How virtual career transition is preparing candidates for the post-COVID world of work
By Sarah Hernon, Principal Consultant — Right Management UK
Now more than ever, digital competency is key to ongoing employability – and virtual outplacement support is here to help. As many of us continue to work remotely, digitisation has accelerated across multiple sectors, including career development. Whilst virtual learning isn’t new, the rapid move from face-to-face to online has driven innovation and change within outplacement delivery.
But can virtual career support deliver the same impact? When deployed correctly, virtual support offers a multitude of benefits.
Practise & success
As a result of COVID-19, many businesses have experienced an acceleration in the digitisation of their operations and services, especially within the recruitment process. Virtual is quickly becoming the norm for recruiters and HR professionals, with interviews and on-boarding processes taking place online instead of face-to-face – and 70% of talent professionals predicting virtual recruitment to become the new standard.
Outplacement support has also adopted this shift in focus; whether through the use of video conferencing platforms for coaching sessions, or pushing for candidates to practise interview techniques via simulation technology. Gaining experience operating in this digital world is vital for success during the recruitment process – and it’s about more than understanding how to use the ‘unmute’ button: candidates must also practise the art of networking, understanding how to present themselves professionally and to build relationships online.
Even for roles that may have historically required minimal use of technology, it’s likely that some aspects of the recruitment or on-boarding process will now be completed virtually – so outplacement support that’s tailored to a post-COVID world is particularly important in helping individuals prepare adequately for the changed job market. Engaging with digital platforms as part of their career transition provides less tech-savvy individuals with valuable practice in a safe environment, ensuring they’re able to attend a Zoom interview or complete an online assessment with confidence, as well as hit the ground running during their virtual on-boarding process. Now more than ever, digital competency is key to ongoing employability, and those who fail to demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency risk being left behind.
Flexibility & engagement
With many of us now living in an ‘on-demand’ world, able to browse endless video content and choose what we want to watch and when, it’s no surprise that candidates also want to learn in this way. Whilst simply translating a 4-hour workshop into a 4-hour webinar may be the easiest route when digitising learning, it’s certainly not the most impactful. It’s been widely reported that attention spans are declining, thanks to the multitude of short-form, customised content available at the tap of a button, and successful outplacement programmes are taking heed of this.
Right Management’s support now includes interactive sessions blended with a customisable library of on-demand content, with tailored learning journeys based on the individual’s desired outcome: whether retirement, self-employment, a new role or a new skill. Rather than expecting every candidate to sit through the same structured series of events, candidates can select the topics that are right for them, accessing them when and how they choose. Virtual learning also removes the need to travel for face-to-face meetings, and can instead choose the time and environment in which they feel most comfortable, working around childcare and other commitments.
A greater sense of autonomy and control may help to alleviate some of the stress and feelings of unpredictability that so often come hand-in-hand with a career change, making individuals more likely to fully engage with the support available.
Wellbeing & productivity
Whilst support may be delivered virtually, this doesn’t remove the need for 1:1 human interaction, which is why personal career coaching remains the number one driver of satisfaction for outplacement candidates, whether delivered face-to-face or virtually. In a time where the majority of people are working and operating remotely, feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise, with 1 in 4 adults experiencing loneliness during the pandemic.
Receiving guidance from a qualified career coach provides a safe environment for individuals to discuss their career options with an impartial expert; and with the wide variety of video conferencing tools available, they are also able to collaborate on documents such as CVs and application forms, making each session as practical as needed.
The increased accessibility of virtual support means that individuals can more easily fit their programme around the other aspects of daily life, contributing to better time management and overall productivity.
To find out more about the value of outplacement in our remote world, watch our recent webinar.