Though it may not have occurred to you if your firm is currently experiencing difficult circumstances, making use of an outplacement service can help to strengthen the relationship between your firm and its departing employees. In spite of the fact that economic or other circumstances may have required that you ask an employee or group of employees to leave your firm, you can show your understanding of the difficult transition they’re about to undertake, and at the same time you can thank them for their previous service to your company. This can be accomplished by providing outplacement services to ensure they are provided with the tools to move on to the next phase of their careers as quickly as possible.
Historically when most companies downsize, they send employees off with a severance package and little else. However, companies that want to do right by their former employees enlist the aid of an outplacement firm to help displaced employees transition quickly into new jobs, or advise them on alternate career paths that can lead them to exciting new opportunities.
And as beneficial as this service may be for the employees, surprising to most employers, it’s also good for the company. Benefits provided to the firm from an outplacement program can include public enhancement of the company’s image, aiding the company in its reorganization efforts, and reducing the risk of legal liability from downsized employees or government entities who decide that the company did not act in good faith in its downsizing process.
If your company is in a position where it is considering a layoff, I encourage you to consider the following action steps as you finalize your plans.
Hire an outplacement service company or consultant – Outplacement firms assist not only in helping employees transition out of the company, but also in helping the company understand the legal issues regarding employee termination. Outplacement firms provide career coaches that work one-on-one with employees by helping them to update their resumes, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and prepare for new career opportunities. If you’re undertaking a company-wide layoff, outplacement firms can handle the transition process for a single employee, for dozens or even hundreds of employees. And due to their experience, such companies know the type of services and support that former employees need most during this time, as well as ways to make the layoff process easier for both employer and employee.
Make an alumni program part of your outplacement strategy – Though circumstances may require you to lay off employees in your current situation, you may find your firm needing to rehire them if the company’s financial state improves, the economic climate changes, or if new positions open up for which their skills (and existing company knowledge) would be transferable. Adding an alumni program to your planned outplacement services allows you stay connected to valued former employees while also providing them with a way to stay in touch with colleagues and friends for support during their transition and beyond.