April 29. 2020

Part 2 – How Covid19 is transforming the workforce

The new ways of working not only will change the nature of the workplace but can also make companies more effective. Outplacement providers who figure out how to use today’s adversity to invent tomorrow’s workplace will be the ones that prosper in the long term. This was the main subject of the 2nd webinar on Covid19. During this webinar we discussed the current situation by answering 2 questions:

1. How has Covid19 effected you and your business?

2. How have you reacted business wise, coped with and found creative solutions to deal with?

Per country the governments made different decisions. You can read here, what the consequences are for your colleagues from Austria, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and how they reacted.

Pascal Laurent Favre

President ACF International

performance development partners

Managing Director


by Stefan Hansson

Killingholmen Konsult AB

Senior advisor ACF International

In Sweden there has not been a lock down. The country’s strategy has not been a complete success. One in four persons living in Stockholm could soon be infected by the coronavirus, the Swedish health agency reported on Friday (24 April), adding that half of the 2.35 million-strong city could be infected within the next six to seven weeks. The parliament enabled the government on 16 April to take special measures in response to the coronavirus.

Industry: Not only automotive but also other branches are suffering. Service business hotels/restaurants and small shops are trying to survive and ask for assistance. Therefor outplacement industry is going very well and needs to get new people in for consulting regarding outplacement. The money comes from transition funds, not from companies. At the moment we are renting our HR people to companies who do not have an HR manager. With the upcoming redundancies they need to have an HR manager for the coming period 5/6 months.

Change: In the future digitalisation and distance coaching is here to stay.

Most companies need to make a differentiation. Distance coaching is cheaper (no offices), but you will look more alike in this way. The brand name is important and the brand you offer. In the future we have to continue in our performance of person to person coaching, as this is our usp. At the same time leadership management is important. New areas to explore. Recruitment process will be still interested for companies. A professional recruiter could be very interesting to have in your team.

Forecast: In the first four month of this year the outplacement industry already reached its annual turnover. A growth of 200/300% this year is expected. We will level up for next year regarding the expected increase of the outplacement business.

The UK is still in lockdown although this is expected to ease a little from May 7th – it will take many months before normality returns. British Airways has communicated to lay off 12,000 of its 42,000 workers – many more organisations to follow.

UK government is furloughing workers and under-writing 80% of their salary (up to £2500pp/pm) until the end of June. British firms have been encouraged to stagger employees’ working hours as part of the phase-out of the coronavirus lockdown, The UK government is expected to reveal plans to ease the lockdown soon. However, UK became, on 29 April, the European country with the second-highest death toll, surpassing Spain and France.

Industry: Outplacement activity is still not increasing but an expectation that this will increase quickly if the furlough activity ceases.

We have seen a small but noticeable increase in opportunities and enquiries.

Change: Moving forward we’ll see a significant number of people working from home and the expectation is that travel will be much more limited than before.

Forecast: Unemployment rate was 3.9% before Furlough – expected to go as high as 10-12% before dropping back to 5-6% at year end – however that is all estimation at the moment.


Katie Goring

Career Star Group

Marketing Manager

Owen Morgan


Managing Director

(written contribution)


Charel Jelles


Managing Partner

charel jelles

The Dutch government ministers are not planning to relax social distancing rules, despite MPs hoping that people working more’hands-on’ jobs would restart before the ban on their activities is supposed to end on 20 May. The closure of schools and children’s sports clubs are the only measures that are lifted in May. All other “intelligent lockdown” rules will be extended until at least 20 May, while all events including professional football are suspended until 1 September, the PM added.

Industry: Business has changed rapidly over the past few months. People adapt quite easily to the new situation by working remote. Decrease at the moment regarding outplacement.

Change: Remote work will change our work as career transition providers. In the Netherlands people are now asking for virtual delivery of the programs.

We need to adjust our tooling for the future. What will be the wallet of the companies later this year when restructuring starts? Do we need to lower the price and the content of the outplacement programs?

Forecast: Expected that larger companies will restructure by the end of the year. Increase of requests for outplacement will consequently follow.

The French government presented a plan to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday (28 April). Primary schools and day-cares will reopen from 11 May with staggered restarts for older grades. Meanwhile, three of France’s largest trade unions have proposed that Amazon France’s management gradually resume its activities while the US logistics giant has to stay closed until 5 May.

Industry: Partial unemployment measurements are being financed by the Government. At the moment no massive unemployment. However a large wave of unemployment (2 million) is expected in the last quarter of the year. Current restructuring projects are continuing. Governmental administration has slowed down on approving restructuring project. Clients who were planning restructuring the organisation, do continue in doing this.

Change: Working on new remote programs: coaching, surveys, career development.

Companies will take different forms. There will be reduction on workforce, reflection about the work force on allocation of staff, interactivity within the company and the future of the jobs.

The crisis has showed the importance of change management and crisis management knowledge for the middle management and HR managers, this is interesting from a business development perspective.

Forecast: Minus 30% in delivering and invoicing. Few new orders. This will catch up by the end of the year. It will be a flat year. Next year will be very interesting and expecting an increase. BPI has 3 business lines. Talent management services, Organisation and Change, Restructuring. All business lines will be in demand as all companies will need to change.


Sabine Abello


International Development Manager

Stephanie Ryan


International Projects Consultant


Staffan Kurtén

HRM Partners

Co founder & Senior Advisor

The Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin laid out the country’s new hybrid coronavirus strategy with an emphasis on ramping up testing. On 18 April, a tabloid, Ilta-Sanomat, revealed that Finland missed out the first chances to get protective gear through a joint European Union effort.

Change: The new normal will be digitalisation and distant working in all countries. We need to act fast and invest in service innovation and service design in outplacement if we want to prosper in the future. Outplacement is a commodity, so we have developed more in leadership development. The culture question will arise in companies. Now it shows how important it is to have a good strong positive culture as this has an effect on the well being within the company and the result.

A new type of leadership has to be developed.

Spain’s coronavirus lockdown will be lifted in stages although de-escalation could progress at different speeds at a provincial level. With less new cases and deaths, the curve of the pandemic has begun to flatten.

Industry: Unfortunately Spain has become the international benchmark for this drama. There is no unity in the country regarding the measurements taken. Instead of a general national approach one sees now 2 camps both with a political background. The economy is depressed and many companies are in danger. Tourism is Spain’s main income source and will be severely hit this summer.

Change: At the moment we are in close contact with our clients, as we are aware that they will require our services during the hard time that is ahead of us.

The balance is how to be close in the distance? How can you get the human touch if there is not a face to face meeting? We think of reaching new segments based on our social existence. Working with B2C segment, starts to make sense to us.

We see a shift from the office to the website as we cannot maintain relations from a sales/business development perspective, the way we used to do by personal visits. We are rethinking the website and its functions.

Forecast: Business is picking up it will definitely rise quite significantly.


Fernando Negueruela

Grupo Persona

Director strategic solutions


Norbert Kiesling

Schuster & Associates

Managing Director

The government rolled out an economy plan but has not given concrete details yet on implementation. The plan would include tax reductions for low and middle-income workers, relief for the economy to “save, maintain and create” new jobs and investments in climate and digitalisation.

As of 1 May, Austrians can head outside without a stated reason and companies will reopen. Schools are expected to reopen on 15 May, restaurants will reopen June. Large events are not allowed until summer.

Change: Digitalisation will change the work. Writing CV’s, supporting applications can be done on distance. 90 % of the clients like to back to the office and face to face meetings can not be replaced. Coaching development, personal development you have specific elements that need to be discussed. They are longing for the face to face meetings.

Forecast: These last 2 months were very low no extra business. At the moment we see a huge request for coaching, outplacement new placement.

On 27 April, the first round of lifting restrictions came into effect with hair salons, home improvement stores, and garden centres re-opening. Provided there isn’t a significant increase in infections, the Swiss government plans to restart schools on 11 May. A third round of restrictions are set to be loosened on 8 June, pending a government agreement on 27 May.

Change: We see a need for more and more blending offering. We have to develop digital programs for distant coaching (remote tools) and home office.


These last 3 months we have noticed a drop of 30% regarding outplacement. For the rest of 2020 we expect an increase of 30%. Which makes 2020 a flat year.

For 2021 we expect an increase of 10%.


Marion Mathais