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Whether you’re in the unenviable position of needing to let go of a single problematic employee, or it’s time to perform some mass layoffs in order to cut costs and maintain operations in the long term, you may find yourself wondering whether you really need to lay out the extra cash to provide outplacement assistance to your employees.
Outplacement assistance isn’t cheap, after all, especially not when you’re offering it to an entire group of laid-off employees. But it’s well worth the cost.
For one thing, you’ll save in the long run by getting former employees off of unemployment faster. Offering outplacement assistance can do wonders for safeguarding your reputation through a period of layoffs, and it can help those who stay behind feel safer about their jobs.
It’s Cheaper in the Long Run to Offer Outplacement Assistance
Laid-off employees don’t stop costing the company money after they walk out the door with their box of personal effects — the opposite, in fact. The longer former employees remain on unemployment, the higher your associated costs. The sooner employees find new jobs, the fewer payouts they’ll need from unemployment, so you’ll end up paying lower unemployment costs.
That’s not the only way offering outplacement assistance can save your company money. Laid-off employees who aren’t offered outplacement assistance are left on their own to find new work, and that can grow feelings of resentment toward your company, especially if the employee remains jobless for an extended period.
Employees who are allowed to remain jobless and grow resentful, instead of being supported to transition into a new role, are employees who are more likely to sue. Offering outplacement services can prevent lawsuits and the not insignificant costs associated with them.
Outplacement Assistance Protects Your Brand and Reputation
Employees who linger on unemployment for months or years after leaving your firm present another risk — that to your corporate reputation. Your brand could suffer damage if former employees are spreading damaging misinformation online or otherwise, and they’re more likely to do that when they feel abandoned by the company after years of service.
The last thing you need, especially in this day and age, is former employees telling your possible prospective new hires how terribly the company treats its staff.
These days, outplacement assistance seeks to get laid-off employees focused on moving forward into new roles within 24 hours of being laid off. This doesn’t leave any time at all for employees to brood, mope, become despondent, or otherwise lose momentum in the job search.
By keeping employees focused on the future, outplacement assistance keeps them from having the time to develop hard feelings. Instead, they’re diving into the job hunt right away, and moving into new positions before they have a chance to start getting disgruntled about the layoff. And because they’re being supported in their transition, they’re less likely to feel that their layoff was handled insensitively, anyway.
Remaining Employees Will Feel Safer
No one likes change, and going through a period of layoffs at your place of work presents many opportunities to adjust to unpleasant changes. Even for those who remain, layoffs can be a huge source of distress.
Remaining employees might rightfully worry that their own jobs aren’t as secure as they’d once thought. They might feel resentful about the layoff of talented and respected colleagues. They might worry that layoffs mean a larger workload for some of them. And even if they aren’t particularly worried about their jobs or angry on behalf of colleagues, they’ll still be adjusting to changes in the workplace environment.
You can’t afford to have morale drop among remaining employees, because that harms productivity, causes employees to disengage and check out from their roles, and can motivate many employees that you might have otherwise liked to retain to dust off their resumes and start looking for a job preemptively. No one wants to go down with the ship, after all, and that’s exactly what staying with a company during layoffs can feel like.
You may not be able to maintain previous levels of morale and engagement during layoffs, but the knowledge that the company is trying to do right by those who are let go can mitigate the damage layoffs can do in the remaining workforce. Those who are left on the sidelines, watching their colleagues get let go, will at least feel reassured that, should their own jobs be the next eliminated, they’ll have some support to transition smoothly and quickly to a new role.
If you’re letting someone go, you need to offer outplacement assistance to help that person move forward with their career outside the company. It can save you money, keep your existing employees happy, and protect your reputation — plus, it’s just the right thing to do.