When employers have no other choice but to layoff workers, outplacement assistance can ease the pain.
Even the best-executed downsizing creates tremendous anxiety and loss of productivity. The work force is disrupted and the company is turned upside down. Affected employees become angry and feel a sense of betrayal. They and their families are now faced with the loss of a job, as well as severe financial and emotional pain. There is often a desire to lash out, to make the employer and the boss “pay” for this action. At this point, employers are tremendously vulnerable to lawsuits and even threats of violence.
When downsizing becomes the only option for employers, it is important to put a plan in place to deal with this emotionally charged atmosphere. Organizations must look at this strategically: how are we going to address this with the employees who are going to stay with the organization–the “survivors”– and how are we going to deal with the laid off employees?
Outplacement services may be part of the solution. So what is outplacement? It’s a process of easing selected employees out of the organization by providing company-paid assistance in finding a new job. Beyond helping the laid off employee, outplacement consultants can provide the employer valuable assistance in the reduction-in-force planning process.
They can assist the company with the planning process and coach the managers on how to handle each situation and help them to deal with the survivors–thus helping to maintain the morale and productivity of the remaining employees.
Outplacement assistance provides employee support during the transition period, job readiness training, job search skills and resume preparation, interviewing skills, and on-going counseling and support.
Through outplacement, displaced workers are able to refocus the shock and anger of the job loss to a job search process. In addition, rather than being faced with the loneliness that often accompanies the loss of a job, through the outplacement program they and their families are able to have a forum to speak about what they are now experiencing. The on-going support, job skill development, networking and negotiating skills prove invaluable to employees who may have not looked for a job for years.
Outplacement can be the key to easing the trauma of an organization’s downsizing. Not providing such services often results in costly lawsuits, increased unemployment costs, damaged morale and lost productivity. For affected employees, it can mean shattered lives, loneliness and desolation. No organization or individual needs to experience that.
Excerpted from Dacri book Uncomplicating Management.