There’s no question about it. Layoffs, downsizing and other reductions in force are no fun for anyone involved. While it may be hard for you, the HR professional responsible for delivering the bad news, it’s much harder for those getting let go, which is why outplacement services are so important.
Before we get started talking about what outplacement services are, we want to provide you a free, easy-to-follow layoff script to make that part of the process go as smoothly as possible. Basically, you don't want to end up in a situation like this:
1) So, What Is Outplacement Anyway?
Outplacement is a service that companies can - and should - offer outgoing employees to aid them through their job transition.
To put it another way, outplacement services are a way for a company to show that they still care about their employee, even though they had to let them go, by providing them with a support system that gets them back to work in a new, meaningful job without all of the stresses of going it alone.
2) Why Does That Matter?
For one, it’s the right thing to do. Put yourself in your outgoing employee’s shoes. You worked at a company for years, possibly decades, when you find yourself suddenly laid off.
Now, you’re left on your own to navigate a completely different job market that requires more than just a polished resume to get hired. Do you use LinkedIn? Do you know what job boards are or how they work? How’s your social media presence looking? These are daunting questions for someone who had a secure job for any period of time.
The good news is that these questions - and many others - are answered through outplacement.
But that’s not all. It isn’t solely about your employees, though that should be a big focus. Providing outplacement services reduce the hurt feelings your ex-employee may have for your company, which can keep your reputation - a vastly important thing in today’s Glassdoor world - in tact. In fact, Careerminds clients score 16.5 percent higher on Glassdoor!
Let’s get into some more detail:
3) What Do Outplacement Services Typically Handle For Employees?
Quite a bit, actually. The first and most important thing about outplacement is that it gets people back to work faster.
At Careerminds, we see people get rehired in less than three months. Without outplacement, the typical worker can take up to 10 months to find new employment depending on salary requirements. Those numbers just don’t lie.
There’s an important side note to be made here, though. Just because our average is three months, doesn’t mean that everyone will find the perfect job in that amount of time. We will work with clients until they find their next step no matter how long it takes, which can’t be said for our competitors, such as Right Management outplacement or other top 10 outplacement services, who usually have term limits.
It has been said that losing one's job is one of the top three most stressful experiences that a person can go through, right behind death and divorce. Outplacement services are meant to ease participants through this process. Instead of sending these former employees off with a handshake and check, companies have found that these services can make a world of difference.
Another important benefit of outplacement is that it helps those employees who remain. Known ominously as "the survivors,” these employees are left with heavy hearts and the guilt of not having been part of the layoff. When you offer former employees assistance, the survivors can go to work knowing that their former coworkers and friends are in good hands.
4) Here’s What Outplacement Can Do For You, Employers
In short, outplacement shows you are willing to invest in your staff even when they are exiting the company, which gives you a great reputation.
It's always a sticky situation letting people go. Protecting and building the employer brand rests on how the company treats their employees. When you've established a precedence of taking care of your people, you become a company that people want to work for. Any investment in the wellbeing of employees will always pay back, especially with a sensitive subject such as layoffs.
Outplacement rose in popularity during the recession, but it did so next to a wave of lawsuits and scorned former employees. To put it simply, when you let people go in the wrong manner, it can trigger a wave of backlash that far outweighs the outplacement service cost, making these services a no-brainer when it comes to downsizing.
5) A Brief Summary
Outplacement is a service that is beneficial to all parties involved. It helps outgoing employees get a new, meaningful job, it tells your ‘surviving’ staff that they will be looked out for it should happen to them, it helps you - the employer - sleep at night knowing you did the right thing, and it keeps your reputation as a company intact.
The most important thing about outplacement in human resource management is that you’re doing it for your employees. Sure, there are upsides with outplacement for you and your company, but HR is about putting people first and it’s also our core philosophy here at Careerminds.