Is Outplacement A Waste Of Money?
Why would a company pay to support a former employee in their future job search?
“Surely there were reasons that this individual has been asked to leave, wouldn’t the money be better spent on the development of existing employees? We have no moral duty to this person beyond their employment with us.”
These are just a few of the objections that perfectly well run companies voice when it comes to the question of outplacement support for their employees. They find it hard to understand that actually their relationship with an employee (in certain circumstances) could be seen to continue until that employee has found their next role.
Companies work hard to create a strong employer brand. The main advocates for this brand are their employees, but in the ‘chatty world’ of social media, their ex-employees are increasingly playing a role. Your reputation in the market will be affected by what they are saying.
If you strive to put a hand around the shoulder of your employees, then why should that end the moment they walk out of the door with their box of belongings in their hand? They will still feel like an ex employee for weeks or months after they leave, and certainly until they start a new role, but unless they feel some residual support from their ex-employer’s side, their views of their time with you may soon become bitter and twisted. You told them that you cared about them, but the moment that you didn’t need them anymore, the relationship was severed. Cosy and warm to ice cold as soon as they walked out the door. Do you really want them to feel this? If there are any grounds for legal action, it would be best for you if they didn’t.
In many cases, even a small amount of outplacement support can serve to alleviate the sense of abandonment when someone leaves their role. Even if it is a quick coaching session, they will be grateful for the assistance that the company did not have to give. There will inevitably be success stories where the outplacement was a direct contributor to people finding their new role, and the employer brand will be that much stronger as a result.
Also, current employees will feel more secure in their careers as they know that the company pledges to support them if they are asked to leave. Changes in the market, technologies and role specifications mean that naturally some people will be left behind. This doesn’t mean that their contribution thus far should be forgotten, and many would see quality outplacement as more valuable than an extra $1,000 on their severance package.
Offering outplacement is the ultimate sign of a company that truly cares. It is fine to have certain stipulations as not everyone is deserving of it, but for those who do, why wouldn’t you?
It makes the leaving process that little less painful for everyone.
Written by David Ford
Edited by Paul Drury