Outplacement - What's the business case?


Sound commercial sense

Offering a professional and comprehensive outplacement service - the process of assisting a redundant employee in their search for a new job or career - makes sound commercial sense for a number of reasons. Firstly, such provision will improve the company’s standing in the eyes of the departing employee.  

But why should the company care about the opinions of someone who is no longer on the payroll?  You might as well ask why the company should care about one customer’s experience of poor service.  We live in a small world, and it is getting continually smaller.  People talk to each other, they post their observations on the internet, and one person’s negative experience ends up wreaking far-reaching damage on the company’s reputation with other customers and with potential employees.  In marketing parlance, both the customer brand and the employer brand risk being seriously tarnished. 

Attracting future talent

The severity of this particular downturn has also placed many companies in what might be termed a talent quandary.  It’s not simply a case of letting go the small proportion of underperformers and then moving on.  Management might now find itself in such a predicament that it has to consider making highly regarded workers redundant. 

But when the economy picks up, the same company might very well want the same people back, either as employees or contractors.  Treating them properly now, helping them on their way to the next opportunity, will make that return a possibility in what will, inevitably, become a more competitive talent market.

Sending the right message to those who stay

Another compelling business case for excellent outplacement provision centres on the engagement, and motivation, of the remaining workforce.  Companies might think they have more pressing issues to consider during a recession, but the inescapable reality is that miserable, anxious workers with an unfavourable view of their employer are unlikely to invest the huge collective effort required to weather the current storm and plant the seeds of recovery.

That vital motivation is unlikely to be enhanced by seeing trusted colleagues and friends being shunted out of the door without due care for their future well-being.  From that moment on, any corporate communications trotting out the claim that the company’s workers are its most valued asset would be greeted with wry smiles and dismissed as empty words. 

The remaining workers will know, deep down, that they could just as easily have been the victims of such callousness.  And when job vacancies become more plentiful, those same people will accept the first opportunity to jump ship without a moment’s thought.  Workers have long memories.

As corporate executives grapple with dwindling budgets over the coming period, they will scrutinise every last part of their business for potential savings.  The provision of a quality outplacement service, however, is one responsibility they cannot afford to shirk.


Authored by Bev White, Managing Director of Career Transition, Penna Plc

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