This article originally appeared on November 20th, 2014 in Fast Company.
5 Ways to Help Employees You’re About to Lay Off
Just because a company is growing quickly doesn’t mean it should hire, hire, hire.
According to a study by MorganFranklin Consulting and FierceCFO, the majority of fastest-growing companies in 2014 believe a willingness to cut back on hiring will lead to smart, accelerated growth.
In fact, many fast-growing companies that hired too many people too quickly may find themselves letting people go.
Letting go of employees is never easy, but having a good outplacement plan can help make the transition smoother. Instead of a one-time cash payment, outplacement services allow displaced workers to utilize services like career counseling, interview coaching, and resume advice, all of which allow the organization to help them get back on their feet and move forward.
An outplacement plan also benefits the organization in several ways, including staying competitive in the industry, maintaining positive relationships with displaced workers, creating a positive reputation for a company going through a turbulent time, and helping with liability protection.
Although 68% of companies have outplacement plans in place according to a recent study by talent firm Right Management, research also shows that only half of employees are using them. What’s the problem?
It could be employees don’t know about the outplacement services available. Or they’re not sure how it would benefit them. Either way, if your outplacement services aren’t being used, it means there’s room for improvement.
Check out these quick and easy ways to improve your current outplacement plan:
Communicate clearly what outplacement options are there and use different formats–email, posters, handouts, etc. Explain what options are available and how to take advantage of them. In addition, illustrate how using outplacement services can benefit the employee, perhaps by using alumni examples.
Employees may not be taking advantage of your outplacement services for several reasons. No matter what, clearly communicating what services are available will help increase their usage.
Outplacement plans shouldn’t be standardized. Everyone is different, and employees who are let go will require different assistance. Some may need job coaching, others may need help with networking, and still others may not need anything at all.
Conducting exit interviews can help to determine what the best outplacement plan is for each employee. Let them know what’s available to them, whether it’s job search management tools, career assessments, referrals to financial advisors, retraining strategies, and social networking advice, etc., and work together to create a personalized plan.
Providing a personal outplacement plans will help ease former employees their feelings about being displaced and have success finding other opportunities.
Giving displaced employees money is a quick and easy way to help with displacement, but it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
An August 2014 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, by January 2014, only 61% of workers who had been displaced between January 2011 and December 2013 were re-employed.
Instead of simply giving workers cash, consider the benefits of investing in other opportunities that will benefit them in their job search, such as providing outplacement services on mobile devices.
Research indicates 68% of job seekers use their mobile devices to look for work at least once a week, and moving your outplacement services there means displaced employees can access them anytime, anywhere. This will help increase usage and encourage workers to take advantage of the services you offer.
Employees who have been working the same job consistently or are new to the workforce may not have developed an extensive network. Helping them with networking can make their job search easier.
This could be anything from offering advice on how to network to connecting displaced employees with alumni willing to provide mentorship. Adding technology solutions to your outplacement plan can help with this as well, allowing individuals to keep their contacts in one places and connect with a larger network.
In addition, hosting a networking event is a good way to connect displaced employees with potential employers, as well as assisting in setting up LinkedIn pages.
It’s great to help displaced employees network and find opportunities, but companies should also make sure they have the tools to pursue those opportunities. In addition, many displaced employees may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what their next step should be.
Offering career counseling can be a good way to mitigate those fears and help workers figure out their next move while also providing insight into creating resumes and handling job interviews. To avoid awkwardness, consider outsourcing the counseling through a third party or offering a program online.
Letting go of employees is never easy, but a solid outplacement plan can help. However, it’s only good if it’s being used. Using these tips to improve your outplacement plan can increase its usage and help displaced workers move on successfully.
What are other ways to improve your outplacement plan?
About MorganFranklin Consulting
MorganFranklin Consulting (www.morganfranklin.com) is a global management and technology consulting firm that works with leading businesses and government. The firm helps organizations solve their most pressing challenges and address critical finance, technology, and business objectives. MorganFranklin is headquartered in the Washington D.C. area with regional offices in Atlanta and San Francisco, and supports clients across the globe.
MorganFranklin Consulting is the brand name referring to the global organization of MorganFranklin, Inc. and its subsidiary MorganFranklin Consulting, LLC.