Leaders, Are You Ready to Navigate Covid Career Shock?


The Covid-19 pandemic is a career shock for many people across the globe.” In their 2018 article Akkermans, Seibert and Mol define a career shock as “a disruptive and extraordinary event that is, at least to some degree, caused by factors outside the focal individual's control and that triggers a deliberate thought process concerning one's career”.


Recent research conducted by Akkermans, Richardson and Kraimer suggests there are three key lessons to help us understand the career consequences of the pandemic and what we need to keep in mind in future research.


I have summarized these as:

  1. Context matters - the impact to careers will be different for people depending on unique interplay between contextual (what specifically happened in their career) and individual factors (age and stage).

  2. Impacts shift with timeline - the impact to careers will change in the short and long term depending on individual circumstances (age and stage).

  3. Negative career shocks can have positive impacts - in some cases people’s experiences have caused them to re-evaluate either their career trajectories or broader life aspiration and this reflection can lead to positive impacts.

The impact of Covid on people’s careers is significant and unique to each individual.


On top of all that, new research by Gallup finds that 41% (of the 30,000 people surveyed) are considering leaving their organization this year.

Given these findings, leaders need to mobilize and prepare for their important role ahead.


Leaders have an important and potentially challenging part to play in helping their teams and organizations recover from Covid career shock. And it starts with your own reflective process.


Here are three ways you can engage in the solution:

  1. Reflect and manage your own career;

  2. Help your direct reports reflect on what’s next for their careers;

  3. Help your organization retain its talent.


Want some help with that? I have two solutions to share.


The first solution, the Career Snapshot Tool, provides a structure to help you and your direct reports intentionally reflect on your careers. By using a values based approach, you can quickly take stock of what’s important and what you want more of (or less of) going forward in your career.


Reaching clarity on you and your team’s career goals better positions you to help your organization to retain talent. PromoteNow has developed a 90-minute learning experience designed to help leaders conduct robust career conversations in the wake of Covid career shock.

Please connect with us to learn more.


The pandemic has been difficult and exhausting for everyone. It has forced us all to reconsider our priorities and careers.


We have the opportunity to help others find clarity and emerge with renewed commitment to living a personal and professional life with intention and purpose. It starts with you! Take some time this week to reflect on your own career and then you will be in a position to help others do the same.