Outplacement services help companies plan for long-term growth as well as uncertainty
The layoff trend in India started during the year 2000 due to the global economic downturn. In the year 2008 and 2009, we were first approached by a large MNC for designing and helping their 800 employees to find jobs. In the meetings with the top management, we realized that it was not only about getting them placed, but more about handling emotional trauma, keeping a positive outlook, creating a communication strategy and coaching the leadership team on how to break the news and also support the HR team with FAQs to address queries both internally and externally.
It has now become clear that layoffs are an increasingly important part of corporate strategy. The job market is becoming competitive and candidates need to build self-marketing skills in order to succeed. It is in this perspective that companies in India have started engaging external agencies to avail outplacement services, as layoffs have a negative impact on their workforce. Losing a job is a devastating experience for an employee. It is a challenging job for managers to break the news, handle communication, manage the moral of existing workforce, impact on the employee branding, etc.
Companies are now adopting a cautious approach as they realize that right-sizing, cost rationalization and alignment are all part of the business need. Some corporates also have an outplacement agency identified as part of their HR strategy. Outplacement is a consulting service designed to assist companies through some difficult processes during downsizings, based on the company’s long-term strategic needs. However, it should not be used for performance-based terminations. Outplacement services assist companies in planning and executing a termination, providing guidance and resources for the displaced employee as they seek new employment. The process involves tackling issues like “why me, what will I do now?” Outplacement is not just about finding someone a job after layoff. Coaching helps candidates (and their families) look beyond the bitterness, and realize that a layoff is a business decision and does not reflect on an individual’s capabilities. It involves understanding competencies, key strengths, preparing resumes (most qualified people end up writing average resumes on their own), mock interview sessions, etc. Candidates are coached on how to respond to questions on a job loss as well. Finally, outplacement firms reach out to other companies in positioning and helping people find jobs by referring them for various other jobs. Outplacement services help a company plan for long-term growth as well as uncertainty, encourage consistency and confidence in decision-making and minimize precipitous action.