings or expansions, personality and work conflicts, company culture shifts, and budget cuts can all have an impact on talent management decisions. Changes tend to happen during end-of-year or at the start of the new year when performance evaluations may determine how to best position the company moving forward.

The good news is that there are often exciting opportunities within the first quarter of the year as hiring tends to peak.

Here are 10 tips for helping your clients navigate a career transition:

  1. Advise your clients to pay attention to what is happening in their company and industry. If rumors of layoffs abound, it is important to clarify details with credible decision-makers. Staying updated with developments and trends is important in order to plan ahead and remain competitive. Clients should consider these telltale signs to assess whether or not their job may be in jeopardy:
    • Has the company lost a major client?
    • Is the employer buying a competitor’s firm, or is the company being acquired?
    • Is the company’s brand being impacted?
    • Is absenteeism increasing?
    • Are employees leaving the company or have they been terminated?
    • Are managers suddenly leaving the company?
    • Has the culture become misaligned and/or unusually tense or toxic, with morale at an all-time low?
  1. Help your clients to clarify their focus and values and to outline their accomplishments.
    • Support them in taking stock of their values and how they have changed over the past year. What values are they looking for in their ideal organizational culture?
    • What are they most proud of accomplishing?
    • How have they overcome challenges?
    • What ”power strategies” have they used that have been effective?
    • What kind of new opportunity do they see themselves shining in?
  1. Work with your clients to create a clearly focused, compelling résumé and updated LinkedIn profile that showcase their career narrative and powerful accomplishments. These are the foundational pieces that will make your client’s brand stand out from the competition and equip them to tackle their next career move.
  2. Advise your clients to use their discretion in making changes on LinkedIn. Many jobseekers make the mistake of preparing for a layoff or restructuring by taking too much action, too quickly, on LinkedIn. If an employee suddenly goes from 50 LinkedIn connections to 300, it can raise questions from the employer who may not be aware that the employee is planning a change. Encourage your client to make modifications to his/her profile gradually and to apply privacy settings so that changes aren’t broadcast to all connections.
  3. Encourage your clients to remain positive and empowered. It is easy to let feelings of hurt, overwhelm, fear, and rejection take over during a transition. Remind your clients to honour their values, confidently embrace the unknown, and pool their resourcefulness. Avoid posting or mentioning any information that is confidential, sensitive, and/or negative about his/her job or company. Doing so will only invite questions, possibly burn bridges, or escalate situations.
  4. Coach your clients to keep their finances in check. A job transition period is the perfect time to have a solid action plan for ensuring financial sustainability. Speaking with a financial advisor can help carve out a workable budget, navigate rising interest rates, and gauge household debt. Evaluating costs and reducing expenses is advised.
  5. Recommend to clients that they slowly “depersonalize” their workspace once they’re sure change is imminent. If clients know that change is on the horizon with their company, suggest that they slowly and discreetly start depersonalizing their workspace. In some cases of company restructuring, clients may not be allowed to return to the workplace to claim their possessions. This means they should secure access to important documents, milestone dates, titles of training courses, copies of performance evaluations, project results, sales records, customer or workplace commendations, awards, etc. — unless, of course, any of this data or material is deemed confidential under company policy.
  6. Make sure your clients are aware of their company benefits. These may include severance pay, accrued vacation, overtime and/or sick pay owing, options for continuing health insurance, retirement or profit-sharing accounts, etc. It would be prudent for them to schedule an appointment with an HR representative to discuss. They may wish to use up outstanding vacation days to take some time for planning and putting things into perspective.
  7. Remind your clients to avoid making rash personal or career decisions without careful reflection. Clients should strive to leverage their emotional intelligence and thoroughly assess the situation before committing to any big decisions. Being kind to oneself and demonstrating empathy and gratitude to others goes a long way in navigating a career transition.
  8. Encourage your clients to maintain solid networks with those they trust. The goal is to keep doing great work and sustain trusted relationships they may have spent considerable time building. In the event of a change, clients will need to secure strong references or referrals to maximize credibility and secure leads. More than 39% of recruiters report that they make use of referral programs as a source for hiring new employees — higher than any other source.

As we enter this new decade, help your clients to see the possibilities that await them. Remember, there is no failure, only feedback and lessons learned that can help to fuel growth and continuous improvement. A more prosperous way lies ahead, and change can open new horizons.

Start your new year on the right foot by taking courses through CPC and earning a certification or two!

Lori A. Jazvac is a passionate, award-winning Master Certified Résumé Strategist and Certified Employment Strategist through Career Professionals of Canada. As a multi-certified Master Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Coach, she specializes in helping clients navigate challenging career transitions. In 2013, an empowering vision inspired Lori to launch Creative Horizons Communications, a holistic career services firm where she virtually supports jobseekers around the globe to embrace their next career milestone. In her spare time, Lori enjoys dance, blogging, watching comedies and reality shows, yoga, and taking long walks in nature.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

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