When the nation’s job vacancies seemingly outnumber those unemployed, outplacement can be perceived as an unnecessary benefit. So is outplacement worth it? Its importance depends on what your company hopes to get out of offering it as a part of severance.
Is Outplacement Worth It? Answer These Questions to Find Out.
Do you want to retain your remaining workforce?
Layoffs can have a devastating effect on employee morale and corporate culture. When workers witness their colleagues lose their jobs, they can experience survivors’ guilt and also worry about their own job security. Organizations going through these types of changes frequently lose additional employees after layoffs. This is because remaining employees often seek new employment to save themselves from possible future layoffs and also to alleviate burnout that results from needing to take on their former colleagues’ responsibilities.
When your workforce has already been reduced, the last thing you need is voluntary resignations. While other employees may stick around, they can be distracted and disengaged. Their productivity can take a dive. Transparency around the reason for the layoffs, how those impacted were selected, and the benefits you provided those employees can mitigate these negative effects.
Do you care about your reputation as a responsible employer?
Offering outplacement, or opting not to, can affect future attempts to attract talent as well as the public image of your consumer brand.
Today’s talent expects employers to take care of their employees in a number of ways, but especially through benefits that ensure their wellbeing during and after their time with you. With the prevalence and popularity of company reviews on sites like Glassdoor, how you treat your outgoing employees can influence your ability to attract quality talent. Including outplacement in your suite of severance benefits demonstrates that you care about your workforce and that you understand that the employer-employee relationship does not end the moment someone walks out the door.
Not only will future candidates be more enthusiastic about working with you as a result of former employees’ positive experiences with you, but they will also be more optimistic about how they’ll be treated from the beginning to the end of the employee lifecycle.
Can you afford it?
Some organizations choose not to offer outplacement because they believe that it’s too expensive and that they can’t afford to offer it to their employees, or can only afford to cover their highest paid, most senior employees. Still others weigh whether to give employees the dollar value of outplacement as incremental severance compensation. However, not only are there cost-effective outplacement solutions that can help you achieve the objectives listed above, but also, the learnings individuals get from career coaching will provide value throughout their careers and beyond. Skills such as networking, personal branding, negotiation, and more will continue to benefit your employees long after the layoff period, and they’ll have your organization to thank.
While in some cases, you get what you pay for, you can find solutions that offer everything a job seeker will need to expedite their job search and help them transition into their new role, which will make outplacement worth it.
Here are some things to look for when evaluating outplacement providers:
Unlimited coaching offered 7 days a week
While some providers may claim to offer programs that service job seekers until landing, many of them place strict time constraints on the coaching hours offered to each program participant, as well as on the individual coaching session length. In actuality, the programs offered are often technology-only for the majority of the program length. Be sure to ask for details about coaching session durations and frequency. A provider who offers truly unlimited coaching, with no time or frequency limitations, will be able to offer the most valuable assistance to your impacted employees, as there is no substitution for the personalized career guidance provided by an expert coach.
In addition, be sure to seek a solution that offers coaching on the weekends. Job seekers frequently need help preparing for a Monday interview, have to respond to a job offer and need negotiation advice, or want help writing a cover letter for a hot job listing. The ability to reach out to a coach to answer these needs when they arise puts the job seeker at ease and offers the best possible outplacement experience.
Dedicated coaches are the norm for outplacement, as they are able to provide consistent, strategic guidance for the duration of a job seeker’s program. It is also important for job seekers to be able to access a coach on-demand via video, audio, or text chat whenever a question or concern arises. This benefit offers immeasurable value and comfort to job seekers who are frequently anxious during the search process. The immediacy of the guidance can also help expedite a job search.
Individuals who are laid off experience a range of emotions and can be affected not only mentally, but also physically and financially. Outplacement vendors who offer a whole-human approach to coaching will be able to respond to the distinct concerns that these job seekers have that can hold them back from getting the most out of their outplacement program.
By offering recommendations to help alleviate the negative impacts of unemployment, coaches can provide support that goes above and beyond the standard expectations a job seeker might have. And with this type of assistance, your impacted employees can have the energy and enthusiasm needed for a successful transition.
When your former employees land new work, their need for guidance isn’t necessarily over. New beginnings can be challenging, with over 40% of hires quitting within the first six months of a new job. And if their new roles don’t work out, chances are your former employees will continue to dwell on being laid off and the resulting opinions they have of you as an employer. You can help ensure their success in their new positions with an outplacement provider that supports participants for the full length of the program term, regardless of how quickly they land a new role. By providing continued access to coaching, individuals can benefit from developing a 30/60/90 plan with their coach, and seek advice on integrating with their new team. Executives in particular require assistance transitioning into a new leadership role, which can be accomplished with additional post-landing support as a standard outplacement program benefit.
Services to help your remaining workforce
While some vendors offer only outplacement, others also offer services to help your team with notification planning and delivery, and workshops for your remaining employees and management. In addition, some offer solutions such as career development programming to help increase engagement among your remaining employees after a reduction in force, and to create a more agile workforce by diversifying their skill sets. This type of programming can help with change management and succession planning, as well.
When asking yourself, “Is outplacement worth it?” you’ll need to consider the factors that are important to your organization. When it comes to retaining your remaining employees and keeping them engaged, as well as protecting your employer brand, outplacement can be a cost-effective offering that benefits many aspects of your company. INTOO’s outplacement program helps employees transition to new jobs through unlimited one-on-one, on-demand coaching from premier career counselors, resume reviews, and other career services. Learn more about how our outplacement program can benefit your company when you’re transitioning employees.
Robyn Kern is a seasoned business writer who has written in the HR, education, technology, and nonprofit spaces. She writes about topics including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more, with the goal of surfacing workforce trends and educating the HR community on these key topics. Her work has been featured on hrforhr.org and trainingindustry.com.