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Today’s workplace - the post Furlough dilemmas our clients are facing

Added - 06/08/2021

After 18 months and numerous extensions, the Furlough scheme is coming to an end on 30 September.  

The scheme has protected over 11.6 million jobs, with the Government estimating that 28% of employers have had staff on the scheme at some point during the pandemic.


As the economy opens up and employees return to the workplace, the next few months represent a tricky time for businesses.


At Working Transitions we have supported hundreds of organisations over the last 18 months to manage the trials of a changing organisation – and the impact on its people. These are the questions that we are being asked today...

Q: We’ve had a number of employees absent from the business due to mental ill health. How can we provide effective emotional and practical support as they return to the workplace?

If your workplace has been affected by higher than usual numbers of absences due to mental ill health, you are not alone. According to the Health and Safety Executive's 2020 report, research 828,000 workers suffered from work related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2019/20.

Returning to work after an extended period of leave can be daunting – particularly when the workplace may look quite different due to the changes in environment, people and processes exacerbated by the pandemic.


Providing coaching to support the transition back to work provides a confidential and supportive environment that allows returners to express their concerns and receive suppprt around the emotional and psychological aspects of their return.


By supporting returners before and during their return - as well as on an ongoing basis, coaching support can help employees to re-enter the workplace in a positive frame of mind, quickly re-integrate back into the workplace and ensure that any challenges or obstacles are swiftly identified.

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Take a look at our coaching page

Q: How do we enhance our employee value proposition post-COVID to attract and retain the talent we need?

As we continue to learn how to live with the pandemic, organisations and employees are thinking about what the future holds. This time of introspection is also a rare moment for re-establishing the psychological contract between businesses and their employees by adopting new approaches that demonstrate an organisations commitment to their teams. It’s never been a more appropriate time to rethink the role of coaching as an integrated element of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Being an employer of choice is more important than ever as all businesses are increasingly challenged to build and support their talent teams. A well-crafted, powerful EVP is an essential tool that enables you to articulate the promise of the company culture, and people brand that signals to existing and future employees what they get in return for their contribution. The EVP is becoming a key differentiator in attracting and retaining top talent and ensuring that you build a progressive and modern workplace.

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We’re running an interactive forum ‘the Human Value Proposition’ that explores why employers must offer a more human deal, reflect on their approach and evolve their EVP, shifting the focus from ‘what’ they give employees, to ‘why’. Find out. More and sign up here 

Q: Our organisation needs to change in order to survive and take advantage of the opportunities available to us – how can we best support leaders, managers and teams?

As the world starts to reopen, organisations from all sectors are exploring the options available to them - and this means change is everywhere.

With the impact of the pandemic set to create continued uncertainty, deciding how to best shape your business, whilst ensuring the right support is in place for your employees, is a difficult balancing act. Whether your organisation is looking for ways to help people to return and quickly become productive and engaged, needs to restructure and redeploy talent to ensure the organisation is future-proofed and in the best possible shape, or needs to consider redundancies, we can help.

Our market-leading, high quality coaching services, powerful and impactful virtual learning rooms and cost-effective, high touch outplacement solutions can support organisations at every stage of organisational change - helping to maintain productivity and engagement and driving successful outcomes.


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Q: We’ll soon have team members returning from furlough – how can we support them back into the workplace and ensure they quickly become engaged and motivated?

When an individual has been away from work for any significant period, the prospect of returning can provoke a wide range of emotions. They may be excited about their return and keen to be back in the workplace again. Alternatively, they may be feeling generally less confident, or concerned about the impact of their absence on their ability to perform their role effectively.


For many organisations, it’s also likely that the pandemic has introduced changes within the workplace, impacting on how roles are performed.


Providing support to allow people to return to the workplace with confidence, express their concerns openly and build on their levels of resilience is the best way to ensure re-engagement and a swift return to productivity.


Our cost-effective Virtual Learning Room ‘Springboard back to work from Furlough’ can be easily delivered to groups of affected employees. The interactive, workshop based approach will prepare employees to hit the ground running with a positive mental attitude, providing the ability to navigate with confidence through this phase of transition and be personally and professionally effective.


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Q: I simply can't afford to keep all of my workforce on - I need to make redundancies - how can I support those that are likely to be impacted?


A: It can’t be ignored – there is likely to be an influx of redundancies over the coming months – although the furlough scheme has undoubtedly protected millions of jobs, organisations are now having to reassess and restructure to suit the current landscape.

Put simply, outplacement services provide both practical and emotional support to individuals affected by organisational change – in particular, redundancy. Redundancy and redeployment can be a challenging and emotive time - for the organisation, the team left behind and, most importantly, for affected individuals.


Outplacement services allow individuals to understand and accept the change – and the rollercoaster of emotions that they may experience, fully assess the options available to them and move forward with confidence to a bright, progressive future.


It’s important to understand that everyone responds differently to change and that their needs and circumstances will vary. Working Transitions take a flexible yet simplified approach to outplacement – offering tailored programmes with personalised support.


Q: How much does an outplacement support programme cost?


If you want to do something to help your leavers, then this is the question that is uppermost in the mind of most employers. A good outplacement partner will work to your budget, however small and its possible to provide a good quality service for a very affordable price. As with buying any service, there are ways to make your budget go further. Think about group programmes where it’s possible to offer workshop support for as little £50 per attendee or harnessing the power of technology by providing your leavers with a comprehensive career portal they can access for many months starting from around £100.


If you want to support large numbers of people then you can fix your total spend in advance by agreeing a project fee, irrespective of how many services are used. This can bring the per head cost down significantly, enabling you to manage your budget with confidence. Individual support programmes vary greatly in content, but a good quality entry level programme can be less than £500 with more complex programmes from upwards of £750. In addition, there are many ways to mix and match options that enable you to offer your leavers support that is truly tailored to their needs very cost-effectively.


Call us for a an estimate or quote – or take a look at our buying guide

Q: What questions should I ask to ensure I invest in the best outplacement service for my organisation?


A: For even the most seasoned HR professional, outplacement is not typically a regular purchase. After months of challenge and uncertainty, many organisations are having to consider redundancies – perhaps for the first time. Understanding what to look for from an outplacement provider – and what questions to ask - can be tricky. The landscape – with often duplicated messages and sometimes meaningless promises - can be difficult to navigate.


The challenge at the heart of buying outplacement is that it’s notoriously difficult to understand which questions will allow you to pick the provider that is truly going to provide the service that best suits your organisation and delivers successful outcomes for departing employees within your budget.

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Q: At times such as these, surely Outplacement is a ‘nice to do’ rather than a ‘must do’?


A: Companies that provide Outplacement as part of their redundancy support programme often find that it can lower the ‘emotional temperature’ across the organisation. By fully supporting exiting employees, you can demonstrate both to them - and to those who remain - that you value them as individuals and are committed to helping them to move forward quickly and positively.


Periods of change can sometimes result in poor productivity - remaining employees worry about the future of the organisation. For those remaining, it can be reassuring to know that if they ever find themselves in a similar situation, they are likely to receive the same support and consideration in return for their loyalty and contribution to the business. Providing good Outplacement support is one of the best ways of reassuring those who remain that if they ever find themselves in a similar situation, they are likely to receive the same support and consideration in return for their loyalty and contribution to the business.

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contact us today

call us on - 01604 744 101