Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Understanding Lee Hecht Harrison's Career Transition Service Program

We experience a lot of changes in life. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, some of these changes are beyond our control. Still, it has been said that whatever problems we face are not as important as our attitude towards them. "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude," right?

change can be confusing
But, what if your boss informs you that the company you've served loyally for years has to let you go and that you no longer have to report to work tomorrow, next week, or next month? What do you do? How do you think you'd feel? When will you tell your family about it?

Many of us have probably experienced job loss at some point in our careers. Maybe it was due to a merger or takeover, a decision to downsize operations, or other various reasons. The thing is, laid off employees are not just the ones affected. Their families will also feel the financial and emotional impact.        

Mr. Vicente Kilayko
"When employees have to be laid off, it's really usually nobody's fault. Changes happen. When two companies merge, you cannot have two presidents, one must go. Or, if new technology comes in and manual labor is eliminated, then you have to let people go, too," explained Vicente Kilayko, Managing Director of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). "But, it should be the employer's responsibility to make sure that the laid off employees are taken cared of."

Now THAT is the missing link! Displaced workers don't have to go through this challenging phase alone! Outplacement or Career Transition Service (CTS) is a program offered by LHH designed to help companies make changes in their organization by taking care of employees that are impacted or laid off because of change. 

LHH's Assess, Implement, Manage (AIM) Framework Milestones
Kilayko described LHH as the only global outplacement establishment in the Philippines. It has already partnered with more than 200 local and foreign companies and has served more than 5,000 people in transition ranging from rank and file employees to CEOs.

What LHH does encompasses:

  1. The Manager Notification Training (MNT), which helps companies prepare for Tell-Day by ensuring that the message is delivered properly and the impacted employee's self-respect is maintained. Kilayko shared that they also discuss strategies on how to communicate with the remaining employees. 
  2. The Onsite Notification Support that ensures that an LHH Consultant is available onsite during Tell-Day to help talk to impacted employees through the first emotional reactions, the next steps, and the "Do's" and "Don'ts," which may include advice on how to share the news with their spouse, family, and friends.
  3. The CTS program or Outplacement that can either be delivered to a group or individually. Participants are guided on how to examine their career; clarify their career-related interests, skills, and values; evaluate career options; and apply the career decision-making process.

our fun and enlightening group session
photo credit: Nana Nadal
Group workshops can run for several days while individual programs can range from one month to as long as one year. In the individual program, participants are given access to a professional career consultant and an adviser on financial planning, investment management, and entrepreneurship. They are also provided online resources (database, resume templates, and online training) as well as job leads and market information.

Individuals can further attend group focus sessions that build skills in resume writing, interviewing, negotiating, personal planning, investment management, entrepreneurship, debt and credit management, and many other topics. For those who feel the need to be inside an office setting while they decide on what to do next, LHH has available work stations, unlimited internet access, telephone, secretary services, and a library with publications related to recruitment and job search. 

work stations at the LHH office
I had the chance to experience for myself what happens during a CTS session when I visited the LHH premises in Makati the other day. Operations Director Jo Ann Asetre gave us a preview of some of the activities done during the program. 

According to her, the primary objective of a career transition program is to help participants find an appropriate new career as quickly and as effectively as possible. Note, then, that it is not advisable to grab just any job that comes your way after losing one! 

what do you value most?
In addition, to avoid any misconceptions that they are like head hunting companies, Jo Ann clarified, "We teach people how to find a job, not give them one." To differentiate better, head hunters are hired by companies to find individuals to fill up positions, LHH is hired by companies, that are letting go of positions or individuals, to offer the CTS program to those affected or terminated.  

A new career may be in the form of another job, a new business, or active retirement. To arrive at any of these, you have to have a professional objective first because it will give you direction in your job search, set the tone for resume and other communications, and help you select and prioritize your contact and target lists. 

what things are you good at, want to develop, or totally hate doing? 
You also have to be sure that what you want to do fits your qualifications and that you are aware of different possibilities and options, not just a single job. I appreciated the activity where we grouped cards that indicate specific tasks we enjoy, slightly enjoy, or totally don't enjoy doing and which ones we are highly competent in or have no skills at all. This affirmed my present career choices and why I would probably never get into any job that involves being an entertainer :p

I also enjoyed the activity where we chose which principles we value most or not. Each card has detailed descriptions of each principle so it was quite easy to place them in the categories where they belong. It was interesting to see my fellow bloggers putting their cards in different orders and priorities. Just shows how unique each of us are.

the Insight Game
My top favorite activity, however, is the Insight Game where I found that I have an INTJ (Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Thinking) personality. I read through the assessment paper and saw many of the descriptions such as "have a driving need to understand, to know, and to demonstrate competence," "trust their insights," "want to make sense of the world," "value logic," and "driven by insight/intuition" really fit me. That was such a lightbulb moment! If all displaced employees would get to undergo these kinds of sessions, I am sure they will find their next job faster and which they would be happy to have. 

In a nutshell, outplacement basically bridges the gap between careers and provides a good opportunity to assess one's employability under the guidance of a professional career consultant. LHH statistics prove that those in the program find their next job 50% faster.

an individual consultation at LHH
In case you're wondering, LHH does not offer CTS to walk-in individuals. If you are affected by a change in your company, contact your Human Resources Department and request them to provide you with an outplacement program. In fact, it would be good to ask for a CTS clause before you sign any employment contracts in the future! Did you know, in other countries, particularly Spain, outplacement is already mandated by law?

Employers may ask, what's in it for me? Here are the benefits of CTS:
  • termination is conducted correctly and sensitively
  • it eases stress and trauma
  • enhances public image
  • helps maintain morale of remaining staff
  • minimizes possibility of legal action
  • fulfills a social responsibility 
the Lee Hecht Harrison Philippine team
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Kilayko when he said corporate social responsibility should begin within the company. "It's not always about building homes for the poor or educating street children. It's also about looking out for the welfare of your employees," he pointed out.

Learn more about Lee Hecht Harrison at and tell your organization about it! LHH's Philippine office can be reached at +632 811 6884. They are also on Facebook:

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