Graceful Exits and Outplacement Services - Not Just for Executives Anymore
Updated: Mar 6
Updated Feb 2023
Let’s face it, having to let someone go from their job is not fun. If you're a manager, there will come a time when you are having to terminate someone's employment. It is unpleasant for you, but imagine how unpleasant it is for the employee. It can be panic-inducing: the sudden loss of income goes right to the basic needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy. Impacted employees often feel shame, sadness, confusion, and worry.
Helping employees recognize that there is life after this job is part of your job when letting someone go. The more we can help set them up for success as they are exiting, the less the psychological burden will be on them when they leave. As employers, we can play a key role in ensuring individuals feel healthier mentally when they leave the building.
Historically, executives were the only ones who were provided with post-termination support, such as career counselling, and it was a parting perk along with their severance package. The practice of post-termination support has made its way into the mainstream now, and savvy employers are beginning to offer it to staff who leave their employment through layoffs or without cause terminations, mostly through the use of outplacement services.
That's because employers recognize there is an ROI that helps protect their hard-won brand by promoting goodwill and demonstrating compassion. Employees can feel angry, abandoned, and hurt, and may want to lash out at their employer (think those negative social media posts, or ‘lawyering up’). With the help of good offboarding practices such as an outplacement coach, employees have a sounding board and a shoulder to lean on that will also help them refocus and move more quickly into productive job-finding mode.
On the flip side, existing staff observe how departing employees are treated; by offering outplacement services it sends a positive message that you’ll take care of them should it ever come to that, and helps keep them engaged and productive on the job rather than worrying about what might happen if they were laid off.
Outplacement is fully-paid-for by the employer, and provides access for the employee to job search tools and support. This includes assistance in creating or updating their career portfolio (resume, cover letters, LinkedIn) for today’s job market, learning how to get back into job search mode, career assessments, interview coaching, and much more. The main goal is to help reorient the former employee to the existing job market, become more marketable, and land their new role faster than if they were left on their own.
It shows that the employer has compassion, and recognizes that good people practices don't stop upon termination.