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Outplacement and One-Off Events

December 11, 2018 by Josh Hrala

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The importance of outplacement when dealing with large RIFs or layoff events is well-known. The more people let go, the bigger the potential backlash from the public, retained staff members, and future hires.

However, having an outplacement provider in place for all events is actually just as important.

Every time a person makes an exit from an organization, proper processes need to be in place to ensure that their transition happens smoothly. This is especially true with those exits that are involuntary.

Let’s take a look at why you should seriously consider working with an outplacement firm even if you are laying off a small group or even a single person.

Outplacement Is Always Impactful

In order to fully understand how beneficial outplacement is, all you need to do is switch from focusing on the number of individuals going through an event to the actual individuals going through the event.

Layoffs, though many businesses do not view them this way, are taken personally by those impacted.

While a major event that lays off hundreds has the potential to be more stressful on a PR level, especially if the media gets involved, all layoffs have the potential to turn ex-employees, and their families, against organizations.

These sole individuals wield an immense power in today’s connected world. With sites like Glassdoor and others, turning a bad working experience into a shareable, easy-to-find post online has never been easier.

This ease-of-use makes every termination important, and organizations should act accordingly.

In the same vein, caring about the individual is extremely important, too, which should go without saying. Why should the sole individual not get help in their transition just because they aren’t part of a larger group of employees being let go?

That doesn’t add up.

Individuals Are Just As Important As Groups

As HR leaders, it goes without saying that we care about people. It’s our core concern.

So why, then, do so many organizations skip out on offboarding best practices when it pertains to individuals?

Everyone that has given their time and expertise to work at your organization deserves to be treated with the utmost care when it comes to their transition outside of the company. This is especially true when it comes to layoff, RIFs, or any other form of involuntary termination.

By providing outplacement, you immediately show that you care what happens to those that are impacted by your businesses’s decisions. This is felt by the public, your retained staff members, and, most importantly, the person who has just had their livelihood impacted.

Providing support to all employees, even if the event is small, allows you to always take the proper steps when it comes to offboarding. If you make these practices standard across the board, terminations will be easier and you will be able to perform them with a lower level of stress while also protecting your business.

Add Outplacement Services to Your Severance Package

Nearly all organizations use severance agreements to protect themselves from wrongful termination lawsuits. By having the exiting employee sign a contract to not take the organization to court, the employee is given a payment.

This severance payment, though it has its legal weight, is viewed by the recipient as a way to financially get through their transitional period and into a new job. However, the payment also only buys individuals a certain amount of time.

In order for them to get back to work before that payment runs out, they will need as much help as possibly with the job hunt. This is a prime place for outplacement providers to step in with their expertly-guided help.

If you do not provide outplacement, you are opening yourself up to possible employer brand damage. Sure, the severance agreement protects you from going to court, but it doesn’t protect you from the court of public opinion, which can carry a hefty price tag, too. Instead of legal fees, you could wind up missing out on new, talented hires who do not view your company in the most positive light, you could lose customers, and you could even have your retained staff turn against you.

None of this is good. But all of it could be avoided if you do everything you can to ensure that your employees are set up for success when they make their exit.

It’s strange, then, to consider the fact that severance agreements are so ubiquitous while outplacement isn’t. In today’s world, this needs to change. Outplacement should be a standard part of any well-rounded severance package.

Outplacement and One-Off Events: The Takeaways

Just because a layoff or RIF event is small in terms of numbers, those impacted by the move still deserve to be treated well when they make their exit. Not only is providing outplacement on an individual level the right thing to do on a personal level, it also can seriously save face, protecting your employer brand.

Nowadays, employer branding is vital. Sites like Glassdoor and others have made it extremely easy for ex-employees to give their honest opinion about working at an organization. These sites are often monitored by future job seekers, which could impact your talent acquisition in the future.

Not only that, a tarnished reputation can lead to customer loss and a decreased level of morale inside the workplace – all of which impact the bottom line just as much, or more, than a lawsuit would.

In the end, providing outplacement isn’t a hard thing to do and should be a part of a severance package when someone makes an exit from an organization. If done correctly, outplacement is a win-win, helping both the company and the individual during trying times.

Download the pricing information for our outplacement programs here.
Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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