CareerSupport365, a leading and innovative provider of outplacement services in Australia, polled white-collar workers who had been made redundant. *
Here is what we found:
- 78 percent of respondents felt their employer did not share enough information about the changing business conditions which led to their redundancy.
- 90 percent of respondents felt guilty or ashamed about being let go.
- 60 percent of respondents felt angry with their employer for putting them in this situation.
- 95 percent of respondents did not want to see a career transition consultant on the day they were made redundant.
- 40 percent of respondents had been offered outplacement services.
- 67 percent of respondents who were not offered an outplacement services program would have accepted one, had they been offered.
- 92 percent of respondents intended to keep in frequent touch with their former work colleagues.
- 70 percent of respondents were embarrassed to be seen at an outplacement service provider’s office.
What can we learn from this?
1. When your business looks like it might be making people redundant, then it’s best to keep staff informed. Employees pick up on clues of impending bad news such as the arrival of management consultants who are engaged to conduct a business review; significant sales downturns; new leadership and so on.
2. It’s best to clearly explain the reasons for the redundancy. If it is business related, then articulate that clearly.
3. In the case of redundancy, reinforce how the decision has nothing to do with the individual’s performance, but everything to do with the business situation.
4. Keep the employee posted about their possible re-deployment, if that is a genuine option.
5. Be aware that most employees are going to feel bad about themselves. So provide them with emotional support that they can access on their own terms while they transition/depart. This includes those that have been made redundant and also those that stay.
6. Be aware that most employees are going to feel angry with their employer. So it’s paramount that employers do what they can and acknowledge this feeling. Act compassionately. Support them because it’s right to do so.
7. Note that anyone can have a public voice nowadays through the many social media channels like FaceBook and Twitter and sites like Glassdoor and JobAdvisor. Do what you can to mitigate employee anger and any ensuing damage that could be made to your brand and reputation.
8. Give people the support of a career transition or outplacement services program.
9. If you do provide outplacement services, don’t waste your business’s money on paying for the outplacement consultant to meet the people on the day they received the news of their redundancy.
10. Expect that your remaining staff will keep in touch with some staff members you have let go – either personally, via social media or via e-mail. So how you treat your departing employees will impact on the engagement and productivity of those who stay.
11. Don’t be surprised if there is push-back to take up a career transition program which involves commuting to an outplacement office for delivery of the service. Make it easy for staff to access. There are many outplacement companies in Australia. Where it is inconvenient for them to access, think of the option of providing ‘virtual outplacement’ support.
12. For the staff who have been made redundant, being able to connect with their career transition consultant also impacts the success of their outplacement service program. Provide the option of accessing a suite of services that the affected person can access online from home or anywhere else.
* Sample size and composition: 186 white-collar workers, ranging from middle to senior level management. Respondents worked in Sydney and Melbourne in IT, health services, professional services, and hospitality. Research conducted between November 2014 and March 2015, and June 2015 to November 2015.
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