Why employers should help laid-off workers find new jobs

Most layoffs don’t end amicably, but helping former employees find their next opportunity could be the next must-have benefit for companies that want to preserve their online reputation.

Around 38% of laid-off and terminated employees gave their former employers negative reviews on company rating sites like Glassdoor, according to a survey of 218 HR professionals and 1,369 workers by CareerArc — a California-based outplacement company. A second study by the company says employees appreciate companies who go out of their way to lessen the blow of layoffs; 70% of job seekers said receiving outplacement services improved their opinion of former employers.

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“In the modern world of Glassdoor reviews, company culture is one of the most important parts of an employer’s brand,” says Yair Riemer, president of career transition services at CareerArc. “A company who lays off with empathy and helps people get back on their feet is going to be remembered for it.”

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Riemer spoke with Employee Benefit News about the merits of adding outplacement to benefits packages.

EBN: Why should employers consider offering outplacement services in their benefits package?

Riemer: The faster someone lands a job, the better it is for everybody. It’s great for employees because they have someone helping them find a new job after being laid off — a very stressful, anxious time. But it’s also great for employers as well because you’ll pay less in unemployment, lawsuits and severance packages after conducting layoffs.

Overall, it just makes companies look better. And in the age of Glassdoor reviews, companies that want to hire the best talent can’t afford terrible ratings. People rely on these sites to give them a clearer picture of a company’s culture, which is one of the most important deciding factors for accepting or declining a job today. Laid-off employees are more likely to leave negative reviews, but if your company helps them find new opportunities, they’re more apt to leave on a positive note.

EBN: Won’t employees feel anxious their jobs are constantly on the line if their employer provides this benefit?

Riemer: It’s just like other employer-sponsored benefits. Companies can speak to existing employees and say things happen and that’s why employers provide insurance and other benefits. Now they have one more item to say we take care of you in other aspects of your life. We also offer this same service to employee spouses and partners; it’s something to help us say we value you as an employee.

EBN: What do outplacement services typically provide?

Riemer: We’ll review your resume and search for relevant opportunities. But the main value is not only tools and resources, but having one-on-one sessions with career coaches in person or online. They teach you how to present yourself and to keep things concise — the same way a PR firm will work with specific subject matter experts.

We’ll also help you update your LinkedIn profile; it’s extremely critical because LinkedIn is the de-facto place to assign new roles. First thing we’ll do is update your bio; make sure it’s professional looking. Secondly, and most importantly, we have integration with LinkedIn’s API, and can see your relevant connections. We provide scripts to help you introduce yourself to those people to hopefully get your foot in the door.

EBN: What industries are offering outplacement to employees?

Riemer: We have a few hundred companies working with us, everything from medium-sized to Fortune 500. Accounting, finance and coding are some of the skills we outplace. Oil and manufacturing companies rely on outplacement a lot. We find there’s a lot more movement in this job market, and a higher possibility of potentially returning to old employers; so these companies definitely want to take care of people they may want to rehire.

Traditionally, outplacement has been offered at large companies as a response to a large layoff, but we’re starting to see more companies advertise it as a benefit. We can’t name some of our biggest customers, but the National Notary Association offers our services; and AAA offers them to their customers.

EBN: How can an HR rep justify the cost of adding this benefit to the CFO?

Riemer: The main thing they can do is look at employee turnover rates in recent years, and what potential lawsuits could be brought on against them. Look to see the costs of off boarding, recruiting and training new employees look like for your company. Take these things to the CFO and say if we’re proactive we can probably avoid brand retractors, like laying off employees, while saving the company money.

CFOs like concrete statistics, but it’s also important to convey that the intangible factors are just as important. Outplacement will contribute to positive word-of-mouth, which can result in quicker hires that are done less expensively. And you’ll save on unemployment and severance packages if you help laid-off employees find new employment faster. You’ll also increase morale in current employees.

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