Job losses remain an unfortunate part of any economy. Organizations restructure and downsize for many reasons and When this occurs, first and foremost, employers should conduct terminations in a dignified manner. Job terminations do not solely affect those losing their jobs. They affect the individuals left behind as well as those in charge of executing the termination. Managing morale is therefore of utmost importance. During such times, the best send-off you can give the departing employee is a decent severance package and an offer of help, through your own network, to get them a job elsewhere. However, this is not typically practical. Outplacement services are the most viable alternative.
What Exactly is Outplacement?
Outplacement is not the same as “job placement”. Rather, outplacement offers support to re-orient individuals with the art of job hunting. At Equity, it starts with a personal career coach who conducts a thorough assessment of the candidate’s readiness for the journey. And from there, we groom them for the task of looking for their next job, step-by-step.
Job loss is one of the most traumatic experiences an individual can face. Often, people need to grieve and come to terms with the loss before they are able to start working on the practical steps required to find a job. We integrate job loss counselling with our full suite of career transition services. Our goal is to get the candidate prepared and ready to find employment as quickly as possible. Some people catapult themselves into this process with more ease and energy following job loss counselling.
Outplacement and Severance Packages
There are two important reasons why employers should consider outplacement services when drawing up severance packages. First of all, it is simply the right thing to do. Paying for outplacement represents your genuine desire to support this departing employee in the difficult journey ahead. Secondly and more importantly, it reduces your legal liability.
In Ontario, our laws require employers to offer reasonable notice or severance for a no-cause dismissal. The definition of reasonable will depend on the age, salary, seniority and employability of the individual. These are common law provisions, a set of judge made laws that offer employees a second layer of protection, over and above minimum severance stipulated by law.
Most employers address this matter rather inadequately. Essentially, you need to ensure the severance is an adequate bridge to tide the employee over until they find another job with similar seniority and compensation. The longer the individual remains unemployed, the higher are your chances of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit for insufficient notice and severance.
Equity’s outplacement services expedite the job search process for your departing employee. We move them through the grooming process efficiently to set them up for success. Most noteworthy, we deliver services to our clients with the specific goal of them landing a suitable job, at the best compensation, as quickly as possible. Subsequently, during a legal dispute, your offer of outplacement within the severance package works in your favour. It clearly demonstrates that you did everything possible for this employee.
Equity offers many models for delivering outplacement services. We work within your budget to design the most cost-effective program for your circumstances.
When terminations involve several people or entire departments, we design workshops with core ingredients relevant to groups of people at similar levels of seniority. They can be delivered before your staff on working notice actually depart. When we conduct sessions at your office, we minimize disruption by organizing short 1/2 day sessions.
For employees who have already left, we can combine topics to fill sessions that typically span 2 days. Group sessions are most effective with 6-15 participants. Our administration is simplified offering you the cost savings compared to individual outplacement services for every member of the group.
Examples of workshop topics include:
Ad Response Strategy
Application Interview Excellence
Securing the Best Offer
All workshops will effectively help the candidate jump start their job search efforts. Our workshop facilitators are known for up-to-date knowledge and attention to adult learning methods in training. Furthermore, they are trained to deliver the subject matter in an entertaining style with an upbeat yet, empathetic tone.
Our clients benefit the most from personalized coaching services. In these one-on-one sessions, we get to know the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, first. Then we assess their goals. This allows us to spend most of our efforts where it is needed the most.
We offer a targetted, efficient and effective way of delivering outplacement services. They do not include peripheral “perks” that can add unnecessary costs, such as use of our office equipment and space, branded psychometric personality assessments and on-line courses.
Instead, our coaches bring their extensive working knowledge of the career management and human resources industry to the table. We help our clients with practical career transition coaching and advice that will benefit them for the rest of their working lives.
For group layoffs, some organizations set aside an additional budget that allows for follow up sessions, over and above the group sessions. This can be offered to the entire group or a few key employees. In our experience, personalized attention and feedback after the group sessions is key to a successful job search plan. This blended approach of supplementing our group outplacement services with individual coaching is cost effective for organizations and invaluable for their departing employee.
Sometimes, you have to terminate a junior staff member. While you may not have an extensive budget for them, you do want to offer something. Our modular services allow us to work very effectively even with tight budgets. We focus on areas where the candidate needs the most help.
We have helped clients at every seniority level from virtually every industry. They speak volumes about the impact we have had on their careers and can attest to the ease and enjoyment of collaborating with us.
Performance Improvement Plans
Another reason why organizations seek external HR expertise is for the purpose of employee retention. For the most part, people don’t leave jobs, they leave people. Employees complain more about not getting along with their boss than they do about their paycheque. One reason for this is the lack of effective communication. Successful organizations create pathways for two-way communication to occur, so employees can visualize the link between their work and the overall goals of your business. This, in turn, fosters job satisfaction, buy-in and commitment. When organizations use performance improvement plans (PIPs) to conduct meaningful conversations, they can greatly enhance organizational culture.
Unfortunately, many companies miss the mark with this useful corporate process. At best, supervisors dust off PIPs to grudgingly perform annual evaluations prior to handing out pre-determined raises. In many cases, employers do not tie performance improvement reviews to any form of reward or recognition, and at their worst, organizations use them as an instrument for discipline. If your Program Improvement Plan adds little value to your productivity or the bottom line, why not improve it?