Few experiences in life are more stressful than losing a job. In fact, “dismissal from work” consistently ranks among the top 10 most stressful life events, along with death of a loved one or imprisonment. For many people, it’s not simply the loss of income that is stressful. Work is often a source of self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment, and losing the sense of purpose and daily routine can leave people feeling depressed, anxious, and unsure about the future.
Letting go of employees can also be stressful on employers. Whether the separations are due to economically driven layoffs or a single performance-driven termination, ending someone’s employment is fraught with pitfalls for a business. Lawsuits and negative public perception are just some of the potential outcomes of a firing that can potentially cost an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars. To help prevent these negative outcomes and provide employees with assistance should they be let go, a growing number of companies are turning to outplacement services.
Outplacement Services: More Than Just Resumes
So, what are outplacement services? Outplacement services, at the risk of oversimplification, help employees who have lost their jobs transition into new careers. But an outplacement service isn’t an employment agency. Paid for by employers, these services typically offer everything from resume writing assistance to networking opportunities. Clients may have access to personality and career assessments, opportunities for training, career coaching, interview preparation help, and help with other benefits, all with an eye toward transitioning them into a new position.
Although it might seem counterintuitive for companies to use a service that helps their employees find new jobs, outplacement services are becoming a more common benefit. According to one survey, more than 80 percent of companies offer some type of outplacement services to employees who are terminated. And employees themselves are demanding such services. In a 2015 survey by Workplace Trends, 71 percent of respondents said that they would choose to work for a company that offered outplacement services over a company that didn’t offer the services, all other things being equal.
Even with the understanding that outplacement services aren’t a guarantee of a new job right away, most employees understand the value of such services and how they can reduce some of the stress and uncertainty that comes with a layoff.
That being said, outplacement services are proven to work. Research indicates that in most cases, employees who use outplacement services find new work faster than those who don’t. On average, about half of those who are offered outplacement services find new employment in less than six months, with most getting back to work in less than 90 days.
How Outplacement Benefits Your Company
Employees are the only ones who benefit from outplacement services, however. Investing in these services as an employee benefit actually creates significant value for your company as well. Among the chief benefits include:
- Reduced chance of litigation. Implementing an outplacement program for laid-off employees demonstrates that you are committed to a fair separation process. Employees who have help finding new jobs are less likely to take legal action against you.
- Improved morale. When employees know that there is help available should they be laid off, they will feel better about working for you. And should layoffs take place, the remaining employees will be more loyal and productive, knowing that you didn’t leave their colleagues high and dry. Offering outplacement services shows that you care.
- Improved corporate image. Layoffs can be brutal on a company’s image, from both a consumer and an employee standpoint. Demonstrating that you care about your employees by putting resources in place to help them land on their feet can help ease some of the stings that come with letting people go.
- Improved recruiting. Again, employees want these benefits from their employers, and offering them can attract top talent to your organization.
- Reduce the time HR spends on separations. Letting go of employers requires a great deal of time and effort on behalf of your HR team. By shifting some of the burden to an outplacement services agency, you can free up your HR staff to work on other priorities.
- Reduce managerial stress. When managers are charged with letting go of employees, it’s highly stressful for them as well as those being terminated. By providing a structured and personalized approach to assisting those individuals, you can take some of the burden off your leaders and reduce their stress levels, helping to ensure a healthy and productive work environment.
In short, providing outplacement services for your employees is quickly becoming an expectation, with a growing sense that it is simply the right thing to do. Not only can you help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with a job loss, but you can maintain better relationships with employees and a more positive reputation within your industry and customer community.
Contact Employment BOOST today if you want to learn more about outplacement services and if your corporation wants to assist former employees transition into new jobs.