Lack of Outplacement Support Is Damaging Your Company’s Reputation
Why is it so hard for some people to do the right thing?
Growing up, we’ve encountered scenarios that exhort us to practice the “Golden Rule”—to do unto others as they would do unto us. Regardless of any given situation, all things being equal, an opportunity arises for us to say and do what is beneficial for not only our own innate sense of fair play, but also for enhancing the reputations of not only ourselves, but others’ good names, too.
Western business culture traditionally supports and upholds the ideal of a level playing field, appealing to a spirit of dignity, goodwill and competition. Most reasonable individuals would agree that, given an equal opportunity to succeed in an area of interest and expertise, a person will put forth a sincere, concerted effort to perform at a superior level for a given period of time.
And, as such, they have every reason to expect a certain outcome—either in the form of monetary compensation, an increase in job responsibilities, or even workplace recognition for outstanding effort.
If that’s the case, then why are most non-managerial, non-executive employees who are let go from their employer given little to no outplacement support?
Where’s the fairness factor?
Counting the Cost
According to Greg Weiss, founder and creator of CareerSupport365, the prevailing wisdom among most companies who terminate the workers falling within this particular demographic is that the cost can’t be justified.
“In separate research, (I’ve) personally interviewed scores of heads of human resources, whose companies employ upwards of 500 staff,” Weiss reveals. “Most commented that due to the high cost of traditional forms of outplacement, they have only offered support to senior levels and token support — at best — to anyone else leaving their company.”
This cost-cutting rationale has led, on numerous occasions, to numerous disgruntled employees venting their frustrations on social media websites such as Glassdoor, Yelp!, Facebook, and others —all of which spells trouble for any company’s brand.
As social media criticism rises, providers such as CareerSupport365 increasingly offers more affordable company outplacement solutions to everyone from CEOs to hourly workers.
“It’s clear there is a need for outplacement and career transition support to be offered to all employees.
The benefits of treating departing employees with dignity outweigh the costs of not providing outplacement and the potential risk of damage to your employer brand. This risk and its repercussions are likely to climb in the future.”
Weiss also makes clear the paramount importance of treating all terminated employees—in particular the bulk of operational workers that comprise the majority of the business world’s three-tier pyramid— with the same level of courtesy and respect afforded those in the senior executive/managerial/ supervisor mode.
“Offering some form of outplacement support, such as how to re-launch their careers, effective networking skills, career coaching, and personal brand management skills, to all employees who are on their way out—and not just a select echelon—may significantly help to mitigate the potential fallout to your employer brand on the Internet,” he asserts.
Should your employer brand be damaged and you must turn your reputation around, according to Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross (author of Corporate Reputation and Chief Reputation Strategist for Weber Shandwick’s global senior management team in New York City), it takes over three years on average to do so, and thus highlights the absolute necessity for treating all former employees with the respect due them.
“A mishandled response, inappropriate act, labor dispute, product tampering or poorly timed reorganization all have the power to instantly tarnish a sterling reputation built by stellar performance and hard work,” she observes.
Weiss corroborates Gaines-Ross’s sentiments.
“The decent treatment of people who are facing a difficult situation of job loss is not only better for the individuals themselves, but also for protecting the company’s employer brand and better policy overall,” he concludes.
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Learn more about Greg Weiss here.