7 common mistakes HR make when implementing Outplacement Support (and how to avoid them)


hammer broken nailsA badly managed redundancy project will always catch negative attention from the press and with the dominance of social media, frustrated employees can publicise their annoyance quickly and to great effect.  In these cases, it’s inevitable that the respective company’s reputation will be damaged, severely impacting its future, employer brand, as well as negatively affecting any remaining employees.

To negate these issues and to provide much needed support to employees post redundancy, a company will often provide a programme of Outplacement Support. However, simply putting this in place is not a promise of a successful redundancy project - HR departments must be aware of just how fragile a situation they are dealing with through a restructuring process, and of the mistakes they should avoid making. How HR handles outplacement can affect an employee’s reaction to being let go, whether they wish to take any legal action, and how the company is reflected in the wider media.

Here are 7 of the top mistakes HR can make when implementing outplacement, and how to avoid them.

1 - Delivering an in-house outplacement programme

Many companies believe it to be far more cost-effective to offer their employees an in-house outplacement programme, however, whilst you may have the capabilities within your own organisation, employees will likely be too close to the situation to appreciate your efforts.

Sourcing outplacement services from a third party will enable your former employees to feel more comfortable about opening up. They’re more likely to make use of the services on offer and come away with positive things to say about the support you’ve provided.

2 - Letting employees choose the provider

Your exiting employees may be in a highly emotional state and because of this, they may not be in a position to make the best decision and potentially swayed by a strong sales impression rather than success statistics or details about the support on offer. When selecting an outplacement provider, you’ll also need to be able to assess any ROI, so it is best left to you.

Shopping around for an appropriate outplacement service yourself will enable you to choose a provider within your company’s budget that is more likely to meet your employees’ needs.

3 – Communicating poorly

The job of delivering the news of redundancy to employees is a difficult one and so it’s vital that you can reassure employees early that outplacement support will be in place to help them move in should they be impacted. Talk to your Outplacement partner about getting the right communication mix for employees.  Remember to think about how you phase the communications throughout the consultation giving employees lots of opportunity to find out what’s available. Outplacement

isn’t a term that all people are familiar with, so keep the messaging simple. Be clear about what the support is there to do and how it will benefit them and don’t assume your employees will understand how valuable support can be.

4 - Ignoring the emotional aspect of redundancy

It is easy for employers to forget that outplacement is not simply about helping those made redundant find new roles. Instead, one of the key services outplacements should provide is wellbeing support. For an outplacement programme that delivers value rather than simply statistics, the emotional component is a vital one.

Make sure you select a provider that not only provides great practical careers support, but that also values the role they play in supporting your employee’s wellbeing.

5 - Failing to offer flexible, personalised support

While group support can be cost-effective, many participants might be embarrassed to speak about how they have been affected by their redundancy in front of others. Additionally, each person is likely to have had a different career route prior to joining your business, and they may find the ‘one size fits all’ approach simply is not helpful for them.

Providing your employees with the one-to-one support of a personal career coach will enable them to find the confidence to start working toward a successful future.

6 - Inconsistent support and advice

Always assume your former – and remaining - employees will talk to one another to discuss the support you are providing. Should they find they are receiving different information or levels of service, confusion will spread, and many may doubt or devalue the service you are providing for them. This can devastate the results of what otherwise may have been a successful programme of support.

Ensure you understand the approach your outplacement provider is taking and find out what steps the provider takes to ensure consistency throughout the programme.

7 – Not measuring success

It’s easy to assume that once an outplacement partner is in place, the role for HR in the outplacement support is completed. However, it’s important to the wider business that you know that the support is effective and that you can demonstrate the impact of the support back to the business.

A good Outplacement Partner will be able to work with you to monitor and measure the success of the support you are offering your exiting employees.  By building a strong SLA together and with regular and effective reporting, you can effectively manage your restructure project as well as demonstrating clear ROI to the business.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.co.uk

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