Working Transitions

Redundancy – The Unexpected Benefits of Providing Outplacement Support

The last few weeks have been tough for British business with a raft of announcements that will likely result in the loss of staff.  Ford, Honda, Marks & Spencer, TSB and – this week’s announcement – the collapse of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain with an estimated 1,000 redundancies.

In today’s business environment, change is inevitable. And change can result in some tough choices. Redundancy is a word that people often fear – it can be a challenging and emotive time – for the organisation, the team who remain and, most importantly, for affected individuals.

Commonly, organisations are forced to make redundancies to cut costs. Investing in Outplacement support can, therefore, feel at odds with the organisational objective. However, the right support delivers benefits that far surpass the financial outlay – the business case is clear and includes:

An enhanced “psychological contract” across the organisation

The psychological contract refers to the unwritten set of expectations of the employment relationship in addition to the formal contract of employment. Together, the psychological contract and the employment contract define the employer-employee relationship.

Companies that provide Outplacement support as part of their redundancy programme often find that it can lower the ‘emotional temperature’ across their organisation. By fully supporting exiting employees, you can demonstrate both to them, and to those who remain, that despite the current challenging circumstances, you value them as employees and are committed to their wellbeing.

For those remaining, it can be reassuring to know that if they find themselves in a similar situation, they are likely to receive the same support and consideration.

Maintain productivity and retention

Periods of change can sometimes result in reduced productivity - remaining employees are affected by uncertainty and become distracted, worrying about their future and that of the organisation. A well-timed support programme can provide a reassuring and focused place for addressing worries, so time at work can remain positive and productive.

Change naturally makes people feel anxious and unsettled – leading them to explore the external marketplace. Providing good career transition support, especially if there are some redeployment opportunities, helps you to retain skilled employees that are critical to future business success.

Outplacement can protect your reputation

A recent survey conducted by Working Transitions found that 52% of employees felt that their organisation handled the initial stage of their workplace transition, 'Poorly' or ‘Extremely Poorly' with 48% regarding the employer's communication during this period as 'Poor' or 'Very Poor'.

The human impact of Workplace Transition – particularly where there is no support provided - is often underestimated by employers but with the growth of social media and online review sites such as Glassdoor it should not be taken lightly - employer reputation is at stake!

When you have a strong employer brand, you attract great people, innovative ideas, and, ultimately, more business for your organisation. It may seem, but helping people to leave the organisation well can reinforce a good employer brand.

Following the new Employment Law that was introduced April of this year, there will be new limits on employment statutory redundancy pay. Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly salary, length of service and age. It is not just merely protecting the organisation’s reputation, and it is also ensuring that you are covering all bases to protect all those involved during this transition.

Reinforcing engagement at a difficult time

Individuals all react differently to change – some employees may be relatively unfazed, but for others, particularly long-serving employees, redundancy can initially appear catastrophic.

Typically, individuals faced with change undergo a rollercoaster of emotions - from anxiety to denial and fear. Providing Outplacement support can help individuals navigate this range of emotions and face the future with renewed focus and positivity

Properly supporting employees as they move through outplacement demonstrates that, despite everything, their service is valued and that supporting them into their next role – or stage of life is important to you as an organisation. This tangible evidence that their employer cares and values all employees sends a powerful message to those who remain.

Unexpected ROI in hiring costs

It might seem odd to state that investment in Outplacement can positively impact hiring costs, but there is a real link. Often, when there are job losses, it’s not uncommon for hiring to be going on at the same time, perhaps for new skills or teams. Restructuring is rarely just about redundancies, there can be a series of complex workforce planning and resourcing activities underway. Negative perceptions in both the internal and external candidate marketplace about how exiting employees were treated can be very damaging to perhaps expensive and critical recruitment campaigns and candidate attraction strategies. It’s also not unknown for organisations to seek to rehire those previously affected by redundancy. In all of these situations, the relatively small cost of providing Outplacement support can pay significant long-term dividends that far outweigh the initial outlay.

Tangible measures that matter

The business case can often be more clearly established at the end of an Outplacement project, which can be very helpful when similar situations arise in future. A good provider will work with you to capture not just data about progress and outcomes but also anecdotal comments and feedback from leavers which can be extremely reassuring and helpful in engaging and securing remaining employees during ongoing change.

Flexible and tailored support ensures cost effectiveness

Outplacement is not a one size fits all purchase, to obtain maximum ROI, it’s essential to ensure that you provide truly flexible options that meet your organisational and employee needs. We understand that everyone responds differently to change and that their needs and circumstances will vary. Our approach is flexible, tailoring our programmes to meet the objectives of all stakeholders. Our bespoke framework can support the organisation to move forward and the individual to let go of the past, deal with the present and embrace the future.

A well-structured outplacement programme can quickly deliver benefits to a large number of employees – regardless of geographical location - at a relatively low cost and is always worth the investment.

 

To find out how Working Transitions can support your organisation, get in touch.

 

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Author
Working Transitions
Date
24 May 2019
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