Unfortunately, every company at one time or another, engages in the very unpleasant activity of terminating an employee or group of employees. This is never easy and it typically doesn’t get any easier with practice.
What helps to take the sting out of the termination activity, however, is to offer to the impacted employees the benefit of a comprehensive outplacement program to help them find new jobs. Just in case you don’t know what “outplacement” means, the term is used to describe a career transition and job search support program that is given to employees who have been let go from their place of work. It is a service paid by the employer and is normally offered as part of the severance package provided to employees at the time of the termination.
By providing outplacement, the separated employees have job search coaching by professional career transition consultants. This coaching often helps employees move into new jobs much more quickly than if left on their own to find new job opportunities.
As we know, employees can be terminated for a variety of reasons such as performance, reduction in force, workforce redundancy due to a merger or acquisition, or due to a change in senior management, just to name the more common reasons for the employee separations. Regardless of the reason for the separation, providing outplacement support is good for the separated employees AND the employer.
Here are the top three big reasons why:
1. Minimizes the Risk of Lawsuits and Long Term Unemployment
Simply put, employers should care about what happens to terminated employees because a former employee who remains jobless can be a future problem for the company. A former employee who is disgruntled and blaming their past employer for their out-of-work condition is an employee who can create unnecessary problems and costs.
One of the benefits of the outplacement program is that it helps the employee look towards their future and discourages employees from looking back with bitterness. The outplacement consultant takes a very proactive approach and helps the employee get past the termination event. Separated employees who have the support of outplacement often get a new job faster than those who don’t have support, which makes for happy ex-employees!
It is important, however, that you be conscientious about your choice of outplacement service. The cheapest, most minimal program is often just a waste of money. If you don’t value the benefit of the outplacement service, it is obvious to your former employees. What it signals is that you are simply just checking the box called “Provided outplacement.” An outplacement program that is rich in personalized attention and job search resources isn’t the cheapest program offered, but it is the most effective.
Should the unthinkable happen, and you have to legally prove that you treated this former employee with respect and dignity, proof of offering a comprehensive outplacement support will play in your favor. So, regardless of how you feel about a terminated employee, protect yourself and your company and help that employee move forward to new employment as quickly as possible. Invest in a full service outplacement program. You will be glad that you did.
2. Job Loss is a Deeply Human Experience
Losing one’s job, whether it be “for cause” or simply job redundancy due to a merger and acquisition, is one of life’s greatest losses. Employers should never underestimate the loss that is felt by former employees. Even losing one’s job on the best of terms, doesn’t alleviate the void felt when waking up the next morning with no place to go, no voicemail to check, no emails to review, no phone calls to return, etc. Hands down, it is considered one of life’s most awful experiences, and can take days and sometimes weeks to adjust to and accept.
Being out of work is very complicated. A person’s social and economic status is commonly in upheaval. At a minimum, the person can experience embarrassment, lack of confidence, their financial position in jeopardy, unfathomable competition in the job market, and a concerned or perhaps angry family, especially if the family’s lifestyle has been impacted. There are so many dynamics that impact the person who has lost their job.
The right outplacement program provides not only coaching on how to conduct a productive job search that produces another job more quickly, but provides emotional coaching and a community of support, giving job seekers a safe place to talk openly about their particular situation and challenges.
3. It’s a Smart Business Decision and a Good Investment
Did you know that when an employee is let go the whole world is watching and perhaps reading about it? Don’t kid yourself about this. The word spreads! Your current workforce knows that it happened and even how it happened. The impacted employee is prone to spread the word quite prolifically. As business leaders, we need to be concerned about what is being said about how we (or our company representative) handled the termination and the story that lives on the street and on the internet.
By providing outplacement, your current employees learn that you cared enough to provide assistance to their co-workers who are now without jobs. Impacted employees announce to family and friends that they have been let go, and can share the fact that their severance benefit includes career transition services.
By providing your separated employees outplacement support, you give your firm an opportunity for positive public relations. You are spreading goodwill and the value your company receives goes a long way.
Letting employees go is never any fun and it always costs us money. But spend a little more to ensure the separation is successful. A successful termination includes outplacement support which will help to alleviate bad press (word of mouth and internet), demonstrates goodwill, and generates good public relations. It helps your former employees move forward emotionally and intellectually, and ultimately, helps them to land new jobs in shorter times than if they were left to find work on their own.
The investment creates a big Win, Win for everyone involved!
For more information about the benefits of outplacement, contact Susan Howington, CEO of Power Connections Career Services at 949-285-9541 or at Susan@PowerConnectionsInc.com. www.PowerConnectionsInc.com