There are relatively few facets of our lives that now demand face to face interaction. In our capacities as employees or consumers, as friends or family members, we are now highly accustomed to doing things remotely that at one time, we could (or would) only do in person. Not only are we now accustomed to conducting our day to day activities this way, we now actively choose to do so in so many areas; whether it be virtual working, buying goods and services, or even starting or nurturing personal relationships.
In 2013, a report from the Institute of Leadership and Management highlighted that over 50% of UK employers now consider offsite working to be standard practice and, according to the most recent ONS survey of online usage, over 73% of the population of Great Britain now use the internet every day and over 72% of adults bought services online in 2013.
This isn’t just the preserve of Generation Y. Generation X’ers and baby boomers are at it too. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Skype have all changed the ways we choose to communicate with one another beyond recognition and this trend can only accelerate. So in this broad context, what are the opportunities for our industry?
Put simply, the changes in the way we all now choose to communicate demand that we rethink our approach. It allows us to look at new ways of delivering outplacement support that can provide our clients with greater depth of meaningful, personalised support, over a more sustained period of time, to more employees, for less money than before. For too long we have been restricted by very traditional models, creating programmes largely built around group workshop activity for the many and more tailored one to one support delivered in person for the few.
Understandably, workshops have been the default choice as organisations have looked to provide some level of face to face support on a more cost effective basis. Perhaps wrongly however, we’ve assumed that in person means personal. The reality of a more generalised group activity is that the opportunity for very tailored support is limited, the emphasis is necessarily more on ‘tell’ and not ‘coach’ and of course, it is only a very short term intervention.
High quality one to one coaching, delivered face to face, while undoubtedly effective, can be expensive. A significant part of this cost is logistical; travel, meeting rooms, and administration to name but a few. All of this soaks up client spend that in the future could be better focussed on the delivery of meaningful, personalised support to the individual. Of course, there will always be a place for face to face coaching. Where budget allows, there isn’t a better way to create an immediate connection between individual and Coach. However, the balance we strike between the delivery of face to face support and more flexible, accessible, timely support delivered remotely is one that our industry needs to address moving forward.
Delivering high impact support via remote channels is not just a matter of switching from the meeting room to the telephone. Coaching frameworks need to be adapted to be effective across these new communication channels. At present, remote support is too often little more than an uncomfortable add on to a more traditional programme of support, operating more as a Q&A centre, rather than as genuine extension to a single coaching relationship that provides continuity and coherence over a sustained period. Technology plays a hand in this too –there are very few outplacement companies that don’t have an online offering, but the extent to which they can genuinely integrate these highly valuable digital resources into their coaching programmes will, to a significant degree, impact on their ability to deliver highly effective remote programmes in the future.
Far from encouraging the ‘de-personalisation’ of outplacement, remote delivery gives us the opportunity to provide a more enhanced, more personalised support programme of support to individuals that can adapt and evolve to their journey over the lifetime of their transition. For our clients, remote delivery enables them to extend the reach of tailored, personal, one to one support to the many, not the few.
Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org