Why You Need an Outplacement Strategy: Preparing For Staff Lay-Offs in the Wake of Coronavirus

With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) now at the pandemic stage, Australian businesses find themselves in uncharted waters around how this unprecedented global outbreak will impact the workforce.

Rapidly growing market uncertainty and the fall-out of isolation and quarantine being felt across the supply chain mean employers and HR directors must now face the very real likelihood of staff cut-backs over the coming months.

In these uncertain times, those organisations who are prepared for retrenchment will be the ones who ultimately come through with minimal damage - and that’s where an effective outplacement strategy can make all the difference.

From minimising brand damage to keeping surviving staff members engaged and loyal, here’s why you need to be engaging in professional outplacement services for outgoing employees.

Effective outplacement can protect your brand reputation

While coronavirus may be hitting the headlines, the last thing you want is for your organisation to make the news (or the local gossip mill) for all the wrong reasons - such as a disgruntled former employee venting their frustrations over the lack of support they received during the retrenchment process.

Whether it’s a social media rant or verbally shared frustrations, the damage can be quick, widespread, and result in a negative perception of your brand in the eyes of customers, business associates, vendors, and the general public.

How outplacement services can help:

Offering outplacement services to employees following retrenchment or redundancies can foster a much more favourable impression and greatly reduce the risk of them disparaging your brand.

In fact, research conducted by Career365 revealed that 95% of people would have felt “far less inclined” to post adverse comments about their former employees had they been offered an outplacement program.

Offering outplacement services helps you become an Employer of Choice

Employer rating websites such as Glassdoor and Seek make it oh-so-simple for people to anonymously leave feedback about their former employer. And, as we pointed out above, unhappy employees are much more likely to take to their keyboards and leave a negative review in retaliation for a lack of care and support.

The real kicker is when talented job seekers turn to these sites to research your brand - only to be met by negative reviews focusing on your poor treatment of a former staff member. Hardly the behaviour of an ‘Employer of Choice’.

How outplacement services can help:

By supporting your retrenched employees and proactively assisting them through their career transition, you’ll be more likely to maintain a healthy brand image and be viewed favourably by departing staff members.

Outplacement can, therefore, help to preserve the talent pipeline, as well as helping you become an Employer of Choice to prospective employees by demonstrating a good track record across the employee life cycle.

An outplacement program increases the chance of former employees returning

While your short-term focus may be on the need to let go of staff, once the coronavirus dust has settled and the markets recover, you may face a need to refill positions. If so, it makes sense to seek out your already-skilled alumni staff to reduce onboarding time and investment.

But, if you failed to provide support in the form of an outplacement program, the chances are these former employees will have left with a bad taste in their mouth, making them loathe to return to an organisation that failed to support them upon their departure.

How outplacement services can help:

By demonstrating your level of care and commitment to outgoing employees via a supportive outplacement program, you’ll increase the willingness of these former staff members to return.

Offering outplacement services makes it more likely your previous employees will leave with a positive impression and will be open to becoming ‘boomerang employees’.

Offering outplacement sends a positive message to existing employees

In these times of heightened fear and anxiety, people tend to be hypersensitive to changes in their environment - and the workplace is far from an exception. So it stands to reason that if existing employees see their colleagues being shafted without support or assistance, this could lead to panic, anger, and plummeting levels of engagement.

Failing to provide an outplacement program or support staff in their career transition sends a message to surviving staff members that they too will face a lack of support should they be retrenched or made redundant in the future.

How outplacement services can help:

Offering outplacement services to departing employees demonstrates your commitment to upholding your brand values at every stage of the employee life cycle.

By treating former employees with respect and extending adequate support in the form of an outplacement program, existing staff members will be reassured that they too will be supported in the event of retrenchment or redundancy.

Outplacement services help to keep your business compliant

While it would be somewhat cynical to suggest that outplacement can be a box-ticking exercise, the fact is that compliance is a key consideration, particularly in these uncertain and rapidly changing times.

Should you fail to provide effective outplacement support via an outplacement program, you may leave yourself open to unwanted legal implications.

How outplacement services can help:

Helping former employees navigate their career transition via an outplacement program can cover you against the risk of potential lawsuits and avoid the awarding of hefty damages.

Outplacement services will help to ensure your organisation has ‘ticked the boxes’ when it comes to your legal obligations and compliance requirements, while also doing the right thing by your former staff member.

Next Steps in Creating an Outplacement Strategy

If you’re looking to engage in professional outplacement services, Career365 can help. We specialise in outplacement programs designed to support your outgoing employees and protect your brand.

What’s more, our outplacement programs are delivered remotely, via online training modules and video-based coaching - meaning we can provide these services to those in self-isolation if required.

To find out more about our affordable outplacement programs, visit www.career365.com.au

Greg Weiss has authored two books about career transitioning and is soon to release a third. He has deep expertise in outplacement and employee onboarding, and is the Founder of Career365 (formerly CareerSupport365) - a leading Australian employee transitioning firm, specialising in outplacement and employee onboarding.

How to Prioritise the Mental Health of Departing Employees: Offer Career Coaching

There’s been a push for employers to ensure workplaces are mentally healthy environments for their employees. That means preventing workplace bullying and discrimination, equipping leaders to better manage workplace conflicts, reducing stressors, and of course reducing the stigma around mental health.

But, what is being done about the mental health of employees in the final stage of the employee life cycle? Who is taking care of the mental health of employees when they are dismissed or made redundant?

The effect of displacement on employee mental health

To understand the impact that job loss has on a person’s mental health, it’s critical to comprehend the tie between work and identity. A sense of self-worth comes from doing something perceived as worthwhile or that gives their life meaning. The more these factors depend on someone’s job, the bigger the risk to their mental health when they are let go.

There are a few groups where this risk to mental health is heightened.

1.  Men

The impact on mental health is often heightened for males,[1] because their traditional ‘warrior-like’ role is perceived through their work. The loss of a job means: they lose their traditional provider role; where they belong; and also their power and sense of self-worth.

2.  Higher-level executives

More significant impacts on mental health are also seen among higher-level executives who lose their power, their place to go every day, and even the appeal they are perceived to have among those in their social circle. After all, when you’re married to your job (particularly at the expense of relationships with significant others and children), you find yourself wondering who you are without it?

It’s also true that the level of seniority a person holds tends to increase the duration between losing one job and finding another because there are more limited opportunities at senior levels.

3.  Those “trapped” in certain roles

There are some industries where people are more vulnerable, due to being “trapped” in a particular role. Let’s look at a specific example, where unhappiness within a role could be the cause of mental health suffering.

In my experience, 7 or 8 out of 10 HR directors (and Marketing Directors for that matter) are female. Often, in an effort to honour diversity and inclusion policies, executive leadership seems to put women into particular leadership roles.

That means out of 10 HR directors, only 2 or 3 are male. But what happens when a male HR director is stuck in a role he doesn’t like? He feels trapped here, as there is a 2-3 chance in 10 chance he will be hired in a new HR Director role, compared to a female.

Signs of suffering

Research shows the likelihood of developing anxiety and depression increases with job or financial loss.[2] So, in the event an organisation does not offer outplacement support and career coaching to departing employees, those employees will commonly experience or show signs of:

●    Fatigue

●    Sleep problems

●    Memory and concentration problems

●    Feeling overwhelmed

●    Overreacting

●    Withdrawing from others

●    Loss of direction

●    Self-doubt

●    Sense of powerless or lack of control

And right now, in March 2020, there is an additional layer of worry when it comes to job security, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are already being affected and undertaking damage control.

Hopefully, it won’t, but if a recession does strike, displaced employees will need more support than ever before.

Outplacement programs that include career coaching are proven to help departing employees move on faster - for both their mental state and their career.

How do outplacement programs and career coaching really help?

Offering outplacement support is one way to help is proven to mitigate the risks to the mental health of a departing employee. Outplacement gives structure, purpose, direction, and hope to the vulnerable.

Outplacement support services give displaced employees the opportunity to reset what they actually want in a job, and a chance to find purpose and career enrichment. A great outplacement program doesn’t just set up leads or provide introductions to recruiters, it provides tools to boost mental resilience and personalised career coaching to make sure where they go next is going to be truly satisfying.

What else can be done?

Let me be clear, outplacement is not the be-all and end-all to prevent mental health issues after a job loss. There are many other resources that can help, particularly when coupled with career coaching. Specifically, I also suggest looking into:

●    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

●    Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

●    Mindfulness practices

●    Resources and support services offered by R U OKBeyond BlueBlack Dog Institute and Lifeline

With 45% of Australians experiencing a mental health condition in their lifetime,[3] and uncertain times ahead with the coronavirus pandemic, surely we have a social responsibility to avoid further impacts on mental health for our employees - at every stage of the employee life cycle.

[1] https://www.business.unsw.edu.au/research-site/centreforappliedeconomicresearch-site/Documents/S.%20Mendolia%20-%20The%20Impact%20of%20Job%20Loss%20on%20Family%20Mental%20Health.pdf

[2] https://resources.beyondblue.org.au/prism/file?token=BL/0373

[3] https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/factsheets/facts_figures.pdf?sfvrsn=8


If you’re looking to engage in professional outplacement services, Career365 can help. We specialise in outplacement programs designed to support your outgoing employees and protect your brand.

What’s more, our outplacement programs are delivered remotely, via online training modules and video-based coaching - meaning we can provide these services to those in self-isolation if required.

To find out more about our affordable outplacement programs, visit www.career365.com.au

Greg Weiss has authored two books about career transitioning and is soon to release a third. He has deep expertise in outplacement and employee onboarding, and is the Founder of Career365 (formerly CareerSupport365) - a leading Australian employee transitioning firm, specialising in outplacement and employee onboarding.

Why You Need an Outplacement Strategy: Preparing For Staff Lay-Offs in the Wake of Coronavirus

With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) now at the pandemic stage, Australian businesses find themselves in uncharted waters around how this unprecedented global outbreak will impact the workforce.

Rapidly growing market uncertainty and the fall-out of isolation and quarantine being felt across the supply chain mean employers and HR directors must now face the very real likelihood of staff cut-backs over the coming months.

In these uncertain times, those organisations who are prepared for retrenchment will be the ones who ultimately come through with minimal damage - and that’s where an effective outplacement strategy can make all the difference.

From minimising brand damage to keeping surviving staff members engaged and loyal, here’s why you need to be engaging in professional outplacement services for outgoing employees.

Effective outplacement can protect your brand reputation

While coronavirus may be hitting the headlines, the last thing you want is for your organisation to make the news (or the local gossip mill) for all the wrong reasons - such as a disgruntled former employee venting their frustrations over the lack of support they received during the retrenchment process.

Whether it’s a social media rant or verbally shared frustrations, the damage can be quick, widespread, and result in a negative perception of your brand in the eyes of customers, business associates, vendors, and the general public.

How outplacement services can help:

Offering outplacement services to employees following retrenchment or redundancies can foster a much more favourable impression and greatly reduce the risk of them disparaging your brand.

In fact, research conducted by Career365 revealed that 95% of people would have felt “far less inclined” to post adverse comments about their former employees had they been offered an outplacement program.

Offering outplacement services helps you become an Employer of Choice

Employer rating websites such as Glassdoor and Seek make it oh-so-simple for people to anonymously leave feedback about their former employer. And, as we pointed out above, unhappy employees are much more likely to take to their keyboards and leave a negative review in retaliation for a lack of care and support.

The real kicker is when talented job seekers turn to these sites to research your brand - only to be met by negative reviews focusing on your poor treatment of a former staff member. Hardly the behaviour of an ‘Employer of Choice’.

How outplacement services can help:

By supporting your retrenched employees and proactively assisting them through their career transition, you’ll be more likely to maintain a healthy brand image and be viewed favourably by departing staff members.

Outplacement can, therefore, help to preserve the talent pipeline, as well as helping you become an Employer of Choice to prospective employees by demonstrating a good track record across the employee life cycle.

An outplacement program increases the chance of former employees returning

While your short-term focus may be on the need to let go of staff, once the coronavirus dust has settled and the markets recover, you may face a need to refill positions. If so, it makes sense to seek out your already-skilled alumni staff to reduce onboarding time and investment.

But, if you failed to provide support in the form of an outplacement program, the chances are these former employees will have left with a bad taste in their mouth, making them loathe to return to an organisation that failed to support them upon their departure.

No alt text provided for this image

How outplacement services can help:

By demonstrating your level of care and commitment to outgoing employees via a supportive outplacement program, you’ll increase the willingness of these former staff members to return.

Offering outplacement services makes it more likely your previous employees will leave with a positive impression and will be open to becoming ‘boomerang employees’.

Offering outplacement sends a positive message to existing employees

  • In these times of heightened fear and anxiety, people tend to be hypersensitive to changes in their environment - and the workplace is far from an exception. So it stands to reason that if existing employees see their colleagues being shafted without support or assistance, this could lead to panic, anger, and plummeting levels of engagement.

Failing to provide an outplacement program or support staff in their career transition sends a message to surviving staff members that they too will face a lack of support should they be retrenched or made redundant in the future.

How outplacement services can help:

Offering outplacement services to departing employees demonstrates your commitment to upholding your brand values at every stage of the employee life cycle.

By treating former employees with respect and extending adequate support in the form of an outplacement program, existing staff members will be reassured that they too will be supported in the event of retrenchment or redundancy.

Outplacement services help to keep your business compliant

While it would be somewhat cynical to suggest that outplacement can be a box-ticking exercise, the fact is that compliance is a key consideration, particularly in these uncertain and rapidly changing times.

Should you fail to provide effective outplacement support via an outplacement program, you may leave yourself open to unwanted legal implications.

How outplacement services can help:

Helping former employees navigate their career transition via an outplacement program can cover you against the risk of potential lawsuits and avoid the awarding of hefty damages.

Outplacement services will help to ensure your organisation has ‘ticked the boxes’ when it comes to your legal obligations and compliance requirements, while also doing the right thing by your former staff member.

Next Steps in Creating an Outplacement Strategy

If you’re looking to engage in professional outplacement services, Career365 can help. We specialise in outplacement programs designed to support your outgoing employees and protect your brand.

What’s more, our outplacement programs are delivered remotely, via online training modules and video-based coaching - meaning we can provide these services to those in self-isolation if required.

To find out more about our affordable outplacement programs, visit www.career365.com.au

Greg Weiss has authored two books about career transitioning and is soon to release a third. He has deep expertise in outplacement and employee onboarding, and is the Founder of Career365 (formerly CareerSupport365) - a leading Australian employee transitioning firm, specialising in outplacement and employee onboarding.

Solving Career Confusion 2RRR radio interview

I was delighted to recently feature as the guest on 2RRR Meaningful Monday Show, which is about self-empowerment and raising people's awareness to live their best life. I chat with Jeanine Sciacca and Clare Williamson on solving career confusion and my book So You're Career Confused! WTF is Next?

Listen here on LinkedIn 📻🎧

Outplacement: 5 ways to future proof your business uncertain times

At a glance, “outplacement services” means providing career support to outgoing employees - usually in the form of third-party programs, most often after:

a)   an employee has been made redundant (in 90 per cent of cases)

b)   let go after failure to thrive following a performance improvement program (in 5 per cent of cases), or

c)   let go plainly because of poor hire and fit (in 5 per cent of cases).

But there’s also a hidden depth of meaning that outplacement services have for an employer’s reputation.

In fact, there are five ways that offering outplacement services to outgoing employees can provide damage control.

1. Outplacement services mean the talent pipeline is preserved

Despite having a non-disparagement clause in their severance packages, many people still rate their former employer on websites like Glassdoor and Seek anonymously. And when people are hurting from being asked to move on, the negative rants they post pose a big reputational problem to employers.

Websites like Glassdoor and Seek hold enormous sway with the well-connected and informed Millennial. So, when prospective employees are considering two organisations, they might look to sites like this to find out what an employer is “really” like. Any negative reviews are going to impact the talent pipeline of the employer because prospective employees are going to be put off by them.

But outplacement programs are proven to help mitigate any negative feelings former employees have and make it 90 per cent less likely they will post these rants online.

2. Outplacement services protect your brand reputation

But, protecting your reputation as an employer, isn’t just about maintaining the pipeline for new talent. It’s also about how you appear in the public eye.

It makes good business sense to do everything possible to prevent people from speaking ill of your brand - especially in today’s world where social impact is so prevalent. People talk and it doesn’t take much for bad news to reach business partners, vendors and customers alike: whether that’s online media, social media or just plain old-fashioned gossip.

The good news is, Career365 research found that “95 percent of people would have felt ‘far less inclined’ to post adverse comments about their own former employers,” if offered an outplacement program.

At the first meeting with a new participant in our outplacement program, I always give kudos to the employer. I explain to the employee that their former employer is being immensely helpful in providing the support they aren’t legally required to, thereby helping to reinforce the employer’s reputation.

3. Providing outplacement services improves chances with alumni or boomerang employees

Imagine your company let too many people go when faced with a downturn. And you suddenly needed to refill your staffing capacity.

Where would you turn?

You’d probably like to go back to your former employees first (the alumni).

Why?

Because it’s a faster learning curve, and there’s a lower onboarding investment.

If treated well when let go, and put through an outplacement program, they are more likely to return to your organisation, and become a ‘boomerang employee’. When outplacement programs help employees leave with a positive impression, it’s good for them, but it’s also good for the future hiring prospects of the employer.

4. Outplacement services mean existing employees stay engaged

Bottom line – no-one wants to see former colleagues treated unfairly. If treated well, via an outplacement program, this mitigates damage to the brand and the employer’s reputation with current employees.

They’ll feel like the employer approached the situation as fairly as possible and are confident that they would be treated equally as well should the circumstances ever arise.

5. Providing outplacement services helps you be an employer of choice

For this point, let’s consider how the legal industry hires. For example, legal firms may choose to hire the top 20% of students. But, if one of the firms doesn’t have a good track record across the entire employee life cycle, those “cream of the crop” students may not be interested in working with them.

After all, it’s not just about the onboarding process and how employees are treated throughout their employment, it’s also about what goes on at the backend if things don’t work out. Using outplacement programs means prospective employees know they will be looked after at all stages of their employment and they’ll want to work for you.

Why not protect your reputation before it takes a hit? Offering outplacement programs to outgoing employees means proactively managing not just how they see you, but how your existing employees and the rest of the world does too.

Greg Weiss has authored 2 books about career transitioning and is soon to release a third. He has deep expertise in outplacement and employee onboarding. He is the Founder of Career365 (formerly CareerSupport365) is a leading Australian employee transitioning firm, specialising in outplacement and employee onboarding.