How Outplacement Services are beneficial

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

In any business, there are times when difficult decisions need to be made.  These decisions can make the difference between success and failure and can affect the entire organisation.

An example of this involves the re-structuring of a company.  This process often involves changes in role descriptions and the elimination of positions, resulting in redundancy.  Often employees who have spent a significant portion of their career with the company are affected by the changes.  Both the legal and moral requirements of this process are difficult to manage; hence companies often turn to Outplacement Consulting firms to support the transition.

Outplacement Services are beneficial to both employers and employees as they act as an impartial sounding board. Employers must consider several factors when facing a redundancy situation. Key factors include: Legal requirements, Ethical Business Practices & Company Reputation.

The Legal Requirements involved in redundancies are very complex.  Organisations must comply with a raft of legislation.  
They must:

Ensure the position is being made redundant, not the person.  Organisations cannot refill the position once the employee has been made redundant.  If there is a performance issue with an employee this needs to be addressed by effective Performance Management processes.
Make certain that the employee cannot be transitioned into another position that could utilise their skills.  
Exhaust all options including the retraining the employee.
Ensure payments are correctly calculated, taking into account period of employment, applying the correct award, holiday and sick pay accrual, notification period of redundancy and all other legal entitlements to the employee as per their original contract and the relevant states legislation.

Ethical Business Practice must be implemented when making an employee redundant.  If a decision comes from Head Office to re-structure, Senior Management & HR still need to account for the emotional effects upon the affected individuals. These emotions are compounded when dealing with long-term employees or those that may be experiencing personal situations outside of the workplace. 
Providing Outplacement support is an ethical business practice that significantly reduces the stresses involved for the redundant employees by:

Offering professional support immediately after redundancy announcements.
Providing encouragement and focus to enable individuals to move forwards.
Providing individuals with an opportunity to vent and express emotions via an impartial 3rd party.
Offering access to independent financial advice and psychological support.
Providing on-going coaching that covers all aspects of their next career transition.

Companies also need to consider the effects on redundancy upon the employees that remain within the organisation.  By offering Outplacement Support, this has proven to reduce the stress and fears that the remaining workforce may have regarding the stability of their own positions. 

Company Reputation can suffer significantly in the wake of a restructure in a redundancy situation.  This reputational damage can be irreparable when redundancy is mishandled, and can, in some cases, even impact upon the company’s future branding.
Outplacement Support helps to:

Minimising the negative impact redundant employees could have towards their ex-employer.
Reduces word-of-mouth damage incurred from redundant employees and their wider circle of family and friends.
Reduces the perception that the company doesn't “care” about their employees or treats their employees simply as “numbers not people”.
Increases the possibility of attracting talented employees should the company expand again in the future.

To conclude, Outplacement Services are geared towards helping all parties involved in a redundancy situation.  Outplacement Programs can:

Ensure regulatory compliance to guarantee accuracy regarding calculation of termination payments.
Support, facilitate and provide advisory services to line management prior to the redundancy announcements.
Provide emotional, psychological and professional career support to outplaced employees immediately after redundancy announcements.
Support the establishment of clear goals and provide the necessary tools for out placed individuals to secure alternative employment including reverse networking with potential future employers and aligned recruitment agencies.

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