Employer Career Support Responsibility
Employers have an innate responsibility to provide proper, appropriate Career Outplacement Support to ex-employees in keeping with an unspoken code of decency that is increasingly rare to find these days.
“A lot of employers believe that there is no way to get through a layoff unscathed, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” says Raymond Lee. “There’s a right and a wrong way to do everything. Outplacement presents the right way to conduct layoffs. When a company is downsizing, they should offer outplacement services to help former employees through the transition to new jobs and help them re-orient to the job market.
“At this point, employers have a choice. They can either offer tools, services, and support, and be the good guy in a bad situation, or they can say ‘adios’ and be the…well, jerk.”
It’s this choice, Lee argues, that most employers fail to implement appropriately. Short-sightedness often predominates when layoffs commence, with the financial bottom line superseding an ex-employee’s well-being in management’s decision-making.
And that, he notes, is ultimately more damaging long-term than any net profit quarterly loss.
“When layoffs are conducted with little or no severance benefits, that is what we call the wrong way to do it. This can be extremely damaging to a company’s employer brand. When a company tells employees that they matter very little to the organization by not offering outplacement services and support, that company is sending a clear message to current employees and future candidates,” he observes.
Weiss draws this conclusion based upon the following information gained from HR directors who worked for private-sector companies of at least 500 people:
- 95% of Heads of HR believed it was the right thing for employers to look after employees they were letting go.
- 75% of employers offered outplacement to departing senior level employees.
- 10% offered outplacement to all levels of staff, regardless of level.
- 80% of employers who did offer outplacement offered something that was felt they did, so that they ‘ticked the box’.
- The 90% who did not offer all staff outplacement or career transition support did not do so as the cost of those programs was too high compared as a percentage of the departing employees’ employment cost.
- 85% of outplacement offered for senior staff ranged between 1 – 3 months.
- 80% of outplacement services for lower level staff lasted up to 1 month.
Cost-benefit analyses and interpretations seem to take precedence over all else, according to Weiss’s findings. “It would appear that executives responsible for the financial results of the company drive the decision to offer career transition support over and above the human aspects – and make those decisions based mostly on the upfront cost-benefit of doing so,” he observes.
The world of business is ever-revolving, ever-evolving. Companies taking a far-reaching, proactive view would be wise to consider counting the cost…and prioritizing human capital over financial capital if the rewards and benefits are to be reaped.
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Learn more about Greg Weiss here.