Providing assistance to exiting employees helps employers save costs and complete the redundancy procedure with less interruption to business, by portraying a good image to stakeholders. How can HR go the extra mile to ensure that redundant employees are treated fairly and respectfully during a stressful and challenging time?
Further resources for HR
1. Target support at the right people
When it comes to allocating assistance, employers should base the decision about who receives support in a fair and inclusive way.
However, employers may find that some employees do not want or need access to support. There are a range of reasons why an employee might need little or no assistance, including that they have:
- a clear plan about what they want to do next;
- decided to retire; or
- negative feelings towards their employer following their redundancy.
On the other hand, certain categories of exiting employees are more likely to need assistance. These include:
- long-serving employees, who are likely to have suffered the greatest negative emotional impact and will have been out of the job market for a long time;
- middle-career employees, who are likely to be in established jobs and have financial responsibilities;
- employees who are new to the world of work, such as younger apprentices, graduates, and school leavers; and
- employees with a particular specialism or in a senior role, who are likely to find re-employment more challenging as they may be looking in a small pool of opportunity.
2. Provide effective in-house support
To promote cost efficiency, there are some aspects of assistance that can be provided in-house, as long as adequate resources are available to ensure that they are delivered effectively.
Services that are suited to in-house provision include:
- access to occupational health, employee assistance programmes and mental health first-aiders;
- information packs that include sources of support and job-seeking advice;
- training by suitably qualified members of staff to increase chances of re-employment, such as CV writing;
- mentoring or coaching by suitably qualified staff members to address any developmental needs, discuss future employment options and set goals; and
- access to internal and external e-learning platforms and other development sites to increase knowledge and skills.
3. Think about engaging outplacement providers
Did you know?
Employers have a legal obligation to provide employees who have at least two continuous years’ service (by the time their notice is due to expire) and have been given notice of redundancy with a reasonable amount of paid time off work to look for new employment or make arrangements for training for future employment.
Employers that are engaging outplacement providers should consider researching and meeting with several providers before deciding which to use.
It may be appropriate for the employer to work with multiple outplacement providers based on employees’ needs and the capabilities of the various providers.
For example, the employer might work with an outplacement provider for general outplacement services and another specialist provider, such as one that offers CV writing services. A rigorous selection process will ensure that employees receive the help they need, and that the employer gets value for money.
Employers should consider employees’ individual needs when determining which outplacement services to engage. For example, employees may benefit from detailed programmes covering:
- one-to-one career coaching to support the employee with career decisions;
- practical issues, including how to job search within advertised roles;
- CV writing; and
- advice on how to get the best out of LinkedIn.
Alternatively, employees may gain more benefit from less detailed, shorter and perhaps more cost effective programmes that focus on giving guidance around the practical steps when applying for jobs.
4. Consider alternatives where outplacement is unaffordable
Realistically, some employers will not be able to afford to contract out outplacement assistance. However, they can still help exiting employees with free or less costly assistance, including by providing details about sources of information or advice services.
There is a wide variety of free or low-cost advice, support, information and training available to employees who have been made redundant.
Employers can compile and distribute a resource pack of up-to-date local and national reference material relevant to assisting exiting employees, particularly where outplacement is not an option. An online version may be an easy alternative option.
It is important that the employer customises resource packs to the needs of each employee as much as possible and keeps the amount of information manageable to ensure that the recipient does not feel overwhelmed.
Such resources are likely to increase employees’ confidence in their ability to compete for jobs and encourage proactive job searching.
Benefits of supporting exiting employees
- Maintaining the internal and external reputation of the organisation: In assisting exiting employees, organisations can maintain good community and investor relations and maintain the employer brand. They can also help to ensure that their organisation remains attractive to good employees.
- Improving the wellbeing, morale, and retention, of remaining staff and reducing absenteeism levels: Where employers assist employees, this decreases stress among retained managers and other members of staff and helps to maintain performance levels.
- Reduced likelihood of employees challenging the decision to dismiss: If employers provide employees with assistance in dealing with the effects of redundancy, the employees are less likely to issue proceedings in the employment tribunal, reducing legal costs and time spent defending claims.
- Upskilling staff: There may be an opportunity to upskill and train employees at risk of redundancy with a view to deploying them elsewhere in the business and upskill remaining staff who may be involved in the outplacement process.