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Why Outplacement Still Matters - Ask Your Marketing Department

Workforce reductions and employee dismissals are hard.

Executing outplacement programs with compassion, dignity and professionalism will advance the corporate objectives of cost reduction and organizational rationalization. The organization's marketing department should also closely follow how outplacement is done because it can have a major impact on the corporate brand.

Marketing departments make substantial long term investments in brand building.

They do this in order to build equity and trust with the expectation that this will generate consumer loyalty and enhanced profitability. These brand building efforts can be derailed when organizations downsize the wrong way and send hundreds or thousands of displaced employees into to market with an extremely negative view of the company. These same people will soon become customers, vendors, bloggers, and strategic partners of the firm.

Consider the following questions:

  • How likely are they to recommend the firm to a friend?
  • How likely are they to write favorable reviews on Glassdoor?
  • How likely are they to remain consumers of the brand?

Chances are slim that this will happen if the displaced employees were treated poorly in their transition.

The following chart compares a select set of firms that had substantial layoffs in 2015 with their Glassdoor.com rankings on overall rating, likelihood to recommend to a friend and CEO ratings. The chart shows that the all of the firms had relatively positive ratings on Glassdoor.com despite having to go through some bruising reductions.

Social media rankings for firms with large layoffs

While there are admittedly a number of factors to consider the quick comparison does show that these select firms were able to maintain favorable rankings despite having to incur large scale workforce reductions. This is important down the road when it comes to talent acquisition.

69% of respondents to a Glassdoor.com survey said that they would not take a job at a company with a bad reputation, 
even if they were unemployed.

LinkedIn’s Hiring Solutions Insights team conducted a survey of 7,250 LinkedIn users focusing specifically on employer brand. The survey found that respondents carefully considered the employer brand when looking to apply for open positions at the company. One of the more common tools for potential employees to judge employer brands are sites like Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, Vault.com and many others.

The LinkedIn survey went on further to say that the growing importance of employer brand adds a new dimension to HR’s role in protecting and building employer brand during times of change for the organization.

This is where HR leaders and Marketing can work together in developing programs that will advance the organization's objectives and also make every effort to protect the company brand by creating outplacement programs that show their displaced and remaining employees that they do care.

Marketing professionals will tell you that building a strong brand takes a long time and that this can be quickly undone in a short period of time by negative events (think about Volkswagen).  HR can help maintain the employer brand with smart and compassionate outplacement.