Why Invest in Outplacement When Conducting a Reduction in Force (RIF)?

“Why should organizations invest resources in outplacement services when planning a reduction in force?”

This is a common question that is asked when people learn I work at Keystone Partners and what we do. I understand the reason for the question as investing in outplacement services may seem counter-intuitive, especially during a RIF, when you are looking to cut costs and save money. However, it makes good business sense to provide outplacement support to your impacted employees for a number of reasons.

Providing employees with outplacement support has several benefits to the organization. Let’s explore some of these benefits and the ROI.

Benefit #1: Turn Employees into Loyal Alumni

Providing outplacement support and giving your departing employees the most positive an experience possible can better position your organization for the future. These impacted employees have the potential to be future customers, vendors, boomerang employees, and ambassadors for the company.

Benefit #2: Protect the Company Brand and Reputation

Companies that do not manage the transition well and provide little or no support to their impacted employees can cause significant damage to their public image and reputation and disenfranchise remaining employees.  Customer or client relationships could also be negatively impacted. Cutting corners on such important decisions almost always turn out to be a poor investment. Conversely, providing outplacement benefits and support to your departing employees during such a critical time enhances the organization’s brand with both employees and customers. Today there are online forums such as Glassdoor that provide departing employees with a voice in the marketplace. These employee reviews, along with media accounts of employees’ negative experiences when being laid off, leaked company memos, etc., all have the potential to either strengthen or weaken your employer brand based on how the layoffs were handled and the news was delivered to employees along with how the impacted employees were treated on their way out.

Benefit #3: Increased Engagement and Morale

When remaining employees see how well laid off employees are treated on the way out it increases employee engagement, retention, and overall morale. These departing employees are friends and colleagues of the remaining employees, many of whom have worked together for years. When RIFs are managed poorly, it can impact the performance and culture of the organization for years to come.

Benefit #4: Minimizes the Risk of Costly Litigation

Employees who feel mistreated during a RIF may choose to pursue litigation against their former employer, which can become very expensive for the organization. Outplacement support and career coaching can reduce the perception of being mistreated, thus minimizing the chances of this type of litigation.

Benefit #5: Lowers Unemployment Costs

Some studies suggest that those who take full advantage of outplacement programs, like those offered by Keystone Partners, can land new roles in 50% less time. Not only does this benefit the impacted employees, but also saves the organization money on unemployment costs.

Benefit #6: Aligns with the Organization’s Values

Finally, supporting impacted employees with outplacement is not only the right thing to do, but is also a great way to signal to employees that the organization cares about them and will stay true to their values even during unforeseeable challenges. Unfortunately, there are many examples over the past year of RIFs conducted without this alignment to company values.

Keystone Partners: Your Outplacement Partner

Providing outplacement as a benefit to departing employees is a smart and strategic business decision. While this may seem counter-intuitive there is a significant amount of data supporting the fact that outplacement benefits provide a strong ROI to employers.

Keystone Partners has over 40 years’ experience supporting organizations with their RIF planning and execution and providing outplacement and career transition support to impacted employees. With the best consultant to participant ratio in the industry, the most one-on-one consulting time, and an average NPS score of over 80, Keystone Partners provides the highest quality career transition consulting in the industry. Interested in learning more? Contact us today to find out how Keystone’s team of career transition experts can help your team navigate the difficult and sensitive RIF process.


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