Letting employees go is always a sad time, no matter what the reason may be. There can be a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen next for the departing employee. The success of any offboarding process can hinge on the attitude of those involved and there’s one thing for sure: burning bridges with an employee as they leave is in no one’s best interest, least of all yours as an employer.
Often we think of burning bridges as an aggressive situation; we imagine disgruntled employees slamming doors behind them as they storm out or long, loud shouting matches. While these situations undoubtedly happen from time to time, the reality of burning bridges can be as simple as neglecting to do right by employees - whatever that may look like.
The easiest way to ensure you are doing right by your employees when it comes time to say goodbye? Provide outplacement support.
What is outplacement?
Outplacement is simply a support system designed to help exiting employees (regardless of whether they left voluntarily or involuntarily) find their next employment. Providing outplacement is all about helping employees through their career transition in a positive and practical way.
Outplacement helps employees to land on their feet
Nothing is more daunting than leaving a job only to be left wondering where you will go next. Outplacement helps employees to get their CV up to scratch, network efficiently and provides them with career management coaching to get themselves in the best position to move on in their career as soon as possible. The most obvious advantage of outplacement is the way that it helps employees to feel confident as they go through their career transition.
Outplacement keeps the door open
Any employee who exits an organisation on bad terms is unlikely to make a return later down the track - a mistake that can cost any organisation its best talent. Many companies are experiencing a rise in ‘boomerang employees’ - those who leave and eventually return - and outplacement is a way to keep those relationships positive and hold the door open for a possible return.
Great departures make brand ambassadors
One of the signs of a fully engaged employee is that they say good things about their employer to their friends and family and possibly other people who may want to work at their organisation. This role doesn’t stop when they leave the organisation. According to the 2013 Eldeman Trust Barometer, 63% of people trust employees more than CEOs when it comes to being supplied with information about a company’s employee programs, benefits and working conditions. Brand ambassadors are not to be underestimated and your outplacement process is a huge factor in how they continue to advocate for your brand after they leave.
Reassurance for those who stay behind
It’s difficult to see colleagues leave an organisation at the best of times but it can be quite worrying to be unsure of what will happen for them next in their career. Those who are left behind can be understandably concerned for their colleague’s fate but it can also be a sign of what’s to come for them. If their colleagues are not appropriately supported through the offboarding process, they too may start to feel uneasy about what will happen when they eventually need to farewell the organisation. Effective outplacement programs mean that everyone is treated well and can be confident heading towards the future.
Providing outplacement support shouldn’t be seen as something that simply ticks a box; it’s an integral part of closing the employee engagement cycle and should be seen as such by all employers of organisations both big and small.
Greg Weiss is Australia’s Leading Career Coach. He is the author of “So You Got The Job! WTF Is Next?”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7-step framework for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/
He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.
He also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.