When an employer offers a position to an individual, it usually comes with all the hopes of a long and fruitful relationship between the two. Of course, it does not always work out that way. The reasons are varied — downsizing operations, poor cultural fit, cutting costs — but the results are still the same: someone loses their job, their source of income and security, their professional outlet and in many cases, their dignity.

Previous generations of workers were encouraged to give their best and were rewarded with gainful employment and loyalty from their employers. However, The Great Recession dramatically changed the working relationship for both groups. The days of people working for one company for their entire careers have been replaced with uncertainty on both sides due to technological advancements, ever-changing economic conditions and consolidation in the marketplace.

Most companies will have a time when they need to downsize. Doing it the right way will benefit those affected as well as the organization. Outplacement is a kind and compassionate thing to do for people who are likely facing one of the worst times in their lives.

Is It Me?
When an outplacement event happens, how the experience is felt by the affected employees, the individuals who remain and the key decision-makers within the company can vary widely. When the termination happens, people can be left struggling to understand and cope. Without good communication, people often have difficulty understanding why they were let go and may worry
whether it was a personal problem or if something was “wrong” with them.

According to a study by Stanford University, the impact of being laid off can include emotional reactions ranging from anxiety, sadness, fear and shame to physical manifestations such as fatigue, headaches, weight changes, muscle pain and nausea. Plus, while the company knew the termination was coming for at least a short time, this information is typically a shock for the individual, who may immediately be stressed by the fears associated with the loss of income and productivity. All of which adds to the confusion, feelings of failure and insecurity that people feel when they were outplaced by their employer.

It is About Experiences
In many cases, outplacement services are impersonal and inadequate — access to a website with resources and a virtual coaching session — and serve more to make the decision-makers feel better about letting people go rather than providing actionable, proven services that will help the outplaced transition to a new career.

Depending on the industry and the position of the individual, securing a new position can take anywhere from a handful of weeks to six months or more. Generally speaking, the higher up the ladder and the more specific the skillset, the longer it will take an individual to find a position that is truly a good match and a solid career move that will provide satisfaction and stability.

There has to be something more substantial — more human — for people beyond a library of digital resources. Outplacement services must be far more significant and individualized to be useful. It is clear that offering resources to those who are being moved out from their positions is a good thing, and most companies who work to provide these services are doing so for a good reason and with the best intentions. However, it also is clear that outplacement services have to go far beyond offering a handful of digital resources that the outplaced can browse on their own. The good news is there is a better way; a complete solution that still achieves the objectives of the downsizing while providing a genuinely soft landing for those being moved out and, just as necessary, a positive experience that eases the fears and tensions of those employees who remain with the company.

Learn more about LAK Group’s Outplacement services.

Outplacement. On Purpose.