By Susan Howington, CEO Power Connections Career Services, Inc.
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 employee the benefit of a comprehensive outplacement program to help them find a new job. Just in case you don’t know what Outplacement means, the term Outplacement 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 the employee at the time of the termination.
By providing Outplacement, the separated employee has job search coaching by professional career transition consultants. This coaching often helps the employee move into a new job much quicker than if left to 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, 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 employee AND the employer and 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 the terminated employee 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 a happy ex-employee!
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 employee. 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 should the unthinkable happen and you have to prove that you treated this former employee with respect and dignity, proof of offering comprehensive Outplacement support will play to your favor. So, regardless of how you feel about a terminated employee, protect yourself and your company, 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 under estimate the loss that is felt by the former employee. 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 voice mail to check, no emails to review, no phone calls to return, etc. Hands down, it is considered one of the life’s most awful experiences and it 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 gets the person in another job sooner, but it provides emotional coaching and a community of support, giving the job seeker 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-worker who is now without a job. The impacted employee who is announcing to family and informing friends that they have been let go, can share the fact that their severance benefit includes career transition services.
By providing Outplacement support to your separated employee, you give your firm an opportunity for positive public relations. You are spreading good will and the value your company receives is invaluable.
In summary, 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 good will and generates good public relations, helps your former employee move forward emotionally and intellectually, and ultimately, helps them to land a new job in shorter time than if they were left to find work on their own. The investment on your part, creates a Win-Win for everyone involved!
Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016
For more information about the benefits of Outplacement, contact Susan Howington, CEO of Power Connections Career Services at 949-285-9541 or Susan@PowerConnectionsInc.com.
If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, firstname.lastname@example.org & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
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