Many businesses go through a restructuring process at some point or another. But in unprecedented situations like the current COVID-19 crisis, more companies than ever are needing to reduce costs, restructure their workforces, and make the difficult decision to stand down employees.
Restructures and redundancies can be stressful for everyone involved. The employee or team being made redundant, the management team making the tough calls, the colleagues of those who have been laid off – it’s a tricky situation for everybody. Luckily, there are things you can do to make the process less painful, such as utilising outplacement services.
Outplacement refers to programs and services designed to support an employee’s transition from your company to their next role. These services are usually rendered by an external agency engaged by the employer. The agency works with both parties to ensure that the former employee has the best chance possible at securing a new position with minimal time out of work – and thus that the transition period is as smooth as possible for everyone.
So exactly how does outplacement ease the impact of downsizing for both employees and their former employers? Let’s take a look at five of the most important ways outplacement can help you and your team make it through the restructuring process.
1. Turning negative into positive
There’s no getting around it: it’s tough to be let go from a job. Even if it’s through absolutely no fault of the employee’s own (global pandemic, anyone?!), it’s still a disheartening experience – and a scary one, too, if they’re unsure how to find their next role.
However, outplacement can provide an opportunity to transform the negatives of involuntary employee departure into a positive career transition experience. With the right outplacement program, your former employee can build up the confidence they need to embrace change and move on to the next stage of their career.
2. Protecting your company as well as its workers
Unfortunately, downsizing or restructuring – even when unavoidable – can potentially lead to a number of tricky situations. Wrongful dismissal lawsuits and damage to the company’s brand or public perception are very real risks.
If an employee believes they’ve been unfairly treated or dismissed without good reason, they may decide to take legal action. They may also spread the word about their negative experience, potentially harming your business’ brand image and reputation. Outplacement can help to reduce the risk of outcomes like this. By ensuring employees are protected if the need to downsize arises, you’ll also be protecting your company and its reputation.
3. Doing your bit for the economy
The fewer people who are needlessly unemployed, the better – particularly at times of economic crisis, like the one we’re experiencing right now. Every laid-off employee who’s able to re-enter the workforce helps society and the economy keep functioning. But in uncertain times, it can be difficult for people to know where and how to find their next job, and to feel motivated or equipped to do so.
That’s where outplacement can be a godsend. It’s a way for you as an employer to actively offset the negative impact of letting workers go, allowing you to simultaneously do your bit for your former staff members and for the economy at large.
4. Looking to the future
It can be easy to get caught up in the here and now when you’re in the midst of workplace restructure. But it’s important to keep the future of your business in mind – and outplacement can help with that, too. Outplacement services provide a welcome security net, showing that you’ve got a solid track record of support through difficult periods and reassuring both current and future employees that they’ll never be left behind in the dust.
Having outplacement services in place also makes it more likely that staff who have moved on will have a good word to say about your organisation, which helps to protect future talent acquisition opportunities. Many prospective job candidates look to the experiences of a company’s former employees when deciding if they want to work there, so if they can see that you’ve demonstrated an ongoing sense of care and responsibility towards your workers, it will make your company a much more attractive option.
5. Providing assurance in times of uncertainty
In difficult times, it’s important for business owners and managers to lead their companies with compassion and clarity. Having structures and processes in place for every outcome is always a solid business strategy.
Outplacement in particular provides a strong process to guide you and your workers through times of uncertainty. It enables you to move forward through difficult periods without compromising the integrity of your business or your sense of care and responsibility towards your employees.
If your business is currently preparing to downsize or restructure, GWG has put together an outplacement service to help make the process as seamless and pain-free as possible. Contact us here or give us a call on 02 4905 0130 to find out how we can help.