Hidden Cost of Layoffs, Pt. 2: Differing Priorities
People approach a period of layoffs with different priorities in mind, depending on each individual’s role and position within the company. This second part of our series on the cost of layoffs explores the differing perspectives of three types of employees impacted the most by the change, and how outplacement services can help each. To go back and read Part 1, click here.
Role: Guide the company toward success by making decisions at a high-level based on their expertise, industry trends, and knowledge of best practices.
During a period of layoffs, those in leadership positions are focused on ensuring that the organization will be able to continue business operations, while saving costs or successfully navigating restructuring. Their priority is to determine the best ways to position the company in the present so that it will see success in the future.
Because executives are responsible for the long-term success of the entire company, they’re not able to base decisions on how those decisions affect individual employees. However, by focusing only on the bottom line and not on those who might affect it—through negative PR, unemployment claims, legal recourse, and more—leaders might miss out on the opportunity to see a return on investment. Good leaders know that making a decision that’s good for the company as a whole includes taking care of their workforce.
Leadership can do this by working with Human Resources to design, implement, and support a plan that protects employees in the case of layoffs. As “big picture people,” leadership has a responsibility to set the company’s HR department up for success, which involves offering support for the implementation of severance packages and outplacement services.
Role: Formerly responsible for business operations in a range of functions and at varying levels of seniority.
Suddenly out of a job, the only thing on these employees’ minds is figuring out what they need to do in order to find a new place of work—ideally somewhere that allows them to continue to support themselves financially. When layoffs happen suddenly and without warning, employees can find themselves unprepared to take action and quickly land on their feet in a stable new role.
Often, employees in this situation feel that their needs trump the needs of the company, and, feeling unsupported, may speak negatively of the company in public spaces, such as on Glassdoor or social media.
The stress of having to search for a new place of employment can be mitigated significantly if the right resources—such as outplacement services—are available and readily accessible. It will help transitioning employees rest easy in the knowledge that support, guidance, and coaching is being provided. Displaced employees are much more likely to retain positive feelings about their former employers if they feel steps have been taken to protect their long-term wellbeing.
Role: As the proxy between a company’s leaders and its other employees, the HR manager is responsible for making sure that both the employees’ needs and the overall needs of the organization are both met during and after the layoff.
The HR manager plays quite possibly the most important role for a company during a time of layoffs. It is their number one priority to help make the transition as smooth as possible for both the business and the affected employees. Ultimately, the HR manager is responsible for demonstrating value, both to the company (through measurable results like cost savings and landing rates and qualitative results, like employer brand protection and satisfaction scores) and to the transitioning employee (through measurable results like fast landings and good salaries and qualitative results like emotional support and continued goodwill from the employer).
HR managers maintain an intimate knowledge of both the company and the people who make the company run, and because of this, they’re able to see the profound value of outplacement services—helping them build the strongest case to help leadership understand why incorporating these services is beneficial to all parties involved.
Everyone wins with outplacement
Outplacement is helpful to more than just the employees being transitioned. From the C-suite down, career transition services affects the entire organization in a positive way.