How a reputable travel recruitment agency can help following redundancy
With the recent collapse of our business partners LateRooms and Superbreak, and more recently the huge closure of Thomas Cook, I have been talking to managers and directors who have lost jobs. I’ve been using the Four Rooms of Change model to help people process the stress and difficulty of having sudden change forced on them.
The Four Rooms of Change theory, by Swedish psychologist Claes F Janssen, describes the process of change as a move through four rooms. These are labelled Contentment: which is lost when change arrives suddenly; Denial: when you’re still defending the old; Confusion: the turning point, which ends when we give up whatever it is that has to be given up; and Renewal: when we’re open to new possibilities.
I spoke to one woman late last week who had lost her job. She seemed determined to quickly get into the Renewal stage (she didn’t know it was called this at the time), and had updated her CV, edited her LinkedIn profile, and compiled action plans to find work quickly. However, when I spoke to her again on Monday, she was shocked to have found that she actually spent the weekend very upset (this is her in the Denial and Confusion rooms – unable to move on). I then explained the theory to her, which had a reassuring effect.
Bringing structure to how she was feeling allowed her to be at ease, knowing that she could soon move to a more positive phase/room. The theory also let her know that her feelings were normal. Being able to visualise an actual room is helpful, as is understanding that change is a process. People transition at different paces, but having this four-rooms structure helps them move through the rooms without getting stuck. So, shortly after our conversation, she found that she could move on into Renewal.
The four rooms theory is useful for personal and professional change
I’ve used the theory successfully in my own life, professionally and personally. Before working at Progressive Travel Recruitment, I was head of sales and organisation development at a large travel agency chain in South Africa. When I joined, they didn’t have a clear sales process, career development progression plans or much training for ongoing career development. I had to take the managers through quite a change process, and used the four rooms to help them understand change in the workplace. They learned to understand phases, including the present circumstance where you go through change and you Deny it is happening, and are Confused as to why change needs to take place. You then create a plan during your Renewal stage to move on successfully to Contentment. I created training and performance plans to help them better manage their teams.
I also used the very popular ‘Who Moved my Cheese’ theory to help underpin that change is good. If you don’t know that one, make a cuppa and watch the video below. It’s simple but effective.
On a personal level, my marriage fell apart in South Africa, and after 10 years of having a successful career, my own business and a settled family life there, I suddenly had to go through Confusion, Denial and then Renewal. My Renewal was coming to the UK, when I went back into Denial and Confusion. It was good for me to know from the four-rooms theory that this is normal – I knew where I was in the process and so felt I had some control. I then moved back into Renewal, got my role at Progressive Travel Recruitment, a global and reputable travel recruitment agency. I never imagined I would be in travel recruitment, so it felt unexpected and an example of how change is good. Moving on into Contentment, I met the man of my dreams, re-married, now have 4 kids and am a shareholder and Director at Progressive Travel Recruitment.
What I like most about the Four Rooms of Change theory is recognising which room you are in and that whatever you’re experiencing is normal and acceptable, and that you have the knowledge that you can get to Renewal and Contentment.
Of course, it’s natural to get stuck in Confusion and Denial when your whole world has turned upside down, for example if you lose your job or your marriage breaks down. So, as part of a reputable travel recruitment agency, I feel it’s my job to help travel workers move on. I help them with planning, with acceptance of which stage they’re at (or room they’re in), and offer tips on understanding how they got there. Then I help them plan how to move on. I think of it a bit like an escape room – you have to work out how to get out.
So, as a Director here at this reputable travel recruitment agency, I think it’s our duty to help those in the travel industry get back on their feet following the unexpected change of losing a job.