While the furlough scheme has managed to protect over 11million jobs since the pandemic began, with 4.7 million workers on the scheme during January 2021 (1), it hasn’t been able to protect every job and many organisations have had to make the difficult decision to make redundancies. While there might be a reluctance to invest in employees at the current time, the help and support offered by outplacement is more vital than ever in a time of turmoil.
Why offer outplacement in a time of crisis
1. Give your departing staff the best chance of finding a new role
There are currently almost double the number of active job seekers than there were this time last year, this combined with a 25% reduction in the number of vacancies (1), makes the current climate an extremely challenging one to find a new role.
Being made redundant is often compared to a type of bereavement, and those going through the process can feel despair, anger, sadness, loss of identity, overwhelmed and confused as to what the next step should or could be. This is where outplacement support is vital. Coaches focus attention on what needs to happen, give guidance and support on how and where to look for work, help with the tools, skills and knowledge needed to achieve a successful job search.
2. Remember those that are staying
It is easy to focus on those being let go during the redundancy process, but how you treat those staff facing redundancy also has a big impact on those remaining. Lots of organisations will talk about people being their most important asset, have values about treating people fairly and with respect. Offering outplacement is a very visible sign that a company is living up to its values, even during difficult times. For those remaining seeing their colleagues being treated fairly and given the help they need, reinstates the respect, and trust they had in the organisation as an employer.
3. Protecting the brand and reputation
This is perhaps an extreme example, but US Electric scooter-maker Bird made approximately 400 people (about 30% of its staff) redundant via group call on Zoom. Some staff members were unable to login and found out via some very disgruntled tweets. (2)
This poor decision on how to treat their soon-to-be ex-staff members will have had a much bigger impact than they expected. It will have damaged their reputation not only as a brand in general but as an employer and they may struggle to recruit people in the future. Treating departing staff with respect and compassion will help to limit any ill feelings, negative outbursts or in extreme cases unfair dismissal claims.
Redundancies are challenging for all involved, when they happen during a once in a 100-year global pandemic, it just heightens the challenge. Offering outplacement to departing staff goes beyond just doing the right thing, it gives them the help, support, skills, knowledge, and tools needed to take the next step in their career whatever that may be.