In our fast-paced world and constantly changing business environment, it's inevitable that many companies find themselves terminating employees - either because of redundancy or as a result of mutual agreement to part ways - and senior level executives are not an exception. When this happens, there are several strategies that you can adopt to mitigate the potential loss to the affected employee and/or the firm, and among them is executive outplacement.
So, exactly what is executive outplacement?
Executive outplacement is a form of outplacement support that specifically supports high level executives who have recently lost their jobs. These services are tailor-made to find high level jobs.
Like many other outplacement services, executive outplacement is a key component of successful business restructuring, and it helps a firm pursue the optimal business model while protecting its corporate image.
However, executive outplacement presents unique dynamics which makes it different from normal outplacement programs customized to help lower level employees acquire new jobs.
Outplacement for lower ranking employees might be in the form of a group package that assists with resume writing, interview prepping, and cover letter writing, but for executives such as CEOs, COOs, and CFOs, by the virtue of their high-level positions, much more than a standard package is needed to secure their next job or transition into the next phase of their career, such as career counselling, interview preparation, resume writing, rebranding of the executive, and hands-on support throughout the transition period.
The complex nature of executive outplacement means you should get professional help from the best outplacement firms.
What are the signs that your company needs help with executive level outplacement services?
It's not always easy to see when or why you may need to use outplacement services. The general rule of thumb is to use them any time you have a RIF or downsizing event. With that said, here are a few things that are clear signs you need to use executive outplacement:
Restructuring involves re-organizing different aspects of the business, such as ownership, operations, management structures, and more to make the business more profitable and more in tune with its overall mission and vision.
When this happens, some positions - including senior management positions - might become redundant, and as a study published in The Journal of Work and Stress found, “Restructuring is detrimental to employees and their well-being, whether they have lost their jobs or not. Even when they knew it was coming, employees who lose their jobs are affected deeply and outplacement is important to help them mitigate that loss.”
So, if you intend to restructure soon, it pays of big to outsource the services of executive outplacement firms.
2. Looming Merger or Acquisition
A merger is the coming together of two companies to make one stronger company mainly to expand its reach, enter new business markets or to expand market share.
Depending on the terms of the merger, some senior level employees might find themselves out of work and in need of placement in other organizations. Using outplacement can help these individuals make successful transitions while also keeping them from ruining your company's reputation because they are upset that they were let go.
One of the biggest roles of outplacement is to keep these negative feelings in check while also providing the ex-employee a path to succeed in their next role. It's a win-win.
3. Need to Reduce Operational Costs
Your company might find itself facing massive operational costs and having to apply various cost-cutting measures such as automation, outsourcing, and salary cutbacks.
When this happens, you might have to merge some positions or declare them redundant all together. In addition, some senior level managers might opt to leave as a result of reduced salaries applied as a cost cutting measure.
4. Change in Business Growth Projections
A company might start out with a solid business projection which works for some time, but due to unforeseen circumstances and changes in the economy, it might have to drastically change its projections to maintain profitability. Unfortunately, this may involve letting some employees go.
5. To Do Your Part to Supporting Employee Transition
Losing a job for whatever reason is stressful.
This is especially so for executives who were employed for a long time and might be lost as to where to start with looking for a new job.
Offering executive outplacement services as part of the severance package not only looks good on your part as a company, but it is also an actual tangible thing you can do to alleviate joblessness in the society.
Executive Outplacement: The Advantages
Any of the above circumstances can force you to hire the services of an outplacement firm. But what are the advantages of using an outplacement firm for your executive placements?
1. Executive Jobs are Harder to Fill
Executive or high-level positions such as that of CEO, COO, and CFO are harder to fill.
Half of the puzzle is that such high-level jobs are few and far between, and the other half is that most companies looking for top level employees rarely advertise openly, opting to rely on their networks for recommendations.
Using a reliable outplacement firm that knows how to navigate these networks is the best bet for executives to land their next job.
2. Executive Outplacement Requires a Comprehensive, Unique Approach
High level executives have different expectations from the job search compared to other employees.
Given that they have already earned a substantial amount of money and have created a certain image and reputation, executives are looking to match or surpass these standards in their next job or placement.
For this reason, they will not be looking to jump into the next available position and can hold out until they find something suitable.
One strategy outplacement firms can use to prepare such executives for the job market by rebranding them. Rebranding involves packaging the executive anew based on their experience, specialties, and interests. Other strategies that can contribute to a successful executive placement include one on one coaching and creating an online presence in professional sites such as LinkedIn.
3. Executive Outplacement Service Protects Your Brand and Boosts Employee Morale
Most companies go to great lengths to grow, nurture, and protect their brands. Cultivating brand loyalty and respect takes years of providing consistent products or services, but all of that can disappear in an instant if the public thinks you do not care for your employees.
Providing outplacement services identifies you as a company that cares about what happens to employees even after they leave. This will not only boost the confidence of your current employees, but also attract top talent who will be confident in knowing that you are a company that offers a safety net in times of trouble.
4. Executive Outplacement Will Save You Time and Money
Whether you are letting an executive go because of redundancy, right sizing, downsizing or restructuring, there is a possibility that you will get sued no matter how legal your actions are.
A lawsuit stinks even more when a high level executive is concerned as this becomes a visible PR issue. In the age of social media, a wrong Facebook post or Tweet might do irreparable damage to your brand not to mention that lawsuits cost time and money.
Executives who are older and having worked for the same company for 20 years might feel bitter and cheated, no matter how justified their reason for leaving. Dedicated executive outplacement, epseically services provided by one of the top outplacement firms, helps them focus their energy on getting a new job rather than spending time being bitter about the last job.
Using these tips, you can accurately prepare for RIFs and downsizing events by using executive outplacement to ensure your ex-staff can continue their careers, which will help protect your brand and retain employees.
Want to learn more about executive outplacement? Check out a demo for more information: