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Executive outplacement and career transition services are effectively two sides of the same coin, closely linked but different. While one doesn’t cancel out the need for the other, it is important to understand the part they both play throughout a leader’s career.
Recent research carried out by Rialto found that three-quarters of leaders (74 per cent) are looking to move into a more senior leadership role within the next two years but less than a quarter (23 per cent) are aware what action they need to take to develop the skills they will require. Moreover, one quarter don’t feel sufficiently confident in their skills as future leaders. According to the research, this lack of self-confidence stems from a range of factors including insufficient support, lack of relevant experience, and lack of opportunity to develop capabilities.
Historically, it was often the case that individuals did not think about career direction and how relevant their skillsets were or what to do to broaden them until they were faced with the prospect of redundancy. In such circumstances, responsible employers would traditionally offer outplacement services to help support them through the transition or an individual may have decided themselves to enlist such expertise.
Career outplacement is largely seen as reactive but many of today’s leaders are taking advantage of a more proactive and strategic approach to their development through use of a career transition service to help them prepare for and navigate the workplace disruption that lies ahead. This can help protect individuals and ensure their skills remain relevant throughout their career.
The Rialto career transition methodology has been developed over 25 years and draws upon extensive research and high-potential client profiling. It includes providing insight into new markets opening up for leadership skills, strategic positioning of an individual’s personal brand and reputation, leadership profiling and benchmarking using tools such as RALI (the Rialto Accelerated Leadership Index), identifying the routes that might lead to a new position as well as support with networking and making valuable connections.
A good career transition service shouldn’t just conclude when the individual moves into their next role though. A partnership approach should continue with, for example, executive coaching at agreed points to ensure the individual is able to deliver on their goals which also mitigates personal and organisational risk.
Arguably, in the current business climate of uncertainty and unpredictability created by Industry 4.0, career transition retains the edge over executive outplacement as it is a more ground-up approach to preparing for the next leadership position. Individuals can identify and acquire relevant capabilities before they need them. It also enables them to be more in control of their destiny and allows them to change direction or make a lifestyle decision against a less pressurised backdrop of, say, redundancy.
It is a sobering aspect of working life that there is far less job security than previously and very few of us can claim to be truly indispensable, particularly at senior level. According to PwC, the median tenure for CEOs in the UK has dropped for five of the last six years and at 4.8 years stands at its lowest level since 2009. At a time when markets are being constantly disrupted and technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation are changing how everyone works, no-one can be totally in control of what happens to them in the world of work. But the right career transition advice can bring a layer of in-built protection that ensures leaders today – and of the future – continue to experience a steep career trajectory.
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