Protecting Your Brand During Transformation

In the ever-changing world of work, organisational transformation is now par for the course. How can you remain an employer of choice?

In the ever-changing world of work, organisational transformation is now par for the course, and the impacts of globalisation and digitisation mean that organisations are faced with the need to restructure, as well as to recruit and develop all levels of employees.

And in today’s digital world of social media and employer review sites such as Glassdoor, employers must remember that former employees are customers too. So how can you protect your brand reputation during organisational transformation?

1. Create a culture of career management to help you retain and develop the right people

Research shows that supporting employees’ professional career development is the top driver of engagement, retention, and productivity. Yet many companies still rely heavily on antiquated practices, like “one and done” annual performance reviews, to manage performance. In order to ensure employees remain engaged and motivated, particularly in today’s fluctuating job market, managers must commit to providing career management support across the business.

A common misconception around internal career management is that the only solution is promotion to a higher level role. Of course promotion is not possible in many cases, but a move to a different department, more exposure to senior leadership or the opportunity to work on different projects, might be. We no longer talk about the Career Ladder, but the Career Lattice: a more flexible model of career development that illustrates how employees can move laterally, vertically, or diagonally within an organisation in order to expand their knowledge and skills – whilst meeting the changing needs of the organisation too.

2. Empower managers and employees to have honest career conversations

A successful career management programme begins with a culture of open and honest career conversations between manager and employee, ensuring alignment between individual aspirations and organisational objectives. And responsibility for this does not lie solely with managers: 89% of employees believe they are or need to be responsible for the development of their own career. Ultimately, organisations benefit when employees are equipped to take on new challenges and opportunities. In today’s Human Age, the organisation succeeds by helping the individual succeed.

Whether your employees are working in technical positions, head office or front-line roles, the range of skills and attributes that a retail business needs their managers to develop continues to expand. Equip managers with the confidence and skills to have effective and meaningful career conversations with their teams.

In some cases, these career conversations may draw the conclusion that individual and organisational alignment is not achievable, and an employee may decide that it is time to pursue their career goals elsewhere. With a ‘career for life’ no longer the norm, it is important for managers to accept and support their employees with these decisions. After all, would you rather have an employee stay and be unhappy in their role, or find the right person for that job elsewhere (internally or externally)? Having the right people in the right roles means higher engagement and, in turn, increased organisational performance.

3. Consider redeployment before redundancy

In today’s tempestuous economic climate – in an environment where uncertainty is the only certain thing - many businesses are faced with the need to restructure to adjust to changing economic conditions and to meet new market realities. But restructuring is not just about redundancies. It is about keeping the right people in the right place and upskilling the workforce to support the business road map. Smart organisations are saving money and supporting at-risk employees by exploring and offering redeployment opportunities before redundancy, retaining top talent and promoting career development for individuals.

4. Enable those exiting the business to do so with confidence and dignity

Redundancies are rarely good for brand reputation, but prudent leadership recognises the need to do it right - to enhance productivity, accelerate profitability and rebuild reputation after restructuring. How you restructure your organisation and prepare it for growth is directly impacted by how you treat departing employees.

Offering outplacement services to exiting employees means that those in transition get professional help in identifying and preparing for their next career move so they land on their feet faster, and current employees are more likely to view the changes positively and stay engaged and committed to their work.

Whilst many companies believe it is their responsibility to assist exiting employees with outplacement to find new jobs and career opportunities, there are also sound business reasons for offering outplacement. Globally, 85% of organisations worldwide that offer outplacement indicated that it was very important or extremely important for them to maintain positive relations between current and departing employees, whilst 82% said it was an equally important action to take in order to protect the company’s brand in times of change and economic uncertainty.

5. Provide emotional as well as career transition support

Individuals deal with change in many different ways, and it is important for employers to recognise that redundancy announcements may cause stress and uncertainty for both at-risk colleagues and those that will remain with the organisation. Consider offering practical workshops on change management, to ensure employees are better equipped to handle the changes taking place – meaning that exiting colleagues are cared for, and remaining employees are engaged and motivated for the future.

By supporting employees at every stage of their careers, providing opportunities for development both inside and outside of the organisation and retaining the right skills and knowledge for future success, organisations are able to provide a positive employee experience throughout the career journey – protecting brand reputation and remaining an employer of choice.

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