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Improving Support to Employees Impacted During Crisis

 

Recently impacted employees share their journey from job loss to job search to landing new opportunities. What went well and could have gone better?

Listen and learn from impacted individuals who have navigated a job loss through this past year and the pandemic.

Takeaways from this panel discussion for HR and business leaders will include:

  • What HR is doing right and what needs improvement.
  • What role supported career transition services play.
  • Notification practices providing greatest support.
  • What impedes a job search in the current atmosphere.

You may be interested in this additional content from Waldron's Career Transition practice:

 

Video Transcript

Originally recorded March 10th, 2021

Kate Lang:

Wonderful. Good morning. Welcome to Waldron's first career panelists conversation. We welcome each of you. My name is Kate Lang and I'm glad you're here today. We have a group of fantastic panelists who wanted to share their story with you. These individuals all have conducted a job search in the last year. And so in addition to introducing themselves, I've asked them to share a little bit to think back to the time you learned you were losing your job. What remains in your memory from that day, from that time. Sometimes we can't remember the day it's a blur. And if you wouldn't mind introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about yourself in that when answering that. Let's start, I'm going to shift it up a little bit. Neil, how about you?

Neil:

Good morning, everyone. Yeah, I spent 24 years in an organization, I had roles from sales to training, and then I finished up in an operations role. I was working on some really big project, in the course, there were rumors that there was going to be some changes into the business. So I was prepared as much as I could be. And I was not spared, so I was impacted. And basically that morning, the meeting came very early that morning, I was informed. And then I think I did some stuff in the building, and then I left and they said, "Hey, you got two more weeks, we want you to come in transition your projects and make sure that you leave it in good hands," and those kinds of things and I was happy to do that. From my perspective company put together a nice package. I was prepared financially early, so I thought I was anyway and I was in a good spot.

And there were a few things that I was missing out on I didn't realize the value of some of the LinkedIn tools that were out there with recommendations and referrals and that kind of thing. So I think if I reflect back on maybe leading into that period of might have done a little bit of a few things differently last six months or so before I was transitioned out so. That's it for me. Thank you.

Kate Lang:

Thanks. We hear that often. I really wish I would have kept networking and not put so much into my day to day job. So we'll get some takeaways around that as well. Polina, how about you?

Polina:

Hi, good morning. I'm Polina. So I was working for a multinational company for eight years in R&D. It was my first job out of graduate school and kind of, I entered that company on the rotational program for... So I was envisioning that that will be it for me for for many years to come. That was not the case. We were informed that they was going to be a cut in workforce a few days before I got a notification. So we were working from home at that time, I was actually in a meeting, that I had to cut short to get into the meeting with HR. I was notified and told to come in that afternoon and surrender my computer and everything else. So there was no two weeks to finish up the transition, which is a typical practice for my company, when they terminate somebody, they just want... I think it has to do more with security and everything else, so. How I felt, I felt in a fog. So it was like, oh, my goodness. The insecurity, the uncertainty just threw me back into like, 2011 when I was looking for a job in the middle of the past recession, and just oh, no, not again. How am I going to do it? so the bright side was that that I knew I was getting some severance. So I had some time, so my income wasn't going to just drop tomorrow. So that was nice.

Kate Lang:

Thank you, Kimberly.

Kimberly:

You bet. Hello, everyone, Kimberly. I was actually given about a year heads up. So the day that I knew my position was going to be removed, I was able to look for what we call long term, LTE role. So long term employee role, where I was able to backfill for someone who was on maternity leave. So that gave me a nine month heads up that it was going to happen. I will also say that given COVID, and the timing of that, that happened just as I was transitioning out. And so I would say the biggest impact for me was the unknowns, where I thought I had my head around what I would do next, my story ended up going a totally different way, because of COVID and the timing.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. We will learn more about that and learn some of your lessons and take away some lessons for us. Yes, having known for a year, but we didn't know what COVID would be like so that had to throw a big wrench in it for you. Debby, how about you?

Debby:

Good morning, everyone. I'm Debby, I work in the healthcare industry. Had served for about 11 and a half years with my prior organization. And I would say that certainly probably similar to the experience of others on the panel, that meeting that moment, when you realize what the meeting is about, you can't really prepare for that, it's shock, it's surprise, never been in that position before. And it takes a little while to get your brain thinking again. My overall situation was one where we had gone through a fairly significant amount of leadership change. And I had applied for a position kind of that next level position that I was not granted. And so I knew for me personally, that the staying there long term wasn't going to be in my best interest, because of how much tenure I had left in my career and wanting to continue to grow and develop.

So it's one thing to understand it at that level and to begin to plan for it and it's another thing to have that kind of decision taken out of your hands. I think the thing that I remember most is I had a conversation with my sister later that night. And she is a physician, she takes care of dying children. And the thing that she said to me is something she says often to her families is that, it doesn't feel like it now, but this is a gift. And I really came to appreciate that wisdom. It took me a while but she was absolutely right, and I can say that I'm in a much better position now than I was a year ago. So thank you.

Kate Lang:

Thanks, Debby. I think that's what our goal is in today's session is, how did you move to that place of looking at this as a gift? So we'll follow up on that a little bit. Koji how about you?

Koji:

My name is Koji, I worked for a really large biotech and I was working at a more midsize biotech that was growing quickly. And I think for me the moment of the conversation, I think I led into it. We had a lot of board change, I got a new boss and new boss is terrific and asked me a very reasonable question, "Where do you see your career going?" And when I kind of reflected on it, I realized that I was not in the role that I really wanted to be in, mostly because I realized I didn't want his job. And in that moment I decided I'm going to be honest with him, I'm going to tell him about the things that I am interested in doing. And it was clear that there wasn't a match and there weren't the kinds of opportunities at the company.

And so my emotional state in some ways was, a little apprehension, but also relief, this was in the middle of the pandemic. And I think as we are all doing during the pandemic, like we were working really hard, all day. And then once I had that epiphany that I was working really hard all day on something that I'm not that engaged in, I think having the opportunity to get to separate and find the thing that I do want to do, I was mostly relieved.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. Each of you represent some of the stories we hear myself and my colleagues, when we first talk to individuals. So appreciate that foundation and letting us know where you were. Let's talk a little bit from that initial time of hearing about this news. And those initial emotions and reactions into the next phase, that moving into finding what we often say, new normal. Getting into the mode of, okay, now what? If you can tell us a little bit about how long that took. What did you do? What resources did you have to help you with that? Would be wonderful. Let's start with Polina.

Polina:

All right. So I tell you what, my finances were first and foremost for me. So I had kids, I had mortgage, I had no other income to support me, I was it for this. So that was front and center. So in my little spreadsheet, I knew when that income ends. And so my goal essentially was ideally to find a job by that time. So it was about three months timeframe. So the level of stress then increased as the end of those three months was approaching, and I was still looking for a job. So but at the beginning, it was actually fairly good. As somebody else mentioned, this job wasn't the position I was at. It wasn't the perfect position for me at the time and the management knew and I applied for other jobs, and I haven't gotten them in the... We had the candid conversation, so.

So I did try to look at it from the perspective as a gift. Okay, now I'm going to look for a job full time. If I was in that position, I was so busy, I didn't really have time to look for something else that would make me happier. So now I'm getting paid for the next three months to look for that new perfect job. So actually, the mood was all right. And then of course, COVID, homeschooling the kids, my hands were full. It's not like I sat there all by myself, twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do. And then of course, Waldron was really nice, because the first week kind of chaos, and then you have to settle into the, "Okay, what tools do I have? What do I need? How I'd spruce up my resume? What is there that I don't know, that will help me to find the job?" And I found that Monaco's who I worked with was very instrumental and just kind of like, "Okay, this is where we are. This is what we can offer." Just kind of bring the sense of organization into the little chaos.

Kate Lang:

I know this is a question that I get a lot from the HR folks, so I'm going to ask a really tactical. How many of you receive severance as part of your separation? Okay. And I believe, confirm, did all of you also receive career transition support? Be it from Waldron or another entity. I know that those... I get a lot of emails from my HR partners. What are people doing for severance these days? So I just wanted to get that data point out there. Thanks Polina, it sounds like I mean, you had a real systematic way of looking at your time to land and what you had to make happen. I have a question for you. You mentioned something about the perfect job. Did you believe you could find that perfect job in three months?

Polina:

So I've been soul searching for quite a bit. I'm not a scientist, I'm a chemist. But is that what I want to do? Do I want to stay in the lab? Do I want to go into management, business you name it. So, I am open, like, I was open. So at the beginning, you have more idealistic views on what you want to do, and this job you might take or not take or whatever. But then as the time progresses, right? You're like, I think I just need a job and kind of like... So I went from like, "Oh, this is probably what I want to do," to like, "Oh, right now I just need kind of any job," so. It took me seven months to find a job from-

Kate Lang:

Thank you. That's good data point. I can sense the anxiety and the stress that that would have been, in addition to becoming a teacher, and all those other parts that last year, put on us. So thanks, I think your story's going to be a very common one for a lot of folks. Koji, how about you? How did you transition into a new normal and get into that job search mode? And about how long did that take for you to really be there?

Koji:

Yeah. The transition for me, part of it was decompression from... Because my transition was last September. And just cranking away and sitting at my terrible little setup for about 10 hours a day and hurting my back. But for me, some of it was just to decompress from the job that I now recognize wasn't the right job for me. Some of it was that, like Polina was saying, my kids, were starting back up at school and this was a crazy way to start a new school year, and just everything going on. So it was really good to be more available to them. My wife had started with her own startup over the summer and so she's super busy.

Yeah, I think what I appreciated about... So I started to engage with the Waldron services right away. Because I like frameworks, and I thought that it would be nice to get just some structural ideas about, how do I approach looking for a job? How can I be systematic and efficient? And what are the things that I don't think about? Because I hadn't looked for jobs for a while. And it was really helpful, I think the pace was appropriate for me. There was enough structure so I understood what the long game was, and kind of what some of the shorter nearer milestones were about how to rethink. And it wasn't just about the process, but I think also a little bit of exercise and like Polina was saying, like, "What do I really want to do?" Having recognized something I didn't want to do, how can I direct myself towards what I really want to do? And that was really helpful as well.

Kate Lang:

Thanks. What both of you have touched on is that taking the time and the space to figure out what it is next you want and not just diving into the tactical elements of starting to apply. Right? And so it's something we really work with our clients on thinking about, if we just jump into that resume without taking a step back, especially right after learning where we've lost our job. We're not positioning ourselves for that as close to perfect job as we could find. Kimberly, how about you?

Kimberly:

Sure. So I similar to Koji decided to really jump into Waldron right away. I felt like that was a way to anchor onto something that could help me move forward. Have the meeting setup that week before I finished working. Actually started with Carol who was fabulous and was a little different than me and so it was great to have someone challenging my views and thoughts and complimenting them and adding to them in amazing ways. And really, I think that was the key. I had also been doing some self reflection and some professional development and personal development, that whole kind of end of year or to that half of the year. And so starting in January, I had already started doing some of that. And that was a huge value add to the work that I ended up doing with Carol, which was kind of the pre work on making sure I was ready to go out to the market, and then kind of went up to the market pretty quickly.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. Debby, how about you?

Debby:

Let's see. So I think maybe just a few comments about the transition out of the organization that was helpful for me. So I can appreciate some organizations where the level of I guess, trade secrets and that kind of thing, can be limiting. But it was important for me to, I guess go out, as with my head held high, so to speak. So I didn't want to just kind of disappear in the dark of the night. And what I appreciated from the HR folks and the leadership team was flexibility in defining what that look like. So I actually had a few weeks, so this happened in February, so I'll always superimpose that news and the onset of COVID as almost the same thing. And so I had a few weeks in the office, and actually they kept me on the system to help with questions and additional transition through me.

So, I think that what worked for both of us was to... That was an acknowledgement of the contributions and just the history that I had about various things in the fact that that still had value. It also gave me a chance to connect with as many people as possible in the organization and then outside. One of the responsibilities I had was in the area of business development. And so I worked with a lot of organizations outside of mine, and I knew that those would be opportunities for future positions. And so being the one to make the call to talk to so and so about my transition was important to me, and I appreciate the flexibility and being able to do that.

So that really took up about part of March and so I didn't connect with Waldron and I think until towards the end of March. And I think the one thing that I really appreciate and Kate, I had this conversation with you, you may not remember, is the opportunity to work with a person that best fit my style and needs. And so in a time when you don't feel like you have much control, having elements where you feel like you can be in control, those stood out for me. And so the opportunity to work with somebody who's going to be more kind of process oriented and get from A to B was one choice. The other choice was somebody who would force or not force, facilitate more self reflection and introspection. And so I went with [inaudible 00:23:20]... I'm an engineer by training and MBA, and it felt like that's kind of what would meet my needs at that time, so I just want to give you guys that feedback.

And then what she did was she slowed me down even further, to almost take a month to put that resume together. Because what that did is, it didn't rush you out there, it gave me time to just rest and heal and be able to put my better energy and face forward. And so I got that advice a couple of times. So if you have the luxury of having a little bit of time, take some space to do that. And that definitely worked for me.

Kate Lang:

Thanks, Debby. And thanks for that recognition. We know that the key to individuals feeling supported and moving forward is that individual one on one connection, and it's so critical that that's a good alignment. And in fact, it's kind of fun for those of us who talk with each of you to kind of do the matchmaker and give you some options for who to work with. So good to know that worked for you. And Neil, how about you?

Neil:

Yeah, similar. I jumped right in. I wasn't in a hurry to get a job. But I did jump right into the outplacement service, which I'm thankful that I did because once the COVID stuff really settled in and all those meetings were canceled, it helped build out some of the new network being around people that were in similar boats that came invaluable down the road. The one thing that I learned is that, the job sort of I was thinking that I was going to do, it turned out that I would have been doing many many things wrong and not maximizing what I was doing, based on the coaching that I received back from my consultant.

And I mean, that really helped put me on the right path, gave me a lot more direction, and sort of it took some of the balance of time that I was spending looking at online postings that were coming through and kind of going after those to saying, "What I would want, who has those type of opportunities, and what do they have posted today that I can look at and narrow down my search a lot?" So that definitely helped me stay on point.

Kate Lang:

Great, thank you. What was your experience about being without a job. So much of our day is the job. I often say to people, "Hey, if you can take a break, enjoy this. Go to that yoga class, do what you can, because you won't be back working 50, 60 hours a day again, and will miss this time." So what was that experience like for you? How did you fill the time? And I know we had COVID, we had a major reawakening as a country around justice and equity, which also informed last year significantly, as did COVID. So and I know from my own self and my conversations with my clients, that was a significant shaper for them. So tell us about that experience looking for a job. What was life like? What worked? What resources did you get? How did you sustain yourself? Neil, go ahead.

Neil:

Okay. So I had a lot of time on my hands, I won't lie. And it was pretty quiet out there some days. There was a little bit of frustration that there were so many jobs coming through that I would apply for and then see them resurface down the road weeks or months even, or get a rejection letter three or four months later, after I've put the application in. Well, I mean, what I tried to do is stay to my routine, which is get up, same time, get some exercise done, all those classes were done by Zoom. And then I'll start networking with my friends. And I'm trying to figure out who they were friends with too. So extending my network by using their network. So it wasn't ideal, in fact, that I didn't have much to give back to them for their time or their investment into me. But I think it definitely filled up the day some.

And the day was pretty short when you're doing those type calls, for me at least it seemed like it took a lot of energy. So wasn't an eight hour day on the phone, I would have just been wrung out. But again, I was really fortunate, I met a group of people that were in a similar boat and through the outplacement team, we set up our own networking group because none of the face to face networking things typically happening in restaurants were happening. So we had our own Zoom calls every Friday. It provided some accountability loops, some encouragement and also some good feedback from folks as to how to navigate unemployment and COBRA and some of those other things that were just seemed fundamental at the time that I didn't really have a good handle on.

Kate Lang:

Yeah, that could be a conversation in itself navigating unemployment as they were disrupted by this as well, right? Koji, how about you?

Koji:

Like I was saying, I think my main goal was to figure out what I wanted to do. I was reading How to Design Your Life.

Kate Lang:

I love that book. Yeah.

Koji:

I did the exercises. It was good to be introspective. And some of it I think, is, again, when you're working, it's really hard to give yourself the time to be deliberate and introspective. I also just got a lot more sleep than I had been getting. And I am still trying to get that sleep.

Kate Lang:

I can understand. I love that, that you mentioned Design Your Life. It's a fabulous resource, and I recommend it for everybody to look into that. It's a great resource if you are doing a little soul searching. Polina, how about you?

Polina:

I wish I could do some traveling but because yes, exactly. I never have enough time off to take all the trips on one but there was no traveling so that kind of. People who've been laid off at other times, they're like, "Oh yeah, we really enjoyed our time and this and that." I was like, "Well, sorry, like, it's not the same." But as I said, I had kids and they were home. So it was full time mom between while I split her with my ex husband, so I did have some time. And in the spare time, I had to schedule around having my kids essentially. So all of my job searching, company research, that all had to take place when I didn't have them. So I could be with them 100% when they're there. So that was nice, actually. Spending more time with my kids, value time, like being there, that was a blessing.

So in all of this, just getting an opportunity to get closer to the kids when they're home, and I was home, that was great. And just structuring, finding the time that I make sure I do apply for X number of jobs. So when my severance ran out, I had to go on unemployment and so that was their requirement that I had to apply for X number of jobs, whether they were good jobs or not, I had to apply. And I try, I don't just... There were weeks, when I would just apply on indeed.com, submit, that's an application. But most of the time, I wanted that to be a real application. I do research, I do the letter, adjust my resume. So that all takes hours, hours and hours. And I also finished remodeling my house so, that was nice.

Kate Lang:

Debby and Kimberly, [inaudible 00:31:45] in something that the others kind of mentioned. But I'd love for you guys to really hone in on networking during a time when we are quarantining. What did you do? How did you adjust to that? And was it successful? What tips do you have?

Debby:

Maybe I can make just a couple of quick comments before Kimberly. So I can't overemphasize the importance of networking. I think you probably hear that all the time. You probably hear all the time, I didn't do enough of it while I was working, all of that. And it's 100% true. And, I ended up finding the opportunities that I was presented fully through that even though you apply online and do all of that. I actually found that networking during COVID was easier because you didn't have the infrastructure, time setting up time to travel to a place and then travel back. And especially in the early days of COVID, I think they were adjusting to working under a different structure. And so they had a little bit more time to offer and this was in the kind of springtime of last year.

So it almost felt like I can touch more people that way, and have a brief half hour where the rigmarole of working through administrative structures and things like that to set up a meeting, and that kind of went away. So in some ways, it worked out, I think, a little bit better from my perspective, especially with people that I already knew or had some type of connection with. But even those that I had never met that were recommendations based on other networking conversations, those seem to flow pretty well. I think people just appreciate the time to have connection, and that was not always easy, especially in those early days.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. Kimberly, how about you?

Kimberly:

I echo a lot about, a lot of what Debby just mentioned. I found the very same thing that it was actually easier. And because it was something I had planned on doing and just started toward the end of my job when I had a little bit of extra time, started making those connections. And it was through those connections that I was offered the opportunity to apply for the role that I have now. But I would have never had those connections kind of not happened. And I again, I think Debby mentioned it, I think COVID was actually an icebreaker. It just made it easy to have a conversation that, "Wow, how are you doing? What's going on?" And a lot of things were changing and a lot of big things were happening. At least with the network that I had with people impacted by COVID other things and.

So I think it just really made a huge difference to enable that networking that I wanted to do and is so valuable.

Kate Lang:

Thanks. Koji, Neil and Polina did you feel networking was easier in this time where you didn't have to commute and go places and things? Did you find people accessible? Did you find it, and it may be hard to tell if you hadn't networked more traditionally but, what about you was your experience similar? Neil.

Neil:

It was for me. I mean, the thing is, is that, it didn't pan out, right? So, there just weren't a lot of places that were hiring right then. So, I think my record is not very good with my networking to successful interviews and those kinds of things. But I think that's just the top sign of the times as much as anything so. But people were accessible.

Kate Lang:

Koji or Polina. Koji.

Koji:

For me I agree with Debbie and Kimberly, even for people who weren't near me geographically, people who are working in the kinds of roles or that I had worked with years ago, but are now different parts of the country of the world, it was much simpler to just knit well into it. Just to say, "Hey we set up a video chat and just connect, and I can kind of bounce the ideas off of you of what I think I'd like to do. And maybe you can help me sharpen that. Or if you think of other people I could talk." It helped. And I think to Neil's point, I don't think any of those conversations actually led to the job that I'm lining up. But I think just strengthening that network, I think has helped me and then again, to help my thinking about what I think I can do and what other people see in me that maybe I didn't see as well in myself.

Kate Lang:

I really love that Koji. So often people go into networking about it being about a specific job, versus how does this conversation help me get better at choosing my next job, the next people I work with, right? That insight around that. That only happens when we spend time thinking through and talking through who we are and what we do. Polina, Anything to add around networking during this time.

Polina:

I'm more of an introvert, so for me always to like, arrive somewhere and try to just talking to strange people was always terrifying. So doing it remotely kind of like eased that a little bit. And most of the time, I would reach out to people who might already know, either through previous work. And my previous company laid off about 30% of its workforce here in Salt Lake City so, they kind of dispersed to other companies. So in that sense, I actually felt... So as I mentioned before, my previous job search was during the previous recession, straight out of school. And I didn't have the network of professionals in my field that I could rely on or just didn't say, "Hey, can you pass my resume on to whatever your company's hiring," so have an insider to do that.

So this time around, actually having that network after eight years in the industry, brought me a sense of calm. Like, I've got this like, now I have this network that I can and then people like me, so. The job I have right now did not come out of that. Just saying, but it was reassuring.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. Polina, another big thank you for being willing to be on here, not being the extrovert and this [inaudible 00:38:35] really, thank you very much. I can relate a little bit to that, by the way. So, before we talk about takeaways, for those of us who work with and are close to those individuals who've been let go, I'd love to learn from each of you what your learn was during this time. What was your takeaway? Whether it be really transactional around something like, I'm going to continue to keep a really balanced life, I loved what I did with my kids, or I love networking to, hey, something bigger about who I am as a person. We'd love to get that insight. Going back to Debby's sister who said this is going to look like a gift someday. So let's start if you don't mind with Kimberly.

Kimberly:

Sure. So when I look back, definitely one of the things I learned personally was how to keep all the change in perspective. Transitioning out of the new role, personal impacts to friends and family due to exposure to COVID, getting a new job, all of those things, relied on a toolset that I had put in place or had been putting in place for myself over time to help me remain resilient. Take care of myself, stay healthy, really try to stay as optimistic as possible and grounded and focused on the future. I think those were the core areas where I really benefited.

Professionally, I think because of the support of Waldron and Carol, the reflection, guided by Waldron, my Waldron coach and some of the professional development I had been doing, and scheduled for the first half of 2020, really made a difference for me. It was the first time in seven years I had been able to take a look back and say, "Where am I now and where do I want to be in my career?" Kind of update that career plan or career staging over time. And that was invaluable experience and time that I took. And it really helped me realize that was, I think, the nugget that helped me realize that I was staying where I was because it was comfortable, because it was a job, especially when COVID hit, because I knew it was there. moving off was definitely a scary place to go.

And once I started transitioning and taking those first steps, feeling really blessed that the loss of that role actually moved me forward and forced me to do what I needed to do to really get to what was next in my career. And so that was a huge gift. And something I learned, I think through that process with Carol and understood moving forward, and was a huge blessing.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. Polina, how about you?

Polina:

Also turned out to be blessing in disguise. So as I went from a multinational corporation to a very small business that essentially, I don't even have official title, but a director was thrown out there. So it's just the owner and me. And I probably if I wasn't desperate as I was, at the end of seven months of job search, and I probably would never have applied for this job. Just have not considered always the idea of multinational corporations benefits and everything else. But honestly, I don't know that I can go back into a multinational corporation after working for a small business. And experiencing how much difference you can make, how much appreciated can be. And if you work hard it really shows so that was hopefully, the end of the story.

Kate Lang:

Well, I'm glad that it turned around. And what a fun surprise and learn about that. Neil, how about you?

Neil:

Yeah, I think one of the things I learned is, I was probably a little too comfortable in my prior role. And over the last five or 10 years, I should have taken a lot more risks and branched out and this obvious kind of where the business was going, and I didn't necessarily drive myself or nobody, even in the business said, "Hey to what end are you working towards?" So if things are changing, and we're still trying to do very good on one part that's maybe getting smaller in the business, that's important, but for my development, and that kind of stuff, it doesn't necessarily lead into energetic growth down the road. I will say that, because of the change I've had to learn a lot of stuff, and I'm amazed that I'm able to do it at this pace. But I'm excited about what's possible tomorrow, because of this more outlook of saying, "Hey, don't get too comfortable, keep pushing and have fun and make a difference at the same time and learn."

Kate Lang:

Good takeaway. Thanks for that reminder. Debby, how about you?

Debby:

Let's see. So I think echo what I've heard from my fellow panelists, I think the thing that I would add was just to enjoy the process of change and to kind of lean into that more, I would consider myself a risk averse person. But I think that opportunity over this past year, both with transitioning roles, all that COVID brought ,changing cities, it's just appreciating and learning that that can be fun, too. And you change a lot when you're younger in your career and less so as the years go by. And I think this is an opportunity for my family and I to just experience things that are new. And our next transition is going to be to empty nesters. And so I think we're leaning into that in a way that we might not have had this not come about.

Kate Lang:

Thank you and Koji.

Koji:

Professionally, again, I think my big epiphany before the event was try to do things that I want to do versus things that I can do, and to recognize when I'm just doing things because I can do them. And then I think personally, but maybe even holistically, like, my kids are teenagers, and having this time, sometimes too much time, but I don't think I will ever look back on this and feel like it was too much time. Because my elder's a junior in high school, and we're on a countdown, we're counting down to when he leaves. And so it's been really amazing to have some time to see them become young people and get to just spend more time with them. So that was great.

Kate Lang:

Great, thank you for that reminder for all of us about what this year has given us. It's a good thing to humble to hold on to. We have quite a few HR leaders, we've got Waldron coaches and other coaches. And so what I'd like to do is really shift to a gift for them, from you all. To share with us, what lessons or insights do you want us to take away, so that the next time we have to have a conversation with an individual, about them leaving the organization. What do you want these leaders to know and take away and implement for them? So if you don't mind, how about Koji, Let's start with you.

Koji:

I think what I appreciated about my HR partner was that, there was a lot of respect accorded to me for kind of thinking about what I wanted to do. And I had a lot of encouragement to look internally and a lot of support around that, which is great. I think that when it was clear that it wasn't going to work out I think they did as much as they could. And, again, I found it very respectful. And I also understand their position is that their job is to look out for the interests of the organization, which that's exactly their job. But I felt good about it.

Kate Lang:

Great. Debby.

Debby:

I think that my advice, as Koji said, the HR leaders are stewards of the organization. Understanding though that in the long run, the better this experience is for the person transitioning also supports the long term needs of the organization, I can't tell you how many people from within the organization contacted me. And they're exploring their own questions and stories and so the more positive that I can be and supportive, that helps everybody. And so I think my advice would be that there are certain things where you don't have control over in terms of whether it is a transition or not, or severance, or things. But there are things that you do. And so to the extent possible to give the person leaving a voice in how that's done. And as many of those smaller choices around the edge, I think will go a long way to making that person feel respected and appreciated, and that it is still a bit of a two way relationship, even though it's going to be ending. So, to find ways to do that and to be as available for that conversation as possible.

Kate Lang:

Thank you, Debby. Polina, and Neil.

Polina:

I actually echo a lot of what Debby said. The way it was done in my organization, as I said, just kind of surprise calling, surrender your laptop. See you. No explanation. I just kind of I felt like, I deserved a little bit more explanation, maybe a call from my manager saying, "Sorry, we really appreciated you." Like, just something, because I felt like for eight years I did my best, I always get great reviews, and then boom, out of nowhere. It may be bitter to the point where people are like, "Well, if your job is back would you take it?" I was like, "I don't know. I don't want to go through that again."

The other thing is that, I also didn't realize they said, 30% of workforce got laid off, but they were not like a list that you knew who got laid off, who stayed and we were working from home or remotely. So for some people I didn't find out until months later that they were part of the cut as well. But to me personally, like finding out through LinkedIn or other means of what other people got laid off, people that I respected, people who were respected in the company that I was in the same league with those people, that kind of helped. So maybe for HR people to be more transparent, that's just to me, but I would recommend be more transparent, and accommodating and respectful in those decisions.

Kate Lang:

We work with many organizations on that fine balance around privacy and legal and you as a human, and what's the relationships that you've had with them. And so thank you for that. It will resonate, I'm sure with many HR leaders and leaders in general. Neil.

Neil:

Somewhere, there's a big void, right? No matter how you slice it, there's going to be a void. The people that I work with, that I loved, the projects that we had going, having all kind of finality of that ending was just a little bit hard to get over. It took me a lot of time. So, I don't know, I think that there's a final balance there. And, actually, until this activity and getting ready for this activity today, I didn't really take stock as to how fortunate I was throughout the process with the package that I got. So when I kind of knit it all out and put it into perspective, I feel really good about how things went. There are some spots where that could have been better maybe, somebody your pole that you started with.

But all in, the company that I loved, did a good job of doing the transition. And now it's a matter for me owning the picking up the pieces part of it and getting out there and getting back into a team, that are building a mission that I love and projects that I feel are valuable and those kinds of things like others have said so it's good.

Kate Lang:

And Kimberly.

Kimberly:

I would agree with what Koji and Debby, Polina all said. And that was that really one of the most important things was the respect I saw from the organization that was letting me go. The initial moment of it happening was tough. But from that point on, my HR resource was unbelievably supportive in any question I had. In any detail, I needed to learn more about or understand. The one area given the situation that we were in, that would have been helpful is just understanding a little bit more about unemployment benefits, and what that might look like. And digging into that a little deeper, or just knowing that that was an option. It was gratefully my second time getting into that in my career, but it still is kind of a game changer, you just don't go there initially, and so that was a piece. But other than that, it was very respectful opportunity. And they did a really nice job, I believe.

Kate Lang:

Thank you. There's so many angles to this conversation we could have, especially those emotions, and that journey of those emotions through that. And so maybe that will be a second one around this to go a little deeper. Because we do, there's a psychological impact to who we thought we were, no matter what the scenario is. And the role of HR and the role of that business leader communicating to you is so important during that time, and the subsequent follow up and support you get. Thank you.

Kate Lang:

We have one panel question and attendees, those of you out in the audience, please feel free to type in a question into the chat or Q&A. We've got a few minutes here and we want to get to those especially. The question that did come in is around that time of being told you were losing a job, and that day that it is actually true. The term date the last day, notification versus that. What's the right balance for that? What are your thoughts on that? What is your experience? Anyone has something, I won't ask each of you, but what are your own thoughts on that? Koji, it looks like you've got something to say.

Koji:

Yeah. And again, I feel like I probably asked for my own but, I ended up having about six weeks, which was great. It was enough time to have productive conversations internally with people about possible internal opportunities. But also to frame with them, this is the thing that I'm looking for, and having them think about, oh, well here are other people that I know. And I think it allowed for transition of my responsibilities and the work and to be available for questions. I was grateful for that.

Kate Lang:

Polina, I'm curious hearing from you. You had such a stereotypical traditional reduction in force experience. How much time were you given? And what do you think would have been ideal?

Polina:

I was given no time, essentially. The call was at 10, I was scheduled to come in at two to surrender everything, the phone and the computer and get my things out of the office. So at that point I was just fine, here. Like, I don't have to worry about transitioning the projects, clearing, not sorting the documents and everything else. I was like, if you want to do it this way, fine. Here's my keys. I'm done. So it depends on like, organization needs to decide what kind of transition they want to have, I guess, in their benefit, it might have been beneficial if I stayed there, like another week or two, just to kind of for a more smooth transition. But on the other hand, if they decided that they didn't want anybody to sabotage anything, so that's there.

For me, it worked out because I didn't have to deal with the transition, let's put it this way. If I've looked at people in my organization, who dealt with retirement and everything else on how long it took, and how much effort it took to transition everything, and so it was a queen exit.

Kate Lang:

When is, I've got another question here. When were you first contacted by Waldron and what did you appreciate hearing? That's a really great question. Thank you. Waldron or any career transition provider. What's the right time from hearing it from us? And what do you need?

Polina:

I'll just jump in. So, obviously, after you let go right? You have to figure out finances, medical insurance, unemployment and all that. So the first week, I feel like it's very busy and there's so much going on. So in my package from my company, I was given like a leaflet from Waldron saying that, we provide this service and they will contact you. And I think it's been about a week into it I got an initial meeting, and it went from there. And in retrospect, I feel like that was the right time frame. Just, let me take care of other urgent things first and then [inaudible 00:58:04].

Kate Lang:

Anyone else? Any thoughts?

Debby:

This is Debby. So I think because I had a little bit of a transition from the conversation into actually not going in every day, I think it took me three weeks or so before, I contacted Waldron, UK. And I knew it was a benefit, so that was nice that that was a known thing but, wasn't quite ready to get into that. So I think having that flexibility was helpful. So I think for me, it was around that two to three week timeframe.

Kate Lang:

Some of that might be informed by that severance package that people get right as well and what that looks like. Thank you so much. By the way, I'm not sure those of you attendees, there was a question about the book Koji mentioned. And it is called Design Your Life. And they've even got a workbook that goes with that. May actually have a retreat that I did a couple of years ago with the Stanford folks who designed this activity. So it's one of my favorite treats to do with my clients I work with. And it's basically kind of looking at your life and in designing it. So check that out. We will be happy to send that link, Koji provided a link. It is designingyour.life/the-book. But we'll get that out to you.

I want to thank all of you. We're right at 11. Thank all of you in the panelists. Those of you who attended, we appreciate it, we'd love to get your feedback. And if anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me. Debby, Polina, Neil, Koji and Kimberly, thank you so very much for your time today. For your insight, and your willingness to share with us.

 


About Waldron CPI Career Transition Services

Waldron CPI views service support through two lenses:

1) The experience of impacted individuals using career transition services.

2) The organization’s lens and the experience of HR team members and business leaders responsible for outplacement/career transition services.

Waldron CPI’s career transition/outplacement services promise and deliver a high-touch, personalized experience for each employee and provide the best results:

  • 83% - Industry’s best percentage of landing at equal/greater compensation
  • +77 - Industry’s highest Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • 30:1 - Industry’s best participant to career coach ratio
  • 2.73 Months – Industry's fastest average time to re-employment
  • 97% - Highly satisfied clients 

Departing employees will assess several alternatives for their next professional experience—including re-employment, flexible work arrangements, part-time or contract employment, consulting, entrepreneurial endeavors, or retirement.

Contact us to learn about Waldron CPI’s industry-leading results. The results help organizations optimize return on investment in offering exceptional career transition services, including reduction-in-force (RIF) planning and manager notification training.