A few months ago I found myself in a lift with a high profile lawyer. I recognised him from a number of cases that had made it on to News at Ten. We exchanged pleasantries and then he asked me what the company did. The first thing that raced through my mind was that for the first time in my entire life I was actually going to get a chance to deliver a real elevator pitch!
“We help people get back in to work” is how I kicked it off. “Companies pay us to help their people find and land their next role” I continued. But before I got to the “it helps organisations protect their brand and reputation” bit we were at the ground floor, the lift doors opened and m’learned friend flounced off in to the distance. But as he did, he delivered a massively low blow. “So you’re ambulance chasers then” and he was gone.
My immediate reaction was that I really need to work on my elevator pitch. But then what he said began to sink in and I became angry and deeply offended. Is that really how he saw it? Is that what others think?
As a provider and one time recipient of outplacement support myself I can’t shout “objection” loud enough! From my own experience I can say that the biggest benefit I derived from my outplacement support was a sense of confidence and optimism. Furthermore, the initial anxiety and stress at being made redundant were replaced by a renewed purpose which helped me devise and execute, in the words of Sir Baldrick, “a cunning plan”.
At Chiumento we often refer to outplacement as career transition. I think that sums it up nicely. It’s not just about ‘placing’ somebody ‘outside’ the company. It’s about helping people make the right decisions that make change a positive experience for their lives as well as their careers.
It worked for me and I know it works for countless others as well. One of our corporate clients said something very powerful to me recently. “What you do has a bigger impact on peoples’ lives than anything else we do.” And that is the reality. So I will rewrite my elevator pitch and, if I ever bump into my legal chum again, I will put him right in no uncertain terms!
Client Development Director