Concept Onyx Recruitment

Concept Personnel’s Guide to Career Cushioning

Ever heard of Career Cushioning? No, neither had we until recently. There’s definitely more information out there for candidates, so we’re exploring the subject from the hiring managers side of the desk.

Ever heard of Career Cushioning? No, neither had we until recently. However, we’ve noticed that it keeps coming up in conversations across social media platforms, in articles and even on TV. There’s definitely more information out there for candidates than there is for employers, so we’re exploring the subject from the hiring managers side of the desk.

As we’ve previously found with trending workplace phrases such as ‘quiet quitting’ or ‘act your wage’, the labels are new but the meaning and behaviours behind them have been around forever. Let’s delve into it.

What’s Career Cushioning?

Career Cushioning means building up new skills, experiences and networks, whether to prepare for job hunting, to make yourself more appealing to an employer, or for your own personal development. Historically, career cushioning was something unhappy employees might have done before choosing to hand in their notice. Now even employees who are happy in their roles, could be career cushioning too.

Why Is It Trending Now?

With the fallout after the pandemic and operating costs skyrocketing, many organisations have had to make the difficult decision to let colleagues go this year. The economy is uncertain, and with the cost of living increasing and minimum wage on the up, employees are taking the opportunity to educate themselves and upskill to protect their futures.

Should I Be Worried?

If you know your employees are happy, engaged and want to progress within your company, there’s no reason to worry. Career Cushioning doesn’t mean your employees have suddenly changed their attitude towards their current role and your business. Who doesn’t want a safety net in case of the worst-case scenario? It’s actually pretty sensible to create a layer of protection should you need it.

How Can I Support My Team?

Give reassurance and communicate. Reassurance is key. Clearly communicate your business circumstances and if you can, the financial position you’re in. This clarity and communication will naturally make your employees feel more valued in the workplace.

A happy and well supported team are far more likely to stay with you, through the good times and the bad. Communicating well means less chance for speculation and unnecessary worry. The more people know, the less worried they’ll be about their job security (unless you’ve given them a legitimate reason to be).

Embrace Upskilling

Support your team to upskill and learn new things, regardless of your circumstances. People love to learn, and career cushioning by upskilling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A more skilled team benefits your business while they’re with you and gives them good motivation to stay.

Providing learning opportunities positively increases work force engagement too. When you invest in people’s career growth it shows you value them. And feeling valued leads to higher productivity, better job satisfaction, and a more positive work environment overall.

Facilitate Regular 1-2-1s

Having open and honest conversations gives your team members the chance to tell you if they’re worried about their job security. Make space for these important conversations with regular 1-2-1s. In these meetings be sure to talk about the skills they’d like to develop, help them find courses and schedule time to do any ongoing personal development. If an employee is actively trying to leave and you’re encouraging open conversations with your team, you can be prepared to support further development or start a recruitment process to replace.

Need more advice?

Want to chat about career cushioning? Feel free to get in touch. We can also talk you through workplace benefits, or retaining and growing your team.


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