Outplacement: What Employers Should do After the Layoff

· by Herb Dew

Herb is the CEO of HTI. He founded HTI in 1999 along with John Knight and David Sewell, and remains heavily involved in the organization today.
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One of the service lines I’m very proud of at HTI is our department that handles Career Transition Services for those individuals exiting a company.

Most often, these individuals have no prior knowledge of the impending job loss. The HR trend is to focus on really good Onboarding processes and procedures, yet there is little to no thought given to the other side of that coin. Companies invest a tremendous amount of money in inbound employees through training, development and mentoring. In contrast, employees caught in a company layoff receive a severance package at best, and companies send them on their way without a second thought.

There are significant business arguments for why there is value for a company investing in an employee even when that employee will be exiting and no longer working for the company.

How you treat an employee when they are leaving is acutely seen by those employees remaining with the company.

It leaves them wondering how they’d be treated in the same situation.

Providing some assistance to an employee helps the employee look ahead, rather than behind.

This translates into less bad mouthing the company, and less likelihood for litigation.

The exiting employee retains a more positive final impression of the company

Your perception in the community substantially impacts your future recruiting efforts in hiring the best employees.

Studies show that being let go from a job can be one of the most stressful things that can affect employees. It can increase suicide rates, depression, problems at home, and cause several other byproducts of the decision. According to Richard and Terri Deems, PhD, authors of Make Job Loss Work For You,  losing a job takes you through stages similar to the stages of grief known as the job loss reaction cycle.

  1. Shock & disbelief
  2. Anger & resentment
  3. Denial & bargaining
  4. Self-doubt & put-downs
  5. Withdrawal & depression
  6. Acceptance & Affirmation

For those exposed to long term unemployment, this cycle can be accompanied by physical reactions such as weight loss/gain, sleep disturbance, and prolonged elevated stress levels. Problematic symptoms of a layoff can include long term health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, and more.

Consequently, at HTI we see our role as a partner to our clients and a helping hand to their associates as critical during times of transition. Regardless of the reason their employees were affected, we pride ourselves on guiding them as they seek a new position and transition from the old one.  Our role falls into 3 phrases to prevent these outcomes:

Heal the employee from the decision and build back their self-esteem.

When employees feel helpless due to a layoff, it can paralyze them and delay their action in the job search.

Train them on how to find a job and begin the marketing process of helping them find one.

Often, these employees are out of touch with the job market, and need guidance on reentering.

Serve as an agent in negotiations and decision making in final preparation for starting their new job.

Even in cases when employees do rejoin the workforce, their wages are reduced by 17% on average.

Many companies are not aware of the importance of aiding exiting employees and often rely on the state for this. HTI will come alongside your employees and walk with them as they go through this hard time. Thus the separation is less stressful for the company, and logistically easier. Furthermore, the employee feels less abandoned as they go through this difficult time in their lives.