In challenging times and during economic uncertainly, many business owners are under pressure financially and may need to consider ways to reduce costs through workplace restructures. The decision to make any significant change in a business is a difficult one, but when change involves downsizing, cutting costs and redundancy, it has a huge impact on those leaving the business as well as those remaining.
Being made redundant can be devastating. For those affected, it’s not just lost income, it’s also loss of identity and purpose. Worrying about the future and the next steps can be overwhelming. Letting employees go is an unpleasant experience for managers too. However, you can take measures to make redundancy as positive an experience as possible by adopting an employee centric, compassionate approach.
Companies should invest in supporting exiting employees by providing practical and emotional assistance instead of letting them go without help. Having a robust outplacement strategy in place is an essential component of the redundancy process and demonstrates strong corporate social responsibility. By providing outplacement services, you will help workers transition to the next chapter of their careers.
What is outplacement and why should companies invest in it?
Outplacement is a support service offered by organisations to employees exiting the business, usually as a result of redundancy, organisational change, restructure or a settlement agreement. Outplacement services focus on working with the employee to support their transition into a new role or career. Services can include:
- Career guidance and coaching
- Job search strategies
- Self-marketing and networking advice
- CV review and writing
- Interview skills, preparation and techniques
So why should you invest in helping people who are exiting your business? It’s about more than just your outgoing employees: it’s also about your reputation, your employer brand and the employees who remain in the company.
It’s the right thing to do
Outplacement provides a focus for employees who are affected by organisational downsizing. Providing outplacement services means you are supporting them with empathy and understanding in a time of great uncertainty, giving them something tangible to focus on that will give real value. Supporting staff in a time of crisis is morally the right thing to do.
It protects your business and reputation
When not handled carefully, redundancies can result in damage to a company’s brand image. A strong employer brand is critical to attracting the best future talent in an increasingly competitive job market. By ensuring that your exiting employees are immediately being supported to focus on their next career steps, rather than their frustrations at being let go, you’ll significantly reduce any negative impact on your reputation. It is worth remembering that unhappy employees can do tangible damage to your public image, and bad publicity on social media really does matter when you are trying to attract top talent.
Providing outplacement support is one of the best ways to protect your brand and enhance your reputation. Giving employees the support they need to find a new job demonstrates your commitment to living out your company values and establishing strong employer/employee relationships. You want exiting employees to speak positively about the way you treated them. When it’s time to hire again, companies that have a reputation for caring for their employees are able to attract the best talent available.
It mitigates risk
Employees laid off with an outplacement package in place will appreciate the support and guidance given to help them into another job quickly and therefore may be less likely to make a claim against the organisation for unfair dismissal. Reducing the risk of a claim then reduces the likelihood of a costly pay out.
Where possible, allow exiting employees to begin using outplacement services while still at their jobs — the period when they’re at their most marketable. They are far better prepared to hit the ground running when their employment ends and more likely to remain willing ambassadors of their previous employer.
It creates security and preserves the culture
It is important to remember that remaining employees are also affected by organisational restructuring and general anxiety will be felt in the workforce. Transparency and communication is key to ease concerns, help keep morale high, boost engagement and improve productivity. Knowing their colleagues have been supported in finding new opportunities will help to calm fears and create loyalty. It shows how, as an organisation, you respond to something negative in a positive way. All of this plays a huge role in the company keeping the trust and respect of their employees.
Support for senior management
It’s natural that emotions can run high when jobs are at stake. Senior management are often targeted by resentful employees. Using an external outplacement provider offers an objective service outside of the company where staff are calmly and professionally guided through the redundancy process. It often eases anger and helps employees to move forward.
Often companies cutting costs and losing staff need help. The insight and experience of professionals from outside of your business can often provide a level of support that you simply couldn’t give internally.
Employees exiting a company need more than just a redundancy package. They need real solutions that can help them to navigate an emotional and difficult time, re-orient themselves with the job market and find new opportunities. Outplacement solutions are a great way to transition employees to a new future, show that you care about your staff and maintain your reputation and employer brand.
How organisations treat employees during downsizing says a lot about a company. Ultimately success lies in the confidence and trust you earn in past, current and future employees.
Purpose HR are experienced in supporting businesses through restructuring, downsizing and cost cutting. We provide expert project management, HR advice and facilitation support at meetings, and can provide outplacement and career transition coaching.
If you are considering changes to your workforce, please first get in touch to find out how our experienced team can help.