Outplacement is More Than the Right Thing To Do
Altruistic reasons aside, why should Outplacement (or Career Transition) services be part of your change strategy and where’s the return on investment for your organization?
Good companies set people up for success when they join the organization, but great companies continue that commitment to success even as an employee leaves, through an effective separation plan. A good separation plan can provide the framework for perhaps one of the most difficult decisions that we make as leaders and also provide support to the impacted employee during what is arguably one of the most stressful life events. But more than that, a good plan that includes outplacement services can provide some real benefits to the organization.
A comprehensive separation plan that includes outplacement can provide an answer to “Indecision & Delay”. Often, for lack of a clear positive way to handle the situation, many organizations delay separating extra headcount, technically obsolete positions, or poor performers and poor fits. This indecisiveness comes at a cost…in terms of sales, customers, ideas, even other valued employees, and impacts the bottom line. Outplacement can help regain control of those costs by helping you move forward positively to make quick, fair, and good sense decisions, which improve overall performance, enhance management credibility, and fully support those impacted by the change.
Outplacement services can help to reduce risk of litigation by employees who have been terminated or laid off. Thousands of such lawsuits and regulatory agency civil actions are filed annually by separated employees…many with no justification other than the loss of their job, self-esteem, and an unsuccessful attempt in finding new employment. Outplacement helps the individual focus their energy on moving forward….this focus on new opportunities leaves little emotional energy for pursuing unreasonable legal claims, competitive vendettas or regulatory agency actions.
Providing outplacement services can also help lower costs for extension of benefits, including severance pay, insurance coverage, and unemployment compensation. By coordinating through an Outplacement firm, you increase the sense of urgency for the separated employee. Outplaced employees tend to find jobs faster than the national average, which can reduce severance in some cases, and certainly unemployment taxes and benefit costs.
Providing career transition support preserves the dignity of the employee and diminishes the resentment, hurt, and anger that many impacted employees feel. A single disgruntled employee can cost hundreds of thousands in damages…social media makes it easier than ever to spread a toxic message to potential investors, customers, former co-workers, and even potential new hires/talent.
A comprehensive plan also minimizes the disruption of business that can happen when remaining employees are left fearful of their own security…theorizing and worrying about the impact on their own lives. Remaining staff watch and observe how colleagues are treated when they are separated. Often, concern for their own job security can have a negative impact on performance and productivity…this can permeate an entire department or even the organization. Providing support to the separated employee reassures the remaining workforce and allows them to remain focused on moving forward.
Finally, including Outplacement as part of your change strategy reinforces a positive image and employer brand to employees and the community. Corporate reputations are at risk with a poorly executed termination. Your reputation is your identity…to employees, your customers, your investors. Maintaining a good corporate image is more than just avoiding controversy and scandal, it’s meeting the expectations of your shareholders, stakeholders, and clients in terms of HOW you do business. Treating exiting employees in a manner that is consistent with your corporate values isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good business.