The role of outplacement in supporting HR success in 2021

2021 seems set to be another challenging year for the economy. In the face of so many rapidly changing variables, organisations are faced with continually analysing and adjusting strategy. With agility key to success, there’s an increasing need for frequent restructures as organisations strive to ensure they have the right skill sets to future-proof themselves.

Restructure, whether it affects just one or numerous employees, can significantly damage productivity and loyalty if handled poorly. Thus, the use of outplacement as a solution in 2021 is also expected to rise.

Opportunities, for organisations that can adapt

The smartest organisations will recognise opportunities presented in the uncertainties of the year ahead. New ways of working, virtual teams and agile decision-making enabling you to do more with less, all provide opportunities to evolve your organisation and gain competitive advantage. The challenge is to transform your organisation so that it can take advantage of these opportunities. That means identifying weaknesses and eliminating them, whilst building up operational and strategic strength.

One route to achieving that transformation is to restructure the workforce, so that the people in it are the right fit with the emerging political, commercial and economic environment. Of course, this can lead to redundancies, with the risk of damage to productivity and morale across the entire workforce. And that’s where outplacement support comes in. Outplacement support enables organisations to handle the redundancy side of a restructure with sensitivity and compassion, keeping exiting employees both motivated and engaged while their time at an organisation is winding down.

Ideal support for busy HR teams

HR functions may not have the spare capacity to deal with restructuring and redundancy in the way that can benefit employees the most, when they may also be busy with other important issues or BAU factors to keep the day-to-day running smoothly. This is especially true when you consider that in many organisations, HR departments are going through restructures themselves, with predictions for this to continue.

HR teams know what “good” outplacement means

Progressive HR departments value the support they get from outplacement professionals and often have a pretty shrewd idea as to which outplacement teams are outstanding performers. Some outplacement consultants arrive, hold a few cursory interviews and a CV writing workshop, and at the end of their eight, or twelve-week contract, they’re gone. This isn’t a good deal for employees and is likely to increase negative feelings towards the organisation.

One of the key differences between the HR role and outplacement assistance is that for HR, this is inevitably the end of a relationship, whereas with the outplacement professional, it’s the beginning. This fact can change the attitude of the person being helped, from despondency to a positive outlook. For that reason, it’s very important that the outplacement professional, like those at Connor, can offer career transition services that go right through to a satisfactory ending for the individual.

That might be a new role – and a really good outplacement professional will be able to quote many examples of people who have secured better paid and more fulfilling jobs after an outplacement project. But many people want to make more radical changes to their working lives, perhaps improving their work / life balance, or moving to a less than full time role, to give them time to volunteer, do something creative, or even start a new business. A great outplacement advisor will be experienced in helping people develop a portfolio of activities that are both economically sustainable and satisfying to the individual. Some outplacement services, like those Connor can provide, will even help an employee start their own business, working with them all the way through to their first invoice. This all helps to keep leavers engaged on their way out of the organisation.

The way leavers are treated affects those who stay

The way in which people leaving the organisation are treated will not go unnoticed by those who are remaining. A positive and caring approach to those who are receiving career transition services will boost the morale of those who are staying, because it demonstrates that they work for a good employer, and consequently their productivity will remain at optimal levels. And outplacement assistance can ensure this happens.

For an informal chat about what might be happening in your organisation in the next 12 months and what that might mean in terms of change, contact Connor or call us on 01491 414 010


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