Downsizing an organization is often a painful business decision, especially when it involves severing employment ties with valued employees. Outplacement (a.k.a. career transition) can't eliminate that pain; but it can make the transition easier for everyone who is affected by this business decision. Although it may initially seem counterproductive to invest money in outplacement services at a time when your organization is trying to cut costs, there are myriad reasons why this investment makes good business sense.
Outplacement decreases legal costs because it reduces the number of lawsuits filed by disgruntled and litigious employees. It also reduces the number of unemployment compensation claims, because it empowers and motivates participants to find new jobs.
Outplacement improves morale among the employees who survive the downsizing. The fact that an employer cares enough about its terminating employees to provide these services sends a powerful message to any remaining employees who may be worried about their own job security and future. When morale improves, so does productivity.
Outplacement is good public relations. By taking care of its ex-employees, an organization sends a message to its customers and the community that, even in bad times, it cares about what happens to its people. When the good times roll around again, this will make it easier to recruit good talent.
Finally, there is a moral imperative. An organization that cares about its people doesn't stop caring about them because their jobs have been eliminated. I would encourage executives to treat these employees as they would want to be treated -- by providing quality career transition services that help them become more confident and effective job hunters- and do it because it's the right thing to do.
About the Author – Arlene Hirsch is an expert in the field of career psychology. Her areas of expertise include: career planning, career placement, career management, emotional intelligence, resilience, leadership development and job search. She has worked with such companies as Citicorp, Baxter Healthcare, Travelers Insurance, McDonalds, State Farm, FBI, U.S. Postal Services and many other organizations. She is the author of three best selling career books, How to be Happy at Work, Love Your and Success Will Follow and Wall Street Journal Premier Guide to Interviewing and is currently working on a new book, Shooting Yourself in the Foot: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Career Success and has appeared on ABC, CNN, WGN, WBEZ and Lifetime Medical TV. She has been widely quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Glamour and Elle Magazine among others.
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