As a NAB business customer and a founding member of their coworking space, NAB Village, I am in a unique position to see the insides of a corporate company from the employees perspective without actually being an employee. The news late last year that NAB was to make redundant 6000 people’s jobs over the next three years to improve efficiency through automation and to reduce costs has left many people feeling insecure and fearful for their future.

Scepticism is high when this organisation’s business tagline is, “More than Money” and yet announced on the same day $5.3B full-year profit. However, NAB CEO, Andrew Thorburn, says he cares about their people, and in doing so created a program called, The Bridge, to help transition people out of their roles and provide support to retrain, gain new employment or start their own business.

I choose not to buy into the scepticism and negativity that’s surrounding the decision of this organisation to sack so many people. The industry of banking is changing. For NAB to keep up, things have to change. Jobs being replaced by automation is not a new thing, it’s been around since the Second Industrial Revolution and isn’t going away. The pragmatism of NAB to recognise this and evolve with it while supporting its employees as best it might is a good thing. 2000 new jobs are likely to be created so the redundancies may very well drop to 4000, which still makes for 12% of their 33,000 employees, but it’s better than 6000 that’s for sure.

The Bridge will go along way to help employees with this transition if – and it’s a big if – the employees choose to embrace the ugly zone of the unknown and recognise they are being given an opportunity to expand, grow and learn on NAB’s dime and time.

Years ago, when in my last full-time employment, I was “performance managed” (read: bullied without proof) into resigning. Rather than sit on my ass and whine, “whoa-is-me.” I took the advice to not stay home and became a member of NAB Village. I haven’t looked back. It is a direct result of the innovation this Big Four bank demonstrated four years ago in creating a coworking space for its business customers that I could transition from a really shitty employment situation into running my own business. Imagine what innovation is possible if the choice is made to embrace the change NAB has forced upon its employees…

My prior employer didn’t need to treat me like shit to get what they wanted but they did. And today I’m grateful because of it. I know the fear. I know the uncertainty. And because of the way I was treated I know exactly how to support the mindset shift and education employees need to go through in order to start their own business.

Employees being offered these redundancies have a choice: they can cry, ‘poor me’ or they can be rewarded by the unique opportunity to answer the question:

What work do you want to do that would make your heart sing?

The support, methodology and emotional intelligence leadership coaching are here when the change is embraced.

Your EQL Coach,