After three years in the UK, it was time for Human Resources manager Kirstie Wardle and her fiancé to return home.
"I'd been one of the first two employees in a business that we grew to around a thousand staff in the UK, so it had been a long time since I'd looked for a job. I didn't know if my HR experience from the other side [of the world] could help at all in finding new work."
The relocation went well. She quickly found work but recently lost her job – something many New Zealanders have faced due to Covid-19.
Wardle's previous NZ employer, Sky TV, engaged CDL Insight Consulting to help the HR Manager and others displaced find work. Change management and outplacement specialists, CDL supports people facing redundancy, including provision of a coach to help chart the next part of a career journey.
"Redundancy can make some people feel quite negative and the coach is able to help turn your mindset around, get them ready to be in a positive frame because you don't want to be going for a job interview and feeling negative or feeling like you're not the right person.
"They're really there to give you self-confidence, to explore what you can do," says Wardle.
There is, she says, often tension between HR and the outgoing employee because while the HR person is delivering what the company needs, it has an impact on someone personally.
"This is about putting in that support for the individual. Being able to get someone who is not part of your company, and not invested in the outcome, and who has the time to do it is really important."
Wardle says outsourcing to an independent can also help free up internal HR departments to spend time working with those still employed – and improve company culture.
HR is more commonly known as People and Culture these days, she says, moving away from it being seen as a corporate policy and moving into how people feel psychologically.
"Do they feel safe at work? How do they grow? And how do you then grow your business by making people the heart of it?"
Wardle says every person who works at a company drives the culture and makes the culture what it is: "Our job is partly to help set the direction and expectations – but then we must help people achieve that; the culture grows organically from there."
Wardle, who has recently started in an HR role at Westpac NZ, says since Covid-19 more New Zealand companies are prioritising employee wellbeing, which includes helping with outplacement.
"There is an awful lot of change going on in every single business and it's really in the forefront of people's minds. I think it will continue happening because businesses are going to keep growing and keep changing."
With businesses continuing to evolve, Wardle says she's noticed the younger employment generation are particularly agile, working in multiple roles for multiple employers.
"We haven't really seen as much [job changing] as we thought we were going to but now I can see that growing – so there will be more people changing jobs more often; [job] security will become less, I think, as well."
Wardle says she knows people impacted by change recently who are a little bit older: "They totally get that the world's changed and they just want to have another opportunity to get involved in something. CDL can really help."
Having been through a redundancy process herself and working with CDL to help others do the same, Wardle assures Kiwis facing change that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
"What I've found throughout my career is that people, in six months' time, are usually in a far better place than they were in that previous role. Often they have been given the push and the support through coaching finds something that actually is far better suited to them and which they enjoy a lot more.
"Having someone in your corner who's cheerleading you while you're looking for jobs is really helpful."
See link to listen to podcast Ep. 4 Who helps the helpers? What happens when HR gets made redundant