Articles & Insights

Do we REALLY need to offer Outplacement support?

Added - 07/09/2021

With furlough end looming, September will be a month for making critical decisions in many organisations.

Latest official figures for the furlough scheme (updated 2 August 2021) show that, on 30 June 2021, there were 540,000 employers with 1.9 million staff on furlough. It’s estimated that around 900,000 people will still be furloughed when the government funded support scheme ends later this month.

Difficult decisions about redundancies cannot be delayed any further, although against backdrop of continued financial challenge and uncertainty and with reports of rising vacancies, employers may feel that their departing colleagues will quickly find work in the current marketplace and will offer only the statutory minimum redundancy payment and choose not fund additional support to help people get back to work quickly.

Of course we accept that you might expect an Outplacement provider like us to say that this is the wrong decision. Bear with us though, after almost 30 years supporting businesses and people impacted by organisational change, we have learned a few universal truths about the real benefits of an investment in Outplacement, no matter how difficult times are for employers.

It benefits the organisation as much as the individual.

If you are making redundancies it’s a challenging time. No one likes to deliver or hear this news. No matter how justified or well executed the decision, it still has a dramatic and lasting emotional impact on all concerned. Offering Outplacement is a lifeline. It provides your leavers with something tangible to hold onto as they navigate a way forward. A buoyant job market does not guarantee that they will be a match for vacancies and everyone’s confidence takes a knock when they have to unexpectedly compete in a crowded job market. Importantly too, it gives those delivering the bad news, who may be feeling huge emotional pressure themselves, something positive to share by providing hope of a new future.

When an organisation demonstrates that, even when times are tough, it still values the past service of those impacted by redundancy its sends a powerful message to everyone who remains about how they too are valued. Its gutting to watch a colleague you care about appear to be just cast aside, it shakes your belief in your employer and makes you question your commitment to the organisation. In the current climate, when people are evaluating what they want from work and life more than ever, offering Outplacement support to leavers can be the difference between a talented employee – whom you want to retain - keeping or losing faith in their employer. Employers offering our Outplacement services repeatedly tell us that they underestimated the positive impact this decision would have on those who remained.

It enhances EVP

It may seem strange to say that you can enhance your employer value proposition when you are making redundancies but our evidence shows that this is true. Of course its not making redundancies that does this, but how well they are managed. A process which is well communicated and seen to be supportive, fair and transparent is essential, but when you add Outplacement support into your plan you amplify the benefits of a great process. We survey tens of thousands of people who have received our Outplacement support each year and over 91% say that they even though they were unhappy, or initially felt negative about their employer as a result of their redundancy, they would still recommend their former employer to others, directly as result of the Outplacement they received. Competition for candidates is set to be fierce in the near future. When ex-employees – even those impacted by redundancy - say positive things about you, that can resonate loudly in the marketplace.

It creates space that allows the organisation to focus on moving forward

Organisational restructuring is often complex, stressful and emotionally draining. The workload increases and the pace can be relentless, with constant pressure on deadlines and performance. Absences may rise and mistakes can multiply, all increasing risk and impacting the chance of a successful outcome. Support from an expert partner, seasoned in the many aspects of organisational change, who can manage the whole redundancy process, mitigating risk, enabling your teams to focus on other priorities and making the experience for your leavers as positive as possible is a win-win all round.

Its always the right thing to do

Doing the right thing always pays dividends and the impact can be far reaching. Employees have increased expectations of being treated well and employers recognise the benefits of supporting people’s wellbeing both mental and physical. Customers increasingly consider ethical, moral and environmental issues more frequently when choosing suppliers. Talented candidates consider EVP carefully before joining. Long serving employees give more discretionary effort, loyalty and engagement when they see evidence that that the organisation will always do right by them, no matter how challenging the situation.

Providing personalised practical help at a difficult time not only demonstrates a commitment to supporting the individual, but it sends a clear message to all your stakeholders about your values in action.

A decision not to provide Outplacement support is usually made for cost saving reasons but if you are planning redundancies think again about the hidden costs of not offering any support. For a relatively low cost – from as little as £50 per head- you can minimise the risks of talent loss, reduced engagement and change failure, enabling you to move forward quickly and positively. In continued uncertain times that’s a worthwhile investment.

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