How individual outplacement support benefits the entire organisation

This piece was written by Fraser Silvey, Managing Director of Connor.

Outplacement support benefits are worth the investment.

Not everybody knows about outplacement — that was confirmed by our Twitter poll earlier in the year — but those who do are usually pretty familiar with what the service entails. Still, even fewer fully understand who benefits from outplacement, thinking it only serves the individual receiving the support.

This common misconception makes organisations nervous about investing in outplacement — why spend money on people who are leaving anyway? While it’s only right that outplacement support should be directed at leavers and tailored for their needs, that doesn’t mean the benefits won’t be felt far and wide. Here’s how:

Outplacement support for the leaver

Of course, the most obvious benefits of individual outplacement support are for the leaver. Giving them tailored support, that lasts for as long as they need it, helps them move on from the organisation in a positive manner — which is proven to significantly increase their engagement and morale throughout their remaining time with you.

When you link leavers up with a well-matched outplacement consultant, you give them faster access to new jobs and personal networks, online short courses, videos and tutorials, competitive insights and a whole range of tools and tips to help enhance their career search as well as coaching support if it is needed.

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The positivity that outplacement support can bring to those leaving your organisation also encourages them to remain brand ambassadors for you as they leave the organisation. In a world where Glassdoor enables disgruntled employees to damage your reputation with negative reviews, and where press attention can make your change journey a difficult and damaging one for your brand, the power of positive brand advocates cannot be understated.

There are plenty of self-proclaimed outplacement experts out there, but not all provide anything near the level of support required. Individual outplacement support works best when it delivers:

  • A flexible and bespoke service, built around the individual and tailored to their needs. Too many leavers find themselves on a conveyor-belt service that offers little more than a CV check — nothing more than a tick in the box that allows organisations to say they’ve supported their leavers!
  • A peer-level career consultant matched to fit the individual both personally and professionally — this doesn’t necessarily mean someone from the same business sector, but they do need to understand the challenges the leaver is facing, and have a certain chemistry with them.
  • One-to-one care and attention for every individual at every level, from people right at the beginning of their careers to senior executives.
  • Support for as long as it’s needed to secure the next opportunity, whatever that may be. It’s not necessarily the case that leavers will be looking for an exact replacement for their current role — they may be looking for promotion, a career change, retirement or semi-retirement, a switch to portfolio working, or to set up a new business.
  • Ongoing support as the leaver settles into a new job, to ensure a smooth, successful transition.

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Benefits of outplacement support for those left behind

Those who ‘survive’ redundancy may feel one of two things: frustration and anger at the organisation if their friends and colleagues have been made redundant; and guilt for having not been made redundant themselves.
On top of this, if those who are leaving become less productive (something that outplacement can help mitigate against but can’t entirely solve), those staying have to pick up the slack in the short term. That can build resentment and ultimately reduce output — people who work longer hours don’t necessarily deliver more.

All those things can impact productivity, and even prompt survivors to leave of their own accord. Individual outplacement support can help to ease the frustration and guilt of survivors by:

  • Showing them that those leaving the organisation are being well looked after and reassuring them that they can expect the same treatment if their own jobs should come up for review in the future.
  • Keeping leavers focused and positive, instead of being a distraction to colleagues and bringing the mood down in the office.
  • Maintaining leavers’ productivity levels when they are doing the jobs they are being paid to do. This might be a welcome alternative to putting people on ‘gardening leave’.

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How outplacement supports helps managers

Restructuring often puts managers in a difficult position — they are the ones tasked with making individuals redundant and continuing to maintain productivity during the redundancy period. Apart from their own emotional responses to having to make reports and colleagues, who are often their friends, redundant, the environment is a tense and emotional one, and it can be a challenge to keep everyone on track.

Outplacement support gives managers a way to do the right thing by their teams, even if they have to let them go. This can help defuse tensions in the team, making day-to-day management easier. It can also help managers keep key team members on board — there’s always a risk of collateral damage when you carry out a large restructuring exercise, losing employees you really wanted to retain.

Outplacement support for the business

When the time to start recruiting comes around again, potential new employees will judge your organisation on the way it treats its employees. Ironically, when organisations demonstrate how much they care for people who are leaving, they become a more attractive proposition to prospective new hires. And that’s a great way to attract top talent to your business in times of skills shortage.

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Looking after your leavers also gives a good impression to your customer base — particularly if yours is a consumer industry, but this also applies to B2B companies. These days, brand is everything and it pays to demonstrate your business truly cares.

While outplacement support is usually built around the individual, the effects ripple out to the entire organisation. When you invest in outplacement support to help build and promote a business-as-usual culture, you’ll find it will pay for itself many times over by delivering productivity gains, better team morale, and retention of those not immediately impacted by the restructuring exercise.

To learn more about Connor, and outplacement services, click here

Author Rebecca O'Keeffe

More posts by Rebecca O'Keeffe

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