Four Reasons Your Mid-Market Organization Should Offer Outplacement

Middle-market companies are going to have to deal with layoffs. And while many larger companies have experience in managing departures, middle-market firms may be much less familiar with all the consequences.

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Middle-market companies around the world will play a huge role in the global economic recovery once pandemic conditions begin to ease. By some estimates, middle-market companies represent only three percent of all U.S. businesses. However, they generate about one-third of private sector GDP.

Before the middle market can start to drive the recovery, it will have to go through a period of pain. Surveys by National Center for the Middle Market (NCCM) found that 40 percent of middle-market executives believe the pandemic will continue to have significant impacts on their bottom lines through the current year. Although revenue declines and job losses are easing, the NCCM expects 2021 to be a year that remains stained by red ink.

That means middle-market companies – typically defined as having revenues between $10 million and a billion – are going to have to deal with layoffs. And while many larger companies have experience in managing departures, middle-market firms may be much less familiar with all the consequences.

Simply put, a layoff is not as easy as it sounds. The departure of just one employee can have a significant impact on any business, regardless of size, so it’s critical middle-market companies have an outplacement strategy and partner to ensure the integrity of both the company and the employee is protected.

What is outplacement and why should you offer it?

Outplacement is a service offered to employees who have lost or will be losing their job, to help them quickly find a new path. This may include landing a new role in the same organization, a similar job in the same industry, or retraining for a whole new job. Some people who are laid off end up retiring or starting a business. Outplacement services include career coaching, resume writing, interview preparation, skill development, referrals to hiring managers, and targeted job leads.

Here are four reasons why you want to consider offering outplacement:

1/ Brand and reputation protection. Social media allows people to share their views to thousands in a matter of seconds. Negative experiences relayed to the masses can quickly damage the employer and customer brand. This is true regardless of whether the organization involved is a huge multinational, or a middle-market entity. However, for the same reasons, positive experiences and opinions can also be shared at lightning speed with huge reach. Providing support to employees going through a career transition, and those left behind, can help protect and even enhance any mid-market organization’s brand and reputation.

2/ Outplacement is a great opportunity to engage reskilling. With a global shortage of skilled talent, reskilling has become the number-one priority for the world’s employers as they seek to fill skill gaps from within. Outplacement programs are increasingly relying on the same types of reskilling initiatives to dramatically reduce the amount of time a person is unemployed following an involuntary separation. Mid-market companies that invest in reskilling, both for remaining and departing employees, not only protect their brand as an employer of choice but also benefit from faster candidate placement and lower costs per hire. Candidates who participated in reskilling as part of their outplacement programs find new jobs, on average, 65% faster than if they searched for a job on their own.

3/ Reduction in legal costs. The legal costs of a badly managed layoff can often run into the tens of thousands of dollars per case, again, regardless of the size of the organization. That alone makes for a compelling business case to offer career transition support. More than 70% of respondents in our recent 2020 Severance and Separation benchmarking survey said they employed outplacement support specifically to reduce the likelihood of litigation. A similar study by the Centre for Organizational Research found that litigation was reduced by 72% for employers using outplacement services with displaced staff. Furthermore, with outplacement support only representing a fraction of the overall cost of a severance package, it is arguably the only part that offers a real return on investment.

4/ Improved employee morale, motivation, and productivity. Employees who remaining with any mid-market organization can be deeply affected by layoffs. The relationships in mid-market companies are typically more deeply felt, and feelings of insecurity, anxiety and demotivation are very common. Seeing friends and colleagues being let go without adequate support, coupled with fear that “they could be next,” can tarnish their opinion of the organization while eroding productivity and engagement. Career Transition partners have solutions to help the “survivors” in mid-market companies maintain their focus in the wake of layoffs.

Summary

Badly managed layoffs hurt everyone – the people being let go, the organization and the people who are left behind. This is particularly important in mid-market companies that often see their employees more as “family” and less as cogs in a machine.

When there is no other alternative other than a layoff, then it makes good business sense to get help from an experienced career transition partner. The costs of not engaging that help can be crippling.

 
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