By: Cindy Hayward
COVID-19 has caused unprecedented numbers of employee furloughs and layoffs, resulting in historically high unemployment rates across the U.S. As companies struggle to make financial decisions regarding their employees’ futures in the workforce, having a robust career transition services (CTS) program in place would make today’s crisis far less stressful. Only 29% of companies have a formal exit management plan in place. If your organization is among the 71%, what should you be doing now and why?
The High-Value Return of Career Transition Services:
- Displaced employees may be more willing to return to your company when positions open back up.
- Employees who remain have a sense of security, knowing a plan is in place as they struggle with the loss of coworkers.
- The company’s image, brand and reputation are protected when you are doing the right thing.
- Your company will have a deep talent pool to choose from when this crisis – or any future economic downturn – has passed.
Quality CTS provides more than just resume and branding services. Today’s market demands that job seekers identify and make the right connections, know where and how to search for job openings, and craft the right language to get past automated scans and into the hands of the real hiring managers. An effective job search is much more than submitting resumes online.
CTS for Displaced Employees
For displaced employees, programs provide benefits in a job search from start to finish, including adjusting to the emotions of being laid off, preparing for a job search, creating social media and networking strategies, taking part in interview training and, ultimately, finding the right job. Remember, outplacement services are not one size fits all; they should be tailored to the individual or group. The job search of a junior manager will be much different than that of a high-level executive. The CTS plan should include sessions with a coach and/or written materials to guide the process.
In our current crisis, it is imperative that your CTS provider take a more proactive stance in which a coach initiates the first contact with the displaced employee rather than relying on the latter to do so. Many employees who are newly laid off may experience depression, a loss of motivation or apprehension early in their separation, which could lead to wasted time and lost opportunities.
CTS for Employee Retention
Of course, finding a new job is not a guarantee for outplaced employees, but in our experience, the time to reemployment is greatly reduced for those who use CTS. For those employees who are not affected by layoffs, seeing their former coworkers go through CTS may help lessen the blow and shock of a reduction in workforce. Knowing that their former coworkers are treated with compassion and care should prevent or at least reduce the length of decreased morale that is normal to a severance process. It could also help motivate employees to stay loyal to your company. Downsizing a workforce by 1% can lead to a 31% increase in voluntary turnover the next year if a CTS plan was not in place, according to Harvard Business Review.
Layoffs are always upsetting, creating a sense of fear and uncertainty among displaced workers and employees who remain. But layoffs during a pandemic are even more unsettling and exponentially more difficult as the nation is in quarantine. Developing a strategy, staying motivated and adapting to change will be key. That’s why helping displaced employees with outplacement or career transition services is the best approach during these uncertain times, providing former employees a lifeline, motivating retained employees and giving your company a leg-up when the pandemic passes.