Outplacement: what would your employees say about you?

Redundancy is an unfortunate feature of modern working life. It’s now commonplace and something that increasing numbers of employees can expect to experience as businesses continually change and adapt. That said, the impact of redundancy on an individual remains significant and is still considered a taboo subject that employees often choose to hide, rather than discuss.

Immediate concerns around financial security are a natural reaction for individuals affected by redundancy. Equally however, people can be impacted by deeper emotional challenges surrounding self-perception, self-confidence and how others will perceive them; all of which can significantly impact on an individual’s ability to successfully move forward. People worry over their skills and future employability, and feelings of isolation are not uncommon as their status, community and sense of belonging are stripped away.

The link between outplacement and corporate social responsibility.

Many employers understand the personal impact of redundancy and proactively look to support their employees by making services such as ‘outplacement support’ available to them. They see it as part of their corporate social responsibility towards loyal employees; ensuring that the challenges that lie ahead are mitigated to a degree. They also understand that investing in this type of support accrues additional organisational benefits.

Enhances your employer brand

Every employer should be concerned about what their employees are saying about them, particularly those who leave as a result of redundancy. The prominence of sites such as Glassdoor are hugely influential on an organisation’s ability to attract future talent, and, given that prospective employees are concerned with how they will be treated by a future employer, any negative reviews from disgruntled employees who feel they have not been supported could be decisive. It’s a simple question: what do you want your employees (current and former) to say about your organisation?

Maintains productivity

A key measure to successful change is the impact on productivity. Demonstrating to others in the business that impacted colleagues are being supported can actually help to boost productivity and engagement, as fears about their own futures and how colleagues are being treated are allayed, allowing them to focus fully on their roles.

Protects the bottom line

Not only does providing outplacement support to impacted employees enhance an organisation’s reputation, it can also prevent other talent from walking out the door.

Along with a clear communication plan, visibly demonstrating that the organisation is assisting those whose roles may no longer exist sends a positive message that employees are valued. And let’s face it, in a buoyant job market, good people are in short supply so any unnecessary loss of talent and highly sought after skills will ultimately impact on an organisation’s performance and ability to service customers.

Encourages good corporate citizens

When employees feel that they are treated fairly and are being supported through redundancy, they are more likely to remain good corporate citizens during their final few weeks and months; supporting the transfer of projects or with customer handovers. Furthermore, and highly relevant for consumer brands, they are more likely to remain advocates and customers of your brand if they feel that the organisation has done everything in its power to make their exit a painless one by proactively helping them to find future employment.

Reduces instances of litigation

Providing meaningful outplacement support to redundant employees encourages them to look to the future and channel their emotions into positive actions, which left unaddressed, could pose a problem further down the line as individuals struggle to adapt to their new reality and look to apportion blame.

The right thing to do

Fundamentally, offering outplacement support to employees affected by redundancy is the right thing to do. Aside from the emotional and financial impact, the reality is that the employment market is changing at breakneck speed. Jobs are changing: skills that were considered niche five years ago are now mainstream, whilst others are becoming redundant. And finding roles is more complex. Yes it is true that the abundance of complex algorithm backed technology ensures that individuals are aware of every vacancy that matches their skills, however, it also adds to the pressure by creating a false sense of effectiveness. Add all this together and it is no wonder that redundancy remains one of the most stressful experiences an individual might have to deal with. As employers it’s our responsibility to ensure those leaving our organisations are set up for future success.