Career Development in Turbulent Times

Recently I was the guest speaker at a webinar which was addressing the topic “Career Development in Turbulent Times”.

It was for Executives in the public, private and voluntary sectors. It recognised that during the last 14 months, life has been extraordinarily demanding and in the main people have kept going but as we come out from lockdown and the workplace pressures that the pandemic has brought, we need to address two areas going forward:

  1. There is a general recognition going forward there are likely to be some job losses as organisations recover and adopt a “new normal”. This is likely to include incorporating regular home working as a regular feature of how they will operate. There will be less people needed in the different management strata across organisations.
  2. For those remaining, the big question is what support should be offered to help them recover – “the survivor syndrome”, and their onward development?

During a poll of those attending the webinar 92% admitted they had not properly prepared for the move ahead. I was frankly stunned. The webinar was for 45 minutes and the organisers asked me to produce some short tips that could be helpful to leavers and survivors. I thought these might be helpful to you too, so here they are:

For those who will unfortunately have to leave the organisation

These basic points are often initially missed by the leavers I work with


FACT 1   When Job Seeking, you are selling yourself
Action 1  Identify your skills and competencies so you can talk through how you can benefit your new customer – your potential boss

FACT 2   Job market vacancies are filled 30% by agencies and 70% by contacts and networking
Action 2  Do NOT put 70% of your efforts into chasing 30% of the market place. Learn how to network and communicate with your contacts

FACT 3   CVs are your sales brochure. Readers will give it 90 seconds, are mainly interested in the last 10 years and what you achieved in each job
Action 3  Keep it to two pages, make punchy bullet point statements, and focus on what was achieved rather than responsibilities which are implied in the job title

In summary here, if organisations do not adequately look after Leavers it will have a negative effect on the Survivors.

Survivors are the lifeblood in your organisation so please read these tips carefully


These should be HR initiatives supported and implemented by line managers and all staff

  1. Create a Solution Focused culture
    • This should be directed at helping staff to focus on solutions to work and career issues rather than exploring problems
    • Build on, and encourage how to leverage strengths rather than “solve” weaknesses
    • Find positive ways forward and overcoming barriers
  2. What do individuals need to do to make for successful job outcomes?
    • Focus on the individual and what sensible goals should they set themselves in the short to middle term.
    • This includes any teams responsibilities
    • Use a simple Core Objectives tool supported by a Monthly Action Plan to measure progress
  3. Encourage upwards management for improved engagement and performance
    • Encourage through the culture change a strong solutions based approach from staff upwards through the organisation structure
    • Develop in surviving staff a stronger sense of belonging than may have been there before
    • Apply a mentoring and coaching approach to organisation development

Ian Munro

Ian is an associate of Healthskills and in addition to Executive Coaching he has written these two books for those seeking a new job or learning to develop their career