Thanks to changing economic fortunes, even the most carefully-run company may find itself forced to make layoffs. Reductions in the workforce are never fun for any of the parties involved, but if you want to do right by your departing employees, laying on outplacement services is an excellent step to take. Here are some of the reasons it’s worth considering:
- Provides career transition assistance to your soon-to-be-ex-employees.
- Puts them in touch with professional, talented career consultants who are capable of considerably speeding up their search for a new job.
- Links them with a capable and flexible team of career advisors who can provide considerable insight into the local economy. Sharing their contact networks can make it much easier to secure a new position.
How are you going to oversee outplacement services to ensure that you’re getting your full money’s worth? How can you quantify the services provided to your outgoing workers? How should the whole process be reported on when your company’s senior leaders ask about the benefits provided.
To put it in concrete financial terms, how are you going to calculate the return on investment you get from the cost of hiring the outplacement firm?
To start from the basics, you should know that providing some form of outplacement benefits is done by roughly 70 percent of companies that have to make systematic layoffs.
Outplacement services are typically integrated into the larger severance package offered to departing workers. Thus, you’re in very good company if your organisation elects to provide these benefits.
Your former workers are sure to appreciate the care you’re demonstrating by giving them this assistance. With the continued financial uncertainty facing companies in virtually every field, outplacement benefits have become a key part of the layoff process, especially for white collar, managerial, and executive employees.
The first opportunity your outplacement team gets to make a real difference is at your company’s notice meeting. Coordinate this event with your outplacement provider to ensure that their representatives are in attendance. In an ideal scenario, outplacement counsellors are available to employees immediately following the notification of layoffs.
Moving employees straight into the outplacement process relieves some of the sting of the notice announcement. Encouraging them to concentrate on their next steps will encourage positive rather than negative thinking in the aftermath of the notice meeting.
Look for measurable performance data when you’re considering your outplacement service provider. How long on average does it take them to place laid off employees? How good are their scores for satisfying customers? How many employees do they place in lateral or higher-level positions?
Forging Productive Connections With Employees
The amount of utility a given worker derives from their first meeting with an outplacement counsellor will depend on their attitude and in the immediate aftermath of a redundancy notification he or she may not be in a receptive mood.
While making the initial contact as quickly as possible is important, you shouldn’t put any undue pressure on your workers. Give them time to come to terms with their situation on their own.
Provide full contact information to your outplacement provider but caution them to let your employees set the pace of their career transition program. Bear in mind that you need to safeguard your employees’ right to privacy in the course of this sharing process and verify that your provider will behave responsibly with the information you’re handing over.
As the outplacement firm’s sponsoring employer, you should have the right to inquire about your employees’ progress through the outplacement firm’s programs.
The information provided by your outplacement firm should be available both on demand and in the form of regular, incremental updates.
Make sure your provider gives you plenty of detail. How many departing employees are going into traditional placement programs? How many are electing to pursue alternative paths, e.g. transitioning into educational programs, retirement, or an entrepreneurial career path? In the earliest stages of the program, you’ll want to receive frequent, probably daily, reports. As the programs continue, you can gradually step this down to weekly and then monthly reports on your former employees’ progress.
You shouldn’t hesitate to get hands-on with individual employees as well as tracking overall participation rates. Put your HR team to work bolstering the efforts of the outplacement counsellors. Every departing employee should at least be encouraged to engage in an initial counselling session.
Modern outplacement services have gone far beyond the time-worn practices of helping with CV’s and role-playing interviews. Today counsellors can help workers build strong social media presences (e.g. LinkedIn), which can be a productive way to seek a new position.
Counsellors can also use advanced software tools (e.g. word cloud tools) to match resumes with promising positions. Many counsellors use keyword and skill data culled from job postings at sites like Indeed.com to “cherry pick” a list of promising positions for a job seeker before they even start searching.
Bear in mind that good outplacement services will have a positive impact on your departing employees’ odds of finding work. When they take full advantage of the resources you offer to them, they’ll also give your organisation a boost by demonstrating that you support your workers even after their tenure with your company is up.
Providing good outplacement services does more than keep relations with your departing workers cordial. A comprehensive suite of support services will be appreciated by those workers who stay on the payroll. These services demonstrate that you value your employees’ needs even in tough economic times, and the resulting morale boost alone can be enough to justify the cost of outplacement counselling.