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downsizing ahead? revamp your redeployment program for better outcomes.

revamp your redeployment program for better outcomes.

In 2024, 92% of organizations expect to take some form of downsizing action, and offering redeployment is the most common anticipated action (expected by 40% of organizations).

Findings from Randstad Enterprise’s 2023 Global Severance research show that 86% of business and HR leaders rate the way their organizations handle redeployment as excellent or very good (the highest rating of any downsizing actions taken in 2023). However, those same leaders estimate that only 59% of employees would rate their redeployment programs as positive. So what might be causing that mismatch?

When organizations consider redeployment programs as a strategic approach to manage role reductions, it's critical that they effectively address the key concerns of affected employees. This includes access to internal job opportunities, support for retraining and upskilling, and clear guidance on how to successfully navigate internal role transitions.

Our study reveals, however, a concerning trend. While 63% say they are prepared to offer redeployment programs to employees, just 37% report offering notifications on internal job leads. Just 46% say they offer upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and only 42% offer coaching to guide people through to the next step in their careers.

This lack of communication marks a significant shortfall in the support offered to employees aiming to transition within the company. It underscores an urgent need for organizations to refine their redeployment programs, ensuring they not only facilitate mobility but also foster professional growth and development across the workforce.

With so many factors — from skilling strategies, to assessing how motivated people are to learn to mapping which employees might be good candidates — it can be challenging to create a seamless redeployment experience. But as more companies look to improve access to skills, as well as their image, doing it well delivers major benefits, including: 

  • increased agility and resilience in the workforce
  • improved engagement and loyalty from people
  • greater sharing of internal know-how and more cross-functional collaboration
  • reduced recruitment costs (either now or in the future)
  • improved brand reputation and employee advocacy

If you’re one of the 92% of organizations expecting to take some downsizing action this year, and redeployment is likely to be part of that, now is the time to review what you have in place, and what you could do to enhance it both in the short and long term. Critical components of a highly effective redeployment program include support for:

1. processing the change

Having support in place right away to help affected employees process this new change and start to approach redeployment with a positive mindset is key. It enables them to make a successful internal move and continue to contribute discretionary effort and their social and intellectual capital to your organization.

This support could take the form of an existing employee assistance program (EAP), dedicated career coaches (either in an in-house redeployment team or engaged externally) or peer-to-peer mentoring. When we asked organizational leaders what they would most like to add to their existing redeployment programs, peer-to-peer mentoring was the most popular option (30% of organizations wish to add this).

2. finding suitable new internal vacancies

We were surprised to find that notifications of internal job leads only formed part of the redeployment offer in 37% of surveyed organizations, despite being identified as effective by 94%. While most organizations will have an internal job board of some sort, there should be a defined process for talent in a redeployment pool to have clear awareness and access to all available roles, or even advanced or priority notification of new openings.

It’s also possible to deploy skills matching technologies that can rank available roles by fit for the employee’s skills and experience. Such a platform can also suggest relevant learning to help the employee plug any gaps in readiness for an interview.

Upskilling and reskilling support is the most common element of a redeployment program, but it’s still only offered by less than half (46%) of organizations. If you’re serious about operating a best-in-class redeployment service, you should help employees identify their skilling needs and support them in developing in those areas quickly.

3. making internal connections

While most people have a LinkedIn profile and are familiar with the concept of networking for an external job search, many overlook the value of internal networking. Identifying a friend or colleague who works in another part of the organization and can provide insights into the work they do can be invaluable in sizing up the right internal move.

Many organizations have internal networking platforms, but for large-scale redeployment exercises it’s worth thinking about hosting an internal career site or a career fair — either in the physical location where the redeployment exercise is taking place or virtually. In our research, internal career fairs are one of the lowest scoring elements of current redeployment programs (35% report hosting these); but are also one of the top three elements organizations would like to add or expand (along with job-search related webinars and peer-to-peer networking) in their redeployment programs. 

4. preparing to apply

Some people in a redeployment program may not have applied and interviewed for a job for many years. It’s likely that a resume or CV will need updating, and any insights on current interview practices will help them prepare and present themselves at their best for an internal move.

Some of this support can be provided by AI and other online tools, such as resume builders, assessments, video content and practice interview apps. However, this is where a career coach can really make a positive impact. A coach offers personalized support and guidance in a way that AI can’t — from how to weigh up the pros and cons of available roles that align with the employee’s aspirations and career objectives, to how to tailor a resume for a certain role or think about questions to ask a hiring manager.

5. landing and transitioning into the new role

All of the above components will offer an employee the best chance of securing a suitable new role internally. And it should ensure they are motivated and productive in this new role — enabling you to realize the benefits of a successful redeployment program.

Coaching can not only help employees find the right role, prepare for interviews,  present themselves at their best. They can also provide support on how to successfully transition to the new internal role to make an impact quickly.

realizing competitive advantage

Far from being seen as an additional cost of restructuring, or even used as a surreptitious method of reducing headcount, investing in your redeployment program can deliver a tangible ROI. Supporting employees to upskill or reskill and move internally when business change necessitates a reduction of resources in one area can pay off in many others. A combination of AI-based smart job matching technology, coaching and career development resources can provide everything you need to overhaul a redeployment program. 

Download the latest Randstad Enterprise Global Severance Research to learn more about these trends, or speak to one of our experts about how we can help you build a highly effective redeployment program.