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New LHH "Severance & Separation Benefits Benchmark Study" Reveals a Renewed Employer Focus on Severance Policies
The Eighth Edition of the Benchmark Survey Found the Changing Nature of Work is Forcing Companies to Rethink Separation and Severance as part of their Recruiting Practices

NEW YORK – Sept. 9, 2020 – Today, LHH, the leading global provider of talent and leadership development, career transition and coaching, released the eighth edition of its Severance & Separation Benefits Benchmark Study, which provides insights to help organizations and HR teams make informed severance and separation decisions as part of their workforce strategy. With the global pandemic as its backdrop, the 2020 survey revealed that more employers are developing formal severance and separation policies and reevaluating the resources available to current employees during separation.

“Over the past several months, it has become clear that companies must have a fair, comprehensive and competitive severance and separation package in order to show respect to current employees and protect the organization’s employer brand for future talent acquisition,” said John Morgan, chief operating officer and executive vice president of LHH Americas. “In the current environment, it’s very important for employers to realize that how they navigate employee severance and separation can set them up for success when it comes to attracting new talent in the future. Today’s candidates will remember how employers maneuvered this period and they are watching to see what happens next.”

Companies are Focused on Providing Adequate Severance and Separation Policies
According to the survey, over two-thirds (68 percent) of companies have reviewed their severance policies within the last two years – a slight increase from 2018 (67 percent). Companies are realizing the benefits of keeping their severance and separation practices relevant. In fact, 37 percent of companies made their severance policies more generous in 2020 – more than double the companies that reported improving their plans in 2018. Additionally, companies are documenting plans better than before, placing an emphasis on clearly communicating their policies to employees. More than 80 percent of 2020 respondents offer well-documented severance plans to employees – a significant increase from the 64 percent of companies who did so in 2018.

Companies Have Opportunities for More Innovative Reskilling Programs
Keeping in line with previous years, 76 percent of organizations state that the responsibility they feel to take care of their workforce is the driving force for offering outplacement and training services. Most companies (53 percent) expect their outplacement programs to offer a blend of technology and in-person coaching resources, including both group and more personalized coaching settings.

While these standard outplacement services for separating employees remain popular, 65 percent of respondents also include upskilling or reskilling programs to facilitate redeploying talent before implementing layoffs as part of their strategy. Investing in a reskilling and redeployment program can help significantly reduce the volume of employee terminations and potentially save employers up to $136,000 per person, compared to the traditional approach of simultaneous layoffs and new talent acquisition. However, some companies are still not executing this strategy and 35 percent did not compare costs of terminating employees to the benefits of upskilling or reskilling people who can move into new roles within the company. 

“Many companies today are not looking beyond traditional separation offerings and are therefore missing opportunities to invest in their people while reducing costs of both severance and recruiting,” Morgan said. “Allocating time and resources toward an employee reskilling or redeployment initiative can help employers implement easier transitions for their employees and build a renewable workforce that’s future fit.”

LHH has seen companies that redirect some of their restructuring budget into reskilling employees realize a return of 8 to 10 times their initial investment. This return can be reinvested into the organization in a variety of ways, like executive coaching for leadership or to increase compensation for current employees. After all, over two-thirds of companies review their severance policies every one to two years, meaning similar timetables may apply for other compensation and benefits programs. Employers should approach changes to these policies jointly to ensure they are utilizing all the resources at their disposal. 

“With the workforce poised for more changes in the months ahead, now is an ideal time for employers to become more familiar with their severance and separation offerings and ensure they are aligned with 2020 workforce expectations,” said Morgan. 

For benchmarks that help strategize, plan and implement severance and separation programs, download the full report here

LHH’s Severance & Separation Benefits Benchmark Study is a U.S. study providing benchmarks and insights to help organizations and HR teams make informed severance and separation decisions as part of their workforce strategy. This study, which was conducted in January 2020, surveyed 685 individuals in the United States, representing senior human resource executives and leaders who are responsible for helping their organizations manage talent. There was a cross section of more than 20 industries represented and organizations that ranged in size from fewer than 100 employees to more than 25,000 employees.

About LHH
In today's marketplace, organizations are discovering the need to turn their attention inward to find their future talent. At LHH, we help companies see the possibilities in their people. Through assessments, coaching, upskilling and transitioning, companies can realize the untapped potential within their own workforce, resulting in increased productivity, morale, and brand affinity.

A division of The Adecco Group – the world's leading HR solutions partner – LHH's 4,000 coaches and colleagues work with more than 7,000 organizations in over 60 countries around the world. We make a difference to everyone we work with, and we do it on a global scale. We have the local expertise, global infrastructure, and industry-leading technology to manage the complexity of critical workforce initiatives and the challenges of transformation. It's why 60 percent of the Fortune 500 companies choose to work with us. Learn more at

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