What are the benefits to an organisation of using outplacement services?

Fraser Silvey

By Fraser Silvey

29 Jan 2019

The need for outplacement services usually comes at times of change, where uncertainty can cause issues across the organisation. The benefits of using a service to help during these periods include minimising disruption & stress, maintaining productivity and reducing turnover. 

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All of these are essential to continued success of an organisation through potentially uncertain times. The following points set out the full benefits for an organisation of using an outplacement service.

1. Maintaining productivity and minimising disruption through the restructure

You may need to keep employees engaged through a lengthy period of restructure and consultation. Uncertainty and fear significantly negatively impact performance.

The better an organisation supports their individuals through career transition, the lower the disruption and impact on productivity across the whole organisation.

Those at risk know that, should they lose their position, there will be ongoing personal, tailored coaching and support that will accelerate their finding a new position. This in turn enables them to remain focused on the work in hand.

For those whose jobs are not at risk, knowing the organisation will be supporting their friends and colleagues maintains motivation, loyalty and ultimately productivity.

 2. Maintaining productivity and loyalty of ‘survivors ‘

Once the redundancies have come in to effect, the morale of remaining employees can be dramatically affected. Rise in workload, loyalty towards lost colleagues, fear of future job cuts, different team dynamics- any one of these can impact the ‘survivors’.

An outplacement programme that positively impacts the wellbeing of leavers and their ability to find new employment improves morale in the organisation. Not only this but they start to hear and celebrate good news stories as their former colleagues are supported to new opportunities.

This minimises ‘survivor guilt’ of those staying with the result of greater productivity and more discretionary effort from survivors.

In the months following redundancies, organisations are likely to see increased voluntary employee as well and typically, turnover is highest among those you least wish to lose. Highly talented, sought-after employees look to move to an organisation they perceive to have higher morale, more ‘job security’ and increased cohesion.

A high-touch outplacement programme earns trust, maintains engagement and reduces the likelihood of you losing talented employees. It means the people who remain have both eyes on their role rather than one on their role and one on the job market.

Increased absenteeism as a response to perceived unfair treatment of former colleagues, lower morale and a high stress environment is another common effect for a prolonged period of time post a restructure.

The provision of an outplacement programme which has been well received by leavers resonates across the organisation and has been shown to reduce absenteeism after downsizing by up to 33%

3. Increasing uptake of voluntary redundancy

Offering a voluntary redundancy programme can negate the need to move to a compulsory redundancy programme if enough uptake is achieved.

A successful voluntary redundancy programme is often more cost effective to an organisation than compulsory redundancy, keeps morale and productivity at a far higher level and is more effective at retaining the loyalty of remaining employees.

Whilst the financial package on offer is important for those considering taking this route, the inclusion of bespoke outplacement support can be a real tipping factor and significantly improve the uptake of voluntary redundancy.

It removes much of the fear factor of knowing that they will have an expert coach working shoulder-to-shoulder with them to move to the next stage of their life whether it be a similar role in another organisation, setting up their own business or even creating a fulfilling retirement.

4. Reducing stress throughout the organisation

Redundancies naturally coincide with increased tension and pressure on an organisation. HR leaders and managers alike can find themselves with the task of explaining redundancy to colleagues who may also be friends. This is stressful for both parties.

Too often the option of outplacement services as part of the settlement is not broached until after redundancy consultation has occurred. By understanding that the organisation will be properly supporting any leavers, it immediately reduces this friction.

By bringing in the concept at the appropriate time, it can also alleviate the burden of individual questions and the level of internal support required through the process. This enable managers and HR leaders to focus on more strategic actions and leaves them better able to manage the team and drive successful transition.

5. Protecting the organisation's reputation

There's always a risk of reputational damage if an organisation doesn't manage its workforce transformations effectively.

Employer brand reputation is a more fundamental element than ever in attracting, hiring and retaining talent. LinkedIn recently found that cost-per-hire was two times lower in a high brand reputation organisation as opposed to one with a mediocre or poor ration.

Not only this but employee turnover levels amongst organisations with a strong employer brand, were actually 28% lower than among companies with weak employer brands.

In the era of online reviews through platforms such as Glassdoor, it is vital that responsible organisations remain true to their company values particularly when people are exiting the organisation. Employer brands are hard to build and an be very quick to lose.

Outplacement professionals working one-to-one are highly valued by the individuals they are working with and so significantly reduce the likelihood of negative organisational feedback being left in the public domain.

 6. Reinforcing the value an organisation places on their employees

Restructures and organisational change are an inevitable part of operating in a fast evolving economic, political and social environment.

None the less, from a human perspective it is often a difficult process for the decision makers as well as those tasked the implementation of redundancies. Outplacement has in the past been referred to as ‘the industry that guilt built’. Afterall, it can seem counterintuitive to be investing in your leavers.

Whilst it does enable managers and leaders to provide colleagues and friends with ‘something that softens the blow’, it is much more than this. It has a proven business case.

Employees are putting ever-increasing importance on the culture, values and ethics of the organisation that they work for. As a time of redundancy, is a critical time to show that an organisation ‘walks the walk’ and really does live the values it espouses. Positive employee retention, engagement, attraction and employer brand reputation are all critical to the ongoing success of an organisation.

How Connor can help

At Connor we have over 20 years’ experience in helping organisations take positive steps through our outplacement services. If you want to talk to us about how you can successfully manage your outplacement needs then we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.

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