Preparing Your Employees to Find Another Job Can Help Your Brand
In today’s business environment, layoffs are inevitable. Even in the most promising companies, restructuring and resizing have become a part of normal operating procedures. In 2015, layoffs were up 13 percent from the previous year, due to an increase in mergers and acquisitions, shifting political priorities, economic instabilities, and cyclical hiring and cutting across some industries.
So why do organizations resist talking about foreseeable career transitions, like layoffs, with employees? After all, the vast majority of employees will eventually leave to begin a new job, whether by choice or not.
With layoffs becoming the norm, organizations have an opportunity to include outplacement services as a benefit for all employees and to promote their dedication to the employees through their entire career lifespan with the company. Outplacement services should be part of the perks provided and promoted to new employees right alongside free lunches and parental leave. Instead of leaving layoff and restructuring support to the end of the conversation, companies have a unique opportunity to differentiate themselves, while protecting their reputation and brand during tough transitional periods.
Not only does offering outplacement at the time of a workforce reshaping event benefit the company and the employee, there are many benefits to providing and promoting outplacement as a part of your HR strategy. While you may have already considered the legal benefits associated with outplacement services, including reducing your unemployment tax burden and limiting legal liability, there are many other benefits to offering outplacement for the organization and its transitioning employees. Here are three you may not have considered:
1. Establish and maintain a positive brand perception. Taking care of employees is good business. While there no longer exists an expectation that joining a company will result in lifetime employment, how you treat your employees during their tenure at your company and as they separate from you can have a meaningful impact on your brand perception. Providing the right support during an involuntary reduction in staff has proven to increase the alumni perception of your company. Whether your former employees are your customers, prospects, or members of professional communities, their associations with your brand will have a lasting impact on your business and reputation. When you’re ready to hire again, past employees who leave on a positive note are more likely to provide positive referrals to your company.
2. Creating long-term success for employees. Employees want opportunities for growth and seek employers who will facilitate their success. If your organization is dedicated to empowering employees, that commitment should extend beyond employment and include support during corporate restructuring. Most companies do not have the resources to provide the range of outplacement services available through an external provider, such as RiseSmart. Using an outside provider frees up internal employees to continue moving the company forward and ensures that transitioning employees are able to land a new job more quickly. In fact, a recent job seeker report showed 72% of employees were able to land a new job with outplacement support.
3. Outplacement services are attractive to the job seeker. When you add outplacement to the list of employee services, you’re making a positive statement about your brand. You’re telling potential employees you care about them as individuals and that, no matter the circumstance, you’re there to provide support. Layoffs and corporate restructuring events can have far-reaching consequences for the organization, the impacted individuals, and their families and communities. These are emotionally and financially challenging times for everyone concerned. Organizations that conscientiously commit to taking care of their employees not only protect their brand, but become more attractive to the most sought after talent. Nearly three-fourths of employees say they would decline a job offer from a company with a bad reputation. While workforce reduction can reflect poorly on an organization, offering outplacement services will help put a positive spin on difficult times.
While layoffs are inevitable and often a result of difficult business decisions, the layoff event can be an opportunity for brands to show their exiting employees, remaining workforce, and future job applicants that it is committed to positive employee relations and experiences. How you choose to manage employees during transitions is important, not just for your reputation but for the individual employee affected by a reduction in force. Offer outplacement as a way to show all your employees and job seekers you have their best interests at heart, even if outside conditions are causing you to part ways.
Sanjay Sathe, President and CEO, founded RiseSmart after more than two decades of general management and marketing, leading successful sales and marketing organizations domestically and internationally. He has specialized in product marketing, CRM, loyalty programs, branding, marketing communications, public relations and strategic alliance initiatives for companies in telecommunications, banking, airline and technology. Sanjay served as vice president for enterprise data management for Sabre Holdings, a $2.5 billion global leader in travel commerce and parent company of Sabre, Travelocity, Lastminute.com and Zuji. Before Sabre, Sanjay was senior vice president of marketing for Brierley & Partners, a CRM and loyalty management company that serves global brands such as Hilton HHonors, Hertz #1 Club Gold, Sony and Nokia. He also has worked in marketing management in Europe and Asia with Lufthansa, HSBC and other major corporations.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi