January of 2020 marked the first reported case of COVID-19 in Canada. Though, as experts would weigh in later, many travellers were unknowingly carrying the virus from its origin point in Wuhan, China to the global community as a whole. By March, the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic and a province-wide order shut down all non-essential businesses, not to mention restricted gatherings, which shut down festivals and other recreational activity.
For such a vibrant city like Toronto, it hurt.
Torontonians and Ontarians alike continue to adjust to a new way of living and interacting with the city. Back in the summer, Ontario even tapped the education industry for volunteers who might be willing to help fill in at hospitals and other facilities as COVID-19 overwhelmed the system. For many people though, forced shutdowns often result in unexpected layoffs and they aren’t always offered training and incentives to fill in somewhere else. This is where outplacement providers can make a big difference for both a company and the employee that’s been laid off.
Before we talk about why a business should think about outplacement, let’s touch on what it is first.
Outplacement Services in Toronto: What is outplacement?
When a company merges with another one, has to downsize, or has to shut down due to an unforeseeable event (like a pandemic) and they have to lay off employees, outplacement provides an invaluable service to both the company and outgoing employees.
Legally, employers do not have to provide outplacement and only have to provide the minimum severance pay per federal law and what their province requires, but that does not do much when it comes to ensuring the care of outbound employees.
Outplacement Services in Toronto: Concerns About the Law
It’s especially important for companies that have remote workers to consult with their legal team about the laws in the province, or even the country, that impacted employees reside in. The minimum severance pay in one location may not be the same in others and to avoid a lawsuit, it’s best to be thorough. Typically by the time a company has received a Statement of Claim, an amicable solution is no longer an option and companies, especially incorporated ones, can only look forward to an aggravating, stressful, and sometimes costly road ahead.
Outplacement services provide career coaching, resume services, and training to give those who are laid off the tools they need to find another job. In many cases, connections within the industry they are leaving aren’t as useful as they once were; the pandemic has had a serious impact on industries as a whole, not just a single company. Many people are having to transition to completely new industries, not just a new job doing what they’ve already been doing.
Skills that can transition from one industry to another are invaluable these days, but it can be hard to showcase them if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. Part of our outplacement program here at Careerminds is to provide professional resume writing services so that our participants have every opportunity to do better when they apply for a position. Take a look at this article to learn more about why a professional resume is so important!
It may be easy to question why outplacement should matter to a company that may already be facing financial hardship, but the benefits of an outplacement provider far outweigh the cost.
How Outplacement Benefits Toronto
On the surface, it might be hard to see how outplacement can benefit an entire city. After all, how many people are really impacted by a single lay off?
But, what happens if every big manufacturing company in Toronto lays off 10 per cent of their workforce? When that doesn’t help, a month later they lay off an additional 10 per cent. With COVID-19, entire industries laid off a large portion of their workforce, in some cases much more than 20 per cent. Because of that, it’s easy to see the impact of using outplacement services, or not using them, can have on the city as a whole.
Layoffs are still happening as the world is still in the grips of the pandemic, so talking about what comes next for laid off employees remains very important. How a company handles a RIF event can be a “make or break” moment for a variety of reasons.
If there’s one thing any Toronto-based business should know, it’s the power of public scrutiny. Between the Raptors considering a protest by boycotting games or steelworkers striking to protest two-tier wages, it’s clear that Torontonians aren’t afraid to be heard when they don’t like something. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons that a business should provide outplacement services.
If a terminated employee is sent away with just a few weeks of pay, they are going to have a tough time getting another job. This, logically, translates to anger. Family, friends, Facebook, and everyone else they talk to will hear about it and before long, the company brand will be muddied up. In a poll conducted by Morning Consult, an overwhelming majority of consumers care about how a company takes care of its employees, even during times like a pandemic. For many of those consumers, a deciding factor in whether or not they purchase from them is how well they treat their employees.
Hiring an outplacement provider is just as much an investment as it is a moral obligation to the employee being let go.
Speaking of a moral obligation, it’s very scary to lose your job. Though special benefits are available due to COVID-19, many people still experience financial hardship after being laid off. Outplacement services can help by preparing laid off employees for job hunting and help coach them through it from day one until they accept the perfect job offer.
Some companies consider another option in lieu of a layoff event or offer it to certain employees instead of outplacement and a severance package. Voluntary retirement programs allow employees who meet certain requirements (typically age and/or years worked at the company) to accept early retirement rather than being laid off. This is ideal for workers who are ready to enjoy life and want to leave the workforce on a more positive note.
Just like public opinion can make or break a company, so can the impression potential employees have of the business. Most of Canada’s workforce is comprised of millennials and it’s important to understand that in addition to fair pay and a living wage, they value other things in a workplace. A good workplace culture, balance, and a fair and honest manager are just a few of those values.
Here’s what it really boils down to: most of today’s workforce wants to see is that their employer cares about the people working for them by recognizing that they are human. One of the best ways to do that is to show that when that employer has to let someone go, they do everything they can to make sure they’ll be all right.
Outplacement in Toronto: The Bottom Line
Whether it’s the monkey that visited Ikea in 2012 or the Fringe Festival (they went digital for 2020!) Toronto keeps proving that it’s wonderfully different and diverse and most of all, that people care about each other. Outplacement services help exiting employees by getting them prepared for the job search world and helping them to find a new, satisfying job. And, outplacement services in Toronto help companies too by safeguarding their brand against backlash for not taking care of their people.
Careerminds offers services like career coaching, social media optimization, and until placement, and all three help ensure that participants land on their feet. This is good for those who have been laid off, and it’s good for business in so many ways that outplacement is almost a necessity for smart business practices. Careerminds can help with the next layoff event by providing how-to advice and by helping the perfect employees get in front of the employers that need them.