Outplacement Services in Canada
June 01, 2020 by Shannon Perry
If there is one promise in the business world, it’s that larger companies will probably have to deal with a layoff at some point. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of Canadian companies to downsize in order to keep the doors open, but not all reductions in force (RIF) events are because of the pandemic. Merging with another company, reconstructing, and removing employees that are no longer a good fit are all reasons that a company will want to take advantage of outplacement services in Canada.
Regardless of why a layoff happens, they are a normal occurrence in the business world, though not always for a positive reason and they are never a good experience—especially for the people involved. In addition to layoffs, some other options include optional retirement packages but in this article, we’re going to take a look at what an outplacement provider is and why your next RIF event should use one. (we’re biased here, but we think it should be Careerminds!)
First Off, What Are Outplacement Services in Canada?
Outplacement is a service provided by a company, like Careerminds, to other companies who want to ease the impact of a layoff for their outbound employees. Many outplacement providers are catching onto the benefits of a virtual platform, but we kicked off the trend with top-notch services designed to work outside the limitations of a brick and mortar location. For outplacement services in Canada, just like the US, there are many factors to consider.
Because we’ve been doing it for over a decade—since our inception in 2007, to be exact—we provide the best techniques to help participants in our entirely remote program reach their goals, regardless of where they are or when they work. Here are just a few of the things we do:
- Virtual Coaching: Our dedicated, one-on-one coaching helps participants develop a plan for moving forward so that the participant can feel confident about their success. They also help with navigating job boards, optimizing social media, and other useful guidance and advice like interview prep as well.
- Professional Resumes: Like any good outplacement company, Careerminds provides professional resume writers for participants, ensuring that a resume and cover letter is their digital best foot forward when applying to jobs. We also provide customizations to those documents for each job so that they fit the role perfectly.
- eLearning Tools: While other outplacement providers have been catching up, we’ve been virtual since the beginning so our virtual tools are top-notch and constantly evolving to serve participants. One of those tools is a networking platform that allows participants to make professional connections here, but on sites like LinkedIn as well. It really is all about who you know, after all.
- Until Placement Support: We work with participants until they land their new role. This means that our participants are never left without support because their term expired, which is a common practice for other outplacement firms.
Outplacement Services in Canada: Legal Issues
Most Canadian businesses are more than likely aware that employers are legally required to pay severance to outbound employees.
On the federal level, severance is a minimum of five days with two days for every full year of employment. And, every province has a similar requirement with some providing a full week of pay after as little as 30 days. Ontario, for example, pays one-week severance after 90 days, two weeks after a year, three weeks after three years, and it goes all the way up to eight weeks of severance pay. Employers should be prepared for this while planning a layoff event. (Look up your province at workplace.ca!)
Please note that we are not lawyers! When you are planning any reduction event, make sure you work closely with your legal counsel to ensure you are following all applicable laws before the event takes place!
While Canadian law doesn’t require outplacement services, many companies choose to take advantage of outplacement for a variety of reasons. Keep reading to learn what they are!
Outplacement Services in Canada: Why Is It Important?
Providing outplacement is the ethical thing to do.
Losing your job can be very frightening for many people. Even with a small severance payment and EI benefits, there’s a lot of uncertainty when reentering the job market. As Canadians, we have a reputation for being compassionate and that reputation often extends to how layoffs are conducted by Canadian companies. Providing outplacement can help ease the stress and unease of losing a job, which is likely invaluable for outbound employees.
After speaking with the outbound employee about the layoff and ‘delivering the bad news,’ it’s a good idea to check in on them. Layoffs can have a serious impact on mental health and expressing concern can help alleviate some of the stress, which ultimately looks better for the company.
Outplacement helps your current employees.
Layoff survivor exodus, also called layoff survivor sickness, occurs when companies fall short at conducting a well-planned, thoughtful layoff event. This can have a negative impact on remaining staff in a few ways. First, employees may ask “Why not me?” This uncertainty can lead to guilt for remaining with the company, which can affect productivity and company culture.
The second way it impacts employees is by making them want to leave. Employees often prefer to walk out on their own rather than being pushed out without a plan. And, if a company has done it once, who’s to say it won’t happen again? Providing outplacement services offers remaining employees the security of knowing that if they are laid off, they aren’t out in the cold.
Just like with outbound employees, be sure to check up on those that remain. Managers should see how employees are coping, and be transparent about why the layoff occurred. Taking steps to ease concerns and ensure that employees are positive helps with company culture, retention, and productivity.
Outplacement protects the employer brand.
Employer brand is essential to the livelihood of a company. The opinion of the public—both a company’s consumer and potential future employees—dictates if a company is successful or not. It doesn’t matter how well a company is structured or what they produce, losing public opinion will ultimately be the undoing of any company.
Competition is tough for most industries around the world; so, to acquire and retain customers is a challenge. It’s made even more challenging when a terminated employee, hurt and angry by what happened and scared about the future, speaks out passionately against the company. Bad news tends to spread quickly and pretty soon, your company brand is synonymous with a company that doesn’t care about its people. Profits take a hit because no one wants to support a company that would do that.
Another side of company branding is potential employees. Layoffs aren’t typically an ongoing thing and eventually, it will be time to hire new employees. While a company can entice new talent with attractive benefits packages, a nice office (or work from home options), and an attractive salary, it’s hard to overcome the press from a bad RIF event. No matter how attractive the job offer is, the applicant’s priorities may be geared more towards company culture rather than personal profit.
The fact is, you won’t get that amazing new hire if they feel like working for you, and leaving your company, isn’t worth the stress.
Avoiding legal action is easier with outplacement.
Any layoff plan and severance package should be thoroughly reviewed by a legal team in order to avoid a lawsuit, but even if ultimately a lawsuit has no grounds, it’s still a time consuming and potentially costly ordeal. Outplacement doesn’t directly prohibit a lawsuit, but it does help an outbound employee feel better about leaving the company and thus less likely to sue.
It’s best to not only encourage outbound employees to review the severance agreement but also have their own lawyer look over the agreement. This is for both your protection as well as theirs because any changes they would want to negotiate can be done then rather than through mediation or in front of an attorney.
Outplacement Services in Canada: A Wrap-Up
Outplacement isn’t strictly required, but it is an investment towards the future. Services like the ones provided by Careerminds help everyone—employer and employee alike—come out on top when a layoff happens, whatever the reason. Outplacement services in Canada are invaluable when it comes to preserving a company’s brand, helping the remaining workforce stay productive, and the services that are included with outplacement– like career coaching and until placement– make it an ethical thing to do for exiting employees. All in all, purchasing outplacement is an investment in the future of your company.
Schedule a consultation today to see what we can do to make your next layoff event a success!
In need of outplacement assistance?
At Careerminds, we care about people first. That’s why we offer personalized talent management solutions for every level at lower costs, globally.