Groundbreaking Research from Lee Hecht Harrison Reveals Major Trends in Severance & Separation Benefits

Press Release

Employers Moving from Traditional Severance Policies to More Flexible Arrangements

Fewer Organizations Implementing Hard Minimums and Maximums on Severance

MAITLAND, FL – February 26, 2018: An industry-leading survey of Human Resources professionals confirms there are major changes afoot in severance and separation benefits that will dramatically impact employer brand and talent management.

Lee Hecht Harrison, the world’s leading talent development and transition company, and Compensation Resources, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of organization-wide compensation programs, surveyed 350 senior human resources executives and leaders who are responsible for helping their organizations manage talent. The main topics explored in this study include severance, outplacement, redeployment, stay bonuses and early retirement programs.

Among the major findings in the 2017-2018 Severance & Separation Benefits Study is that severance remains the method-of-choice for organizations concerned with protecting employer brand: almost all businesses (97%) in the study said they offer some form of severance.

The LHH survey shows that severance and separation benefits are key tools in the management of transformation initiatives.

Greg Simpson SVP, Career Transition Practice Leader
However, the study found only 55 percent have formal, written severance policies. That is a decline from the 2011 survey results, when 65 percent had formal severance policies.

The survey of Human Resources managers also revealed that fewer businesses are setting firm minimum and maximum severance amounts. In 2011, more than 70 percent of businesses had written policies on minimum and maximum severance; by 2017, it dropped to just over half (52%).

Notwithstanding these trends, the message from Human Resources professionals was clear: severance and separation benefits that include new approaches to outplacement continue to play a key role in the war for talent.

“We’re definitely seeing more companies moving away from formal, written policies in favor of more flexible terms,” said Greg Simpson, Senior Vice President and Career Transition Practice Leader at Lee Hecht Harrison. “That having been said, the survey shows clearly that severance and separation benefits remain among the best ways for a company to protect its brand.”

Driven by the relentless technological and demographic changes in today’s economy, Simpson said most companies are in a constant state of transformation—eliminating jobs while at the same time opening up new opportunities. The LHH survey shows that severance and separation benefits are key tools in the management of transformation initiatives.

The research also identifies how the redeployment of talent—placing people in new roles within the organization as opposed to simply laying them off—is an underutilized strategy. Only 19 percent of surveyed organizations have implemented some form of redeployment program.

“Redeploying talent leverages an organization’s internal talent management systems to match employees with open internal positions,” Simpson added. “This can help retain valued talent while eliminating risk from high turnover and, ultimately, reduce severance costs.”

For more information, download the full Severance & Separation Benefits Benchmark Study Seventh Edition.

About Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH)
Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) ( helps companies transform their leaders and workforce so they can accelerate performance. In an era of continuous change, successfully transforming your workforce depends on how well companies and their people embrace, navigate and lead change. Change within the organization, and their career. At Lee Hecht Harrison we use our expertise in talent development and transition to deliver tailored solutions that help our clients transform their leaders and workforce so they have the people and culture they need to evolve and grow. We are passionate about making a difference in peoples’ careers and building better leaders so our clients can build a strong employer brand.

About Compensation Resources, Inc. (CRI)
Compensation Resources, Inc. (CRI) ( is a boutique consulting firm specializing in providing clients with hands-on consulting expertise. CRI specializes in executive compensation, sales compensation, pay-for-performance and incentive compensation, performance management programs, and expert witness services.  Our firm is staffed with experienced human resources professionals who have appropriate academic credentials and have broad general knowledge and specialized experience in the design and implementation of organization-wide compensation programs.  Since its inception in 1989, CRI has provided a wide variety of clients with creative and pragmatic solutions to meet their business needs.  The hallmark of our firm has been to provide practical solutions that are easy to understand and administer, cost effective and most importantly, "they work."  Adherence to these principles has enabled CRI to provide our clients with professional, practical assistance tailored to their individual needs.  

For further information contact:
Helene Cavalli
VP Marketing 
Lee Hecht Harrison 
P +1.267.322.1300


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