And now for something completely different…

It is a popular misconception that outplacement support services are there just to support people in securing their next job, or purely for those interested in continuing a career in employment. That is certainly not the case with us at Connor.

Our role is to help people secure ‘the right next opportunity for them’ whatever than might be. Yes, for some that is another role in a company, but for increasing numbers of people it isn’t that. Over the last 6-12 months nearly 40% of the people we are working with are looking for something else from our outplacement service, something completely different.

The purpose of this document is to challenge the popular misconceptions as to who benefits from outplacement by exploring some different scenarios that we see on a regular basis, namely:

  1. I am looking to set up in business
  2. I am looking for a portfolio career
  3. I am looking to retire/transition to retirement
  4. I am looking to do something completely different/I have no idea what I want to do next

We will explore each of these in turn.

1)  ‘I am looking to set up in business’ – Great! Outplacement is definitely for you. According to analysis by the Centre for Entrepreneurs, nearly 500,000 businesses were launched in the UK between March and September 2020, an increase of 10% on the previous year. Over the last three decades we have helped launched hundreds of businesses and franchises and helped thousands of people into self-employment. The consultants who deliver this service for us are experienced entrepreneurs who have personally launched and sold businesses and can really help in this area, this is key as they can impart to you first-hand experience not just the theory. The areas that we most commonly support are:

  • Am I suited to setting up in business? Do I really understand what it entails?
  • Different business entities and which one is right for you
  • Questions to ask your accountant
  • What does running a business really entail?
  • Developing a business plan
  • How to go to market
  • Avoiding the most common reasons businesses fail
  • Action Planning

2) ‘I am looking for a portfolio career’ – Again, this is something we hear all the time especially amongst the executives we support. People are looking not to return to the corporate world but are more looking for a blend of activities and several strings to their bow, such as consultancy work, interim engagements, freelancing and NED positions along. Typically, people are also looking to establish this portfolio career in tandem with a better work/life balance.

3) ‘I am looking to retire/transition to retirement’ – Perhaps the most unexpected area that is frequently covered by our outplacement services is working with people who are looking to retire, in fact we have a whole service area dedicated to this. From experience, when you dig into the sentiment behind the statement, it is actually quite rare for people who say they are looking to retire to actually want to stop working completely. They are mainly looking to change the relationship they have with the world of work and to re-apportion their time. The role of outplacement experts in this area is very different to financial advisors, we do not and should not give financial advice, but what we do know is that a major of retirement that do not achieve their anticipated outcomes for emotional and practical reasons as opposed to financial ones. This is often to do with what the Japanese call ikigai. There is no direct English translation, but it’s a term that embodies the idea of happiness in living. Essentially, ikigai is the reason why you get up in the morning.

The areas that we most commonly support are:

  • What does life after work mean to me? What does success look like?
  • What are my options for life after work?
  • Preparing for the transition
  • What resources do you have, and what do you need?
  • Communicating your vision to those around you
  • Bringing it all together – your action plan

4) I am looking to do something completely different/I have no idea what I want to do next – Sometimes people want to do something completely different, but they have no idea what that is. Often people are clearer on what it is they don’t want to do as opposed to what it is that they do want to do. Part of our role as outplacement experts is to work with you to identify your transferable skills and define what it is you do want to do, then work with you shoulder to shoulder to make that a reality. It is one of the elements of our role that is hugely rewarding. Due to the fact that we at Connor work with people for as long as it takes them to secure their next opportunity, we can assist you in defining what’s next for you AND also see that come to fruition. So don’t worry if you are not clear on what you want to do next, outplacement support is there to help you.

In summary, there are many ways that outplacement can support you/your people that you might not have thought of, and these are becoming increasingly frequent. If you think about it, it is very rare in your career that you get to do something that is just for you. Something which is built purely around you and your needs, covering what you want, at the speed you want, delivered where and how you want it. Professional outplacement is just that, it is your service to get out of it what you want, even if that is something completely different!

How can we help?

Connor is one of the leading outplacement providers in the UK, having helped hundreds of organisations to support thousands of leavers through redundancy and on to their next opportunity. If you would like to discuss outplacement for yourself or your organisation in more detail with us, you can always get in touch with us via the website (just fill in the form at the bottom of the page) or call +44(0)1491 414010.


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