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Providing Better Support to Employees Changing Careers

By Jori Hamilton


Image Source: Pixabay

November 19 2021 - Experts say that "the average person will change careers 5 to 7 times during their working years." We’re long past the days of your first career being the one you retire in. This is also true for the employees at your company.

As an HR professional, you may not even see yourself having an active role in an employee’s career change. Instead, your work likely revolves around recruiting, onboarding new employees, and maintaining a healthy relationship with each for the time they’re with your company.

Why is it, though, that supporting an employee who wants to leave or change careers isn’t as much of a priority for HR?

Although most companies are failing to train their HR teams on how to provide ample support for employees who are ready to leave their current roles and change careers, those that do benefit tremendously. Those benefits include positive company culture, a motivated workforce, and a better overall business reputation.

Here’s how HR professionals can support an employee navigating a career change.

Encourage Employees to Stay With the Company

First, you should be encouraging employees to stay with your company long term from the beginning. You should always notify employees of open positions, career development opportunities, available additional training, mentorship programs, and anything else that shows them how serious you are about keeping them around for the long haul.

When an employee knows there are career advancement opportunities available to them, they’re more likely to, at least, consider staying with your company when they feel it’s time for a change.

If staying with the company isn’t in the cards for an employee, sit down with them and find out where they see their career going.

Have an In-depth Discussion About Their Vision

If an employee isn’t interested in staying with your company or there aren’t any internal roles available that match where they want to take their career, the next step is a meeting to discuss their vision.

Have an in-depth discussion with the employee about the details of their career change. Find out what role they think would be perfect for the next steps of their career. Review their strengths with them and brainstorm career and specific jobs that will help these strengths shine. You’ll also want to explore career options with them that will challenge them and encourage growth.

Another way to provide better support to employees changing careers is to help them polish their job search materials.

Polish Job Search Materials

You’re an expert on what makes a candidate’s job search materials stand out. Sharing best practices, tips, and insight on polishing their job search materials will help your employees have a better chance of landing an interview.

Assist them in updating their resume to support a career change. Give them feedback on their cover letters. You can also help them determine references and choose which managers to approach for a potential letter of recommendation.

You can also give them job interview guidance.

Give Job Interview Guidance

Any job interview can be a bit nerve-wracking. But when you’re changing careers, there’s an added layer to the job interview. They’ll have to explain why they are changing careers and how their work experience and skillset can transfer to their new careers. You can step in and help them prepare for how they will talk about their career change.

It’s also important to chat with them about the possibility of having to engage in a remote interview. Remote job interviews are popular among many companies because their easy to schedule and administer.

Help an employee on their way out prepare for a remote interview by giving them tips on:

  • How to organize their space for the interview
  • What to wear to impress the interviewer
  • Preparing their tech equipment
  • How to practice for a virtual interview

Reminding employees choosing to change careers about the resources available to them can help them feel more supported as well.

Remind Them of Resources That Can Aid a Seamless Transition

Deciding to leave one career to take on another is an exciting time, but it can also be equally overwhelming.

You can help employees changing careers through the ups and downs of preparing for the transition by reminding them of the company resources available to them. For instance, let them know if they can still partake in upskilling training or if mental health resources are still there to help them wrap their mind and emotions around making a career change.

Lastly, you can orchestrate an amicable exit for employees changing careers.

Orchestrate an Amicable Exit

When it’s time to go, do all you can to ensure an employee leaves on good terms. Help them have a productive conversation with management when they get a job offer. Assist them in getting any lingering projects completed or delegated. And conduct a productive exit interview to learn all you can about the employee’s experience with your company and how you can improve.

You’ll also want to celebrate them on their last day. Be sure that they know you appreciate all they did for your company, that they were loved by their coworkers and managers, and that everyone supports them stepping into their new career path confidently.


Although HR professionals aren’t known to support employees through a career change, the most successful ones find that doing so gives them a leg up in their careers.

Of course, company leaders don’t want employees to leave their businesses. But it’s better to encourage their growth and doing what’s best for their life’s vision if you genuinely care about your employees.

Not only will this show your current employees that your company truly cares about them, but it will also leave the employees changing careers with nothing but positive things to say, furthering a positive company and workplace reputation.

About the author

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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