Five key questions to ask before implementing an outplacement programme
Author: Sarah Hernon
Whilst restructuring and redundancies are a reality for many organisations during uncertain times, providing a comprehensive outplacement support programme to exiting employees isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes business sense. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you get started.
- Why are you investing in outplacement?
Whilst outplacement is undoubtedly the right thing to do for your people, ensuring they’re provided with the tools and information they need to make a smooth transition, it’s also key for maintaining employer brand. With employer review sites such as Glassdoor, employees are critics and customers too. Offering outplacement services means that those in transition get professional help in identifying and preparing for their next career move so they land on their feet faster, and current employees are more likely to view the changes positively and stay engaged and committed to their work. Businesses must also consider the concept of boomerang workers, with the very real possibility that former employees represent a rich talent pool for the future.
- What do your employees really want?
It’s no longer enough to provide exiting employees with a financial package and send them on their way. The world of work has undergone a significant shift and the focus for many outplacement discussions will be on upskilling or reskilling: helping individuals to identify potential opportunities outside of their sector or expertise. Also consider how you can support the mental and emotional wellbeing of your employees with resilience and change management training.
- Are you communicating fairly and transparently?
Communication is key for any change project, especially where this involves restructuring. Providing clarity from the outset is important to help individuals understand how they will be affected, as well as avoiding mixed messages travelling across the company. Answering difficult questions will help employees feel more understanding of the process. It’s also essential to communicate benefits of outplacement support to individuals and managers.
- What about the remainers?
Organisations often focus on those exiting the business yet make little investment in those that have retained roles, despite the difficulties and increased expectations that may be placed on these individuals. Developing an engagement strategy that covers all groups, especially those tasked with moving the organisation forwards, is key. It’s critical that individuals understand the role they play and the value they bring in helping shape the new world.
- Finally, consider what you’re looking for from an outplacement provider.
An outplacement program designed to fit all needs is likely to suit none. Instead, focus on how an outplacement provider can tailor support to suit individual challenges. Consider whether the support includes a focus on transferable skills, the technology provided and ease of access, if participants can choose from a series of topics to suit their career goals, or if it’s scalable. Choosing a provider that meets employees where they are is critical to take the next steps.
There is no doubt that the employment market has changed overnight, and with that takes careful shepherding of employees to help them navigate the stages of their journey. Now more than ever employers who need to pursue outplacement services need help making critical decisions about the future, and it starts with asking the right questions.