What every company should know about outplacement support

Redundancy is never easy to swallow regardless of which side of the desk you are on. Managing it well can make a huge difference to both your business’ reputation and your former employee’s life. That is where outplacement support comes in.  

What is outplacement support?

The image of beleaguered veterans returning from war, and the services offered by a business consulting and change management firm probably don’t seem to have much in common. But when it comes to outplacement support the two are intrinsically linked.  

Bernard Haldane was a former British doctor and editor of the New York Journal of Commerce in the 1940s when World War II ended. He noticed returning servicemen were keen to work, but businesses struggled to recognise their skills. He began counselling veterans to identify their achievements, their transferable skills and help them market themselves.  

When, in the changing work climate of the 1960s, people who had expected a job for life began to be laid off, many businesses adopted the Haldane approach to help their staff find another role. The phrase ‘outplacement support’ was coined.  

Today outplacement support can be anything from a good referral to psychological counselling and upskilling workshops. 

What are the business benefits? 

Offering outplacement services is socially responsible, but it isn’t all about just doing the right thing. It can help with positive brand image as word of mouth goes a long way. In 2020, US organisation Career Minds surveyed 130 employees aged 25 to 65. Of all the workers surveyed, 60 percent didn’t know what outplacement services were – but 56 percent said that receiving outplacement support would have made them less upset.  

Outplacement services can also help attract future candidates. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that in 2021, 54 percent of those interviewed said the pandemic had increased their job loss fears. Offering an outplacement service is a type of job security, and could help attract peak-career executive talent moving back to New Zealand because of the pandemic. It also means younger staff laid off early in their career could be attracted back to the business later by a positive exit experience. It can also help with current staff retention.  

According to one 2015 metastudy, there is evidence of a consistent downturn in financial performance since the 1970s after lay-offs have been announced. Outplacement services also helps improve consumer and investor confidence, buffering this negative impact. 

Doing outplacement well 

In short, redundancies can be toxic, affecting the morale of the current workforce and your ongoing business image. Outplacement support can improve your brand image – but only if it’s done well.  

In the same survey by Career Minds, 75 percent of employees said outplacement done badly would make them more upset than they were already by being laid off. It is important that the services offered are genuine and tailored.  

Outsourcing outplacement to an experienced organisation leaves companies free to concentrate on managing their own restructure at a critical time, while also knowing their staff and their brand image will be well looked after. 

If you need help with outplacement, contact the experts at CDL Insight Consulting.