Redundancy is an integral part of a sustainable career policy

In Belgium, we have a strong tradition of sticking to a job or function we know, even when it might not be the path to true job satisfaction and happiness. This has to do with us feeling too comfortable in what we sometimes call "The Golden Cage." ​​However, this comfort zone doesn't necessarily benefit individuals, companies, or society as a whole.

This underlines the critical need for a sustainable career policy, where dealing with redundancy becomes an essential component. To emphasize this point further, Geert Volders, Director of Right Management Belgium, highlights the significance of internal career orientation and investing in upskilling and reskilling.

Establish an internal career guidance plan

An internal career guidance plan holds great value as it helps employees set realistic career goals, learn new skills, and feel more satisfied and confident in their work. It is a way for companies to invest in talent, increase productivity, attract and retain top talent, and meet organizational objectives.

What does it take for a well-functioning mobility center?

"Based on our experience and the advice we consistently offer our clients, it's best not to make outplacement unnecessarily longer. We recommend a duration of 3 or 6 months. Why? Because those who are quickly employable often secure a new job within three months," emphasizes Geert Volders.

He reinforces this statement with a touching example: "If we get people in outplacement who have spent a year in a mobility center where they performed various tasks with minimal added value. During that year, they felt more like they were doing occupational therapy, causing their self-esteem to plummet. This, in turn, makes it incredibly challenging to motivate them."

In summary, a functional mobility center should encompass the following:

  • A timeframe of 3 to 6 months
  • A commitment to honesty with employees, including the initiation of pre-outplacement preparations.

Should an employer encourage mobility centers?

Sébastien Delfosse, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup Belgium, highlighted in the first podcast, ‘Trends & Challenges in the labor market’, that we are experiencing a talent shortage. Hence, it is valuable for an employer to bridge that shortage by harnessing the untapped potential of existing talent within its own organization.

To assess your existing workforce, it's prudent to enlist the services of seasoned career coaches who can provide an impartial evaluation. As an employer, it can be challenging to ascertain what skills are further developable and what might not be, especially when you've been working with someone for many years.

What’s the role of ESG and sustainability?

With the rise of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and sustainability initiatives, companies are paying more attention to laid-off employees. They realize more and more what sacrifices those people have made over the last 20 years or so.

Therefore, companies are putting in the necessary effort to redirect them. Primarily, this starts with internal measures to explore redeployment opportunities. However, if these avenues prove unfruitful, companies are increasingly willing to assist employees in their external reorientation, often through pre-outplacement support.

Reskilling before or after redundancy?

Stijn Baert, a professor of labor economics at Ghent University, stirred some controversy a few years back with his statement that we sometimes need to force people to learn more. While Geert initially found this assertion shocking on the surface, he understands Baert's perspective and recognizes its relevance in certain contexts.

Geert interprets Baert's viewpoint like this: "We often hear that individuals should be in control of their own careers. In practice, it's primarily the high-potential employees who take this initiative. They engage in internal career counseling because they are committed to advancing their careers."

However, Geert also acknowledges a crucial reality: "You have to consider that approximately 80% of people are satisfied with their jobs. They don't proactively seek career development opportunities until they face unemployment."

Geert articulates his perspective thoughtfully: "While it's commendable for individuals to be the chauffeur of their own careers, I firmly believe that they also need an effective driving instructor to set them in motion."

To clarify, Geert doesn't advocate for forcing individuals into learning. Instead, he underscores the importance for employers to provide high-quality training that genuinely piques the interest of these individuals in professional development.

See the value of an internal career policy

We often find ourselves sticking to what we know, what's known as the "Golden Cage", even when it doesn't necessarily lead to job satisfaction. Therefore, Geert Volders, Director of Right Management Belgium, stresses the importance of internal career guidance plans.

An internal career guidance plan holds great value as it helps employees learn new skills and feel more satisfied. Investing in your internal talent pool is crucial, particularly in addressing the prevailing talent shortage.

Furthermore, Geert also stresses that employers must provide high-quality training that genuinely captivates individuals, sparking their interest in professional development.