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Three Reasons Why Corporate Outplacement Services Still Matter

Cost reduction efforts have been challenging the necessity to provide corporate outplacement services in severance packages for several years. Outplacement services do matter. Here is a strategic rationale why they should remain a part of every company’s severance policy.

We want to treat our former colleagues with respect, dignity and compassion

Workforce reductions or even performance related departures are never easy. They involve people can be our friends, long-time associates, mentors and collaborators. There are shared experiences and memories that create bonds. A downsizing or firing can put a great strain on those bonds. A longer term perspective will show that maintaining these relationships can help an organization with the networking benefits that they provide.

It is important to recognize that the term "it's just business" cannot really apply when you are talking about lives, families and community. This goes beyond numbers and takes us into a more holistic approach where we need to take into account the complete picture.

We want to always be building networks not walls.

Displaced employees represent potential networking opportunities that can benefit the firm. They can be sources of new business, strategic alliances, potential talent that can be rehired and ambassadors for the company. Corporate outplacement services can help former employees find a new position faster than doing it on their own. Outplacement has also been proven to help candidates negotiate better compensation packages. The net result is that many outplacement candidates end up in a better place and can put their past experience in a more positive light.

A great way to think of former employees is thinking of them as alumni. They can be help companies with positive word of mouth. I recently listened to a great webinar by William Tincup who said:

“It’s your brand: you have to own what your former and current employers say about you. It is important to treat people as well when they leave as when we are recruiting them. The relationship is for the long term.’ 

A great example of this type of networking taking place today is within Silicon Valley. The culture that has developed within the Valley is one of collaboration and networking - where strategic alliances are routinely made with alumni of former companies. This culture would grind to a halt if companies treated their employees poorly during their exit. What you would see would be more grudge/retribution behavior rather than working towards a mutual gain.

We want to work for a company with a great reputation

Nothing is more depressing than to work for a company that has a poor reputation. The reviews on Glassdoor.com blast the company management and discourage potential hires from working there. While there are a number of reasons why ex-employees may talk negatively about your company one common cause relates back to how they were treated during a layoff.

Providing outplacement services for transitioned employees will continue to be challenged in an effort to cut costs. These efforts are short sighted when you consider the longer term damage that will be caused by creating a terrible employer brand, low internal morale and missed networking/collaboration opportunities.

All companies have to recognize the power and leverage social media tools have on shaping their public persona. It is not a wise for a business to fuel an active negative campaign by continuing to add new people to the ranks of the critics.