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Providing outplacement support to departing employees has become a powerful indicator of an organisation that believes in looking after its employees in the present as well as those from the past and future. In addition to being the decent thing to do, offering outplacement also helps to enhance employer brand and perceptions.
According to the US technology and services firm, Aberdeen Group’s 2016 report, Support Departing Employees and Your Brand with Outplacement, best-in-class companies are 2.5 times more likely to use outplacement services. It also revealed that companies with outplacement in place improve their voluntary employee turnover by one fifth (18 per cent) year-on-year.
The report stated that while companies use a variety of methods to keep their workforces content, “an often-overlooked strategy” for protecting the brand is properly communicating “the business case” for a layoff and helping those employees affected find new roles faster.
As well as positively impacting employer brand, use of outplacement also aligns with the far more transparent, collaborative and cooperative environment in which organisations are expected to operate. Effective communication at this time demonstrates that organisations aren’t being duplicitous or trying to hide anything about shedding employees but rather that it is a business imperative if an organisation is to survive and prosper.
Unpredictable times mean that employees are likely to be even more appreciative of these services. The breakneck speed and unpredictability of the world of business today means skills and capabilities can soon become outmoded. For an individual who has been at the same company for five-, let alone 10- or 20 years, it can be increasingly difficult for them to identify career direction and objectives.
Indeed, the corporate world may seem a radically different place since they were last on the job market. The rise of professional and social media networks, the importance of networking and of building a personal brand means that being cast out with no support can be extremely frightening even for the most experienced of executives. Employers have a duty of responsibility to help them navigate the changing world and job market.
The Aberdeen Group report showed that businesses using outplacement services also convey several positive messages to existing and potential future employees. Two-thirds (64 per cent) are more likely than others to “create, promote and monitor their employer brand” and are also the companies that incentivise and empower their employees to assist with such processes.
“Companies that use outplacement think just as much about the present as they do the future,” the report stated, adding that: “Outplacement is a dignified tactic to demonstrate to affected employees that they were cared for all along.”
Increasingly, what goes on internally at an organisation will impact on it externally. Shoddy treatment of employees, bad or suspect practices and an unappealing brand image will switch off existing customers and drive potential ones away.
Outplacement undoubtedly ticks a lot of best practice boxes. And while it has always been about doing the right thing, in an increasingly competitive talent market, it is also about doing what’s best for the organisation and its future.
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