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Internal hiring instead of redundancy is ideal, but employees need the same support as if theyíre exiting the business

By Chris Parker, MD, Renovo, outplacement and career transition support

December 15 2020 - LinkedInís recent news that UK companies are hiring more people internally since the start of the pandemic is positive all-round. According to the business social network giant, internal hiring increased by 20%†during April and August this year,†compared to the same time last year. On top of that, over the next six months, 31% of UK employers said theyíll enable employees to move to different roles. Another third said reskilling and upskilling staff is their most important priority.

In our role helping businesses manage redundancy, redeployment and change programmes, we see first hand the benefits that redeployment provides. For employees it provides much needed opportunity, job security and development. While employers reduce redundancy and recruitment costs while mitigating the risk of losing key talent.

Janine Chamberlin, senior director at LinkedIn, sums it up well:

"Encouraging internal mobility not only boosts retention and improves employee engagement, but it can also help companies evolve their businesses from within and bridge any existing skills gaps. To ensure employees are set up for success and have the skills to support career transitions, reskilling and upskilling initiatives are vital and HR professionals will play a pivotal role in facilitating this."

However, for redeployment to be successful, businesses need to be aware of challenging underlying factors. In reality, redeployment is an internal job market which can create great strain that may or may not be apparent. To counter this, employees need the same support as if they were exiting the organisation.

Itís clear that changes to a personís job is likely to be highly sensitive. Indeed, when someone hears their role is no longer required, they can go through a period of disbelief, shock or anger. They can feel uncertain about their future with the organisation - even with potential new jobs available. The changes can also create concern and confusion for people whose roles arenít directly impacted. The entire process needs to be handled with extreme care so all employees feel supported, helping the business to remain as steady as possible.

There needs to be a realisation from HR and business leaders of the pressure employees will be facing in an internal hiring process. This will feel and behave very much like an external market to those people involved, with the added complexity of people potential knowing other candidates competing for roles. They may face unfamiliar and daunting situations - new role profiles, competency frameworks, writing expressions of interest, creating CVís, preparing and participating in interviews. On top of this, they may feel relatively ill equipped to handle all of this, especially if theyíve been in their role for a long period of time.

The problem is exacerbated for the business as people in confusion may disengage with the process entirely, which can seriously undermine the exerciseís success.

We advise employers to consider these key elements:

Have a clear redeployment strategy to support employees from the outset. What wonít work well is Ďjustí communicating new job opportunities and hoping that will be enough to inspire employees to apply. Businesses that understand the issues and plan around providing emotional and technical support are the ones that will find staff engaging more fully.

Level the playing field for all types of employees. There will no doubt be people who are interested in roles who are highly skilled but arenít so proficient with an interview process. They may not be confident about their position, or understand their value in a changed role or how they could contribute as part of a new team, yet they could be essential talent the business wants to keep.

Provide practical support to navigate the internal job market. When support isnít provided, organisations increase the possibility of hiring the wrong people to roles and potentially losing valuable skills. They may find they fill roles based on those with the best CV or interview technique and miss those with skills with current or potential future value.

Help employees understand their values, skills and options. This will help people respond with more motivation, commitment and productivity. Itís important to provide employees with support so they are able to effectively identify their transferable skills against new roles and support them with the practical guidance to articulate this through the entire process - from expressions of interest and CVs through to interview practice.

Invest time and resources to help the transition. Besides the support programme, itís important to deliver solid communications, a fair and unbiased re-hiring process and appropriate reskilling and upskilling opportunities.

In summary, a good redeployment strategy that focuses on all employees - those who are directly and indirectly impacted - allows an organisation to continue moving forward more quickly and decisively. Creating positive redeployment support also helps ensure that negative communications are reduced, protecting the employer brand.


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