• David Reddin

Outplacement – A Three Part Story (2/3)

Outplacement has always been an important (if neglected) factor in long-term business success. A company’s reputation in the marketplace is affected by its outplacement practices for a variety of reasons, not the least of which comes down to a simple edict: Word gets around.

Top talent in the job market hear things about how companies treat people. Employees who remain in their positions after an outsourcing event (whether twenty people or just one person are let go) may also be affected by the way outplacement is handled.

Part two of our outplacement story is about those people who lose their jobs. Like desperados into the sunset, they go in search of better fortunes. An ex-employee might feel hopeful, optimistic, supported. Or they might feel like they’re alone in the desert with nary an opportunity in sight.

The question is simple: How can the employer – former employer, as the case may be – help create a positive experience for the outplaced worker?

1. Good outplacement enables a healthy perspective

Being out of work is complicated. A person’s social and economic status is in upheaval. At minimum, the person can experience embarrassment and lack of confidence. Their financial position can be in jeopardy. They can face unfathomable competition in the job market, and a concerned or perhaps angry family. There are so many dynamics that impact an employee who has been let go.

A strong outplacement program helps the employee look towards their future with optimism, instead of looking back with bitterness. Skilled outplacement partners help the employee and, at times, even the employee’s partner get past the termination event as quickly as possible. The only way this is possible is through results.

2. Employees are re-employed faster

The anxiety of losing a job fades quickly when a new opportunity – a good opportunity – arises in its place. This highlights the importance of solid coaching on how to conduct a productive job search. Good job searching skills produce good results. Indeed, a person working with a good career coach, and really working the program hard, is shown to almost half the time they spend in job search. Outplacement specialists have the experience and contacts to facilitate better transitions. This makes for happy ex-employees, and stronger reputation in the marketplace.

3. Job Loss is a Deeply Human Experience

Losing one’s job is one of life’s toughest losses. Employers should never underestimate the loss felt by former employees. Even on the best of terms, losing your job doesn’t alleviate the void you feel; waking up with no place to go, no voicemail to check, no emails to return. For many, their actual identify is tied up in the role they hold. Losing the job to them means they’ve lost their identify. It can take weeks or months to adjust, especially if you’ve been with the organisation a long time.

This human recognition is important to organisational health, because organisations are (and always will be) made of people. There are many reasons why a given employment relationship can be terminated – changes in the business, changes in the local or global market, or even the unexpected arrival of a life and business threatening virus! Regardless, when people need to leave an organisation, professional outplacement support ensures the highest level of assistance to the affected individuals.

4. Provides an outlet for the displaced staff to vent

Dedicated outplacement programs provide emotional coaching. They offer a community of support.

They give job seekers a safe place to talk openly about their situation and challenges. Outplacement professionals also tend to have a network of professional contacts, often in the recruitment industry, and these can be valuable. However, the outplacement professionals primary skill is helping outplaced workers take control, something that has been taken away from them, and to market themselves.

Riding into the sunset…

An employee who rides off into the sunset feeling valued and supported – or better yet, who quickly finds a watering hole and a place to regroup – is valuable to everyone. It’s valuable to the ex-employee, who finds more confidence, better opportunities, and a positive outlook. It’s valuable to the job marketplace. It’s valuable to the next employer, and ultimately to the former employer. Solid outplacement practices are not only responsible – ultimately, they’re profitable. This was true before coronavirus, and it will remain true after the virus recedes.

Stay tuned for part three of our outplacement story, even in the midst of coronavirus…

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