I have been having lots of discussions with clients recently on the breadth of impact across an organisation when a restructure or redundancy situation occurs. Typically we most obviously think about those directly impacted – the ones who end up leaving your organisation as a result of their roles being made redundant, and how we can support them to move on promptly and positively with comprehensive outplacement support. But have you thought about the other people that are also impacted during these times of change and disruption? And did you know that advertising your organisation offers outplacement can help them too, even if they aren’t looking for a new job?
Those who were at risk but are now staying
For anyone that has experienced going through a redundancy consultation process, you know that it feels disruptive even if you do end up keeping your role at the end of it. You may think these people will feel fortunate to have made it through the process with a job and to still be receiving their salary, but actually the thoughts of ‘what if?’ and starting to explore the market in case they do find themselves looking can impact on the productivity and morale of your retained staff that you desperately need to perform well at this critical time. This sense of relief at keeping their job when colleagues – and most likely friends – didn’t, can also lead to survivor guilt where the individual feels guilty about having kept their roles when others didn’t. Advertising the fact that you offer outplacement to your leavers helps those left behind know that their ex colleagues have been looked after in the best way possible, and reassures others that you really mean it when you say you look after your people.
Those who weren’t directly impacted at all
That sense of reassurance is also important for those that weren’t directly impacted by the restructure or redundancies at all. Even if someone hasn’t been through the consultation process themselves, they will still have seen and felt the disruption it may have caused, may be worried for their own job safety, and feel upset about seeing the impact on their friends and colleagues. Our human nature is typically to catastrophise and think worst-case-scenario, to try and control a situation and seek stability and predictability. Unfortunately redundancies and structural changes can upset this, and even if you aren’t planning to make any further structural changes this isn’t something you can ever guarantee. This can lead to employees looking elsewhere to seek that stability – and we even know of recruiters that will specifically target high performers in organisations making redundancies as it is typically easier to lure people away during times of change and uncertainty, which plant seeds of doubt. Being clear to all employees that outplacement is available if the worst happens helps reduce this sense of instability and unease and increases your change of retaining your workforce not involved in the consultation.
Managers of impacted teams
During these times of change and uncertainty your business will typically still need to be performing business as usual – you still need a productive workforce, whatever the nature of your business. But it can be incredibly hard for your managers to manage their teams during this period – the whole process of redundancy or restructure is time consuming in itself, something additional you are needing managers to do on top of their usual ‘day job’, all whilst supporting teams that are likely to feel more emotional, volatile, working in ambiguity, and unsettled. You might also be asking managers to deliver the same results with a reduced headcount as is often the case following redundancies. And whilst all of this is happening, your managers may also be at risk of redundancy themselves. Having a trusted outplacement partnership in place will help those directly impacted stay focused on the day-job, knowing they have access to a career expert to help them move on, as well as reducing disruption amongst the teams.
Your HR team
Similarly to managers, organising and executing a redundancy process in your organisation requires a lot of time, effort and energy from your HR team to get it right and ensure your impacted people feel like they are being treated professionally, with dignity and respect. When those impacted are being given expert outplacement support, the number of queries, appeals and legal actions are typically reduced as people feel they have been treated respectfully and given practical support to move on positively.
New or prospective employees
Sometimes following a restructure you find yourself needing to bring in new people. In this situation, you want to make sure you are in the best position to attract the best people, and a great way to do this is by talking about your outplacement provision right at the start of your conversations with prospective people. As it becomes more competitive for employers to stand out in a crowded market, giving your people the reassurance that they will be looked after, come what may, offers a greater sense of comfort than trying to make assurances about the stability of your business when no-one really knows what’s around the corner. It’s also a great demonstration of your company values and shows that you are serious when it comes to looking after your people throughout their whole lifecycle with you.
Please get in touch to find out more about Connor’s comprehensive, as long as it takes outplacement support based on our 30+ years of experience, or download our guide, Outplacement Explained.