One of the comments we often hear when organizations are downsizing one or more individuals and contemplating the offer of career transition or outplacement assistance is “We don’t need to have you on-site for the notification.  We’ll handle it internally and just advise the individuals to contact you.”  Is this the best choice?  Are there benefits to having a Career Transition professional on-site for the notification?  If so, what are they?  Let’s look at it from the perspective of everyone involved … the exiting employee, the notifying leader, and the remaining employees.

Benefits to the Exiting Employee

Loss of employment ranks right up there with other major life losses in terms of stress levels.  This is true for everyone.  Reactions and emotions may be further amplified depending on whether individuals have been through job loss before and what is going on in their lives at that particular moment.  Separation, divorce, a sick child, a dying parent, or even a particularly challenging commute can all have adverse impacts on reactions to the “loss of job” news.  Actual reactions may be completely unexpected and/or “out of the norm” for each individual.

  • Remember that the exiting employee’s reaction will be the final and most lasting impression many former co-workers will have of the individual.  If the individual handles it badly and shows it, they could end up damaging their reputation, sometimes irreparably.  An on-site Career Transition professional provides an independent voice of reason and gives the exiting employee a chance to vent safely and confidentially.
  • An on-site Career Transition professional will also assist individuals with immediate concerns such as “What will I tell my family?”; “How will I pay my mortgage?”; “I don’t deserve this!” and/or “How will I find another job?”.  We’ll provide structure around next steps, work with the individual to start to plan a way forward, and ensure they have a strategy to communicate with family, friends and their network that will both protect their reputation and leave the door open for future meetings.  The relationship is established here and continues to build as we work through their career transition program.
  • We’ll then ensure the individual has a plan for leaving the premises or escort them off the property depending on the organization’s preference.  We’ll make sure they get home safely either on their own or via taxi, and we’ll make arrangements to follow up with the individual within 24 hours.

Benefits to the Notifying Leader

Notifying Leaders benefit from varying amounts of assistance with the process depending on what is going on in their own lives and their experience/comfort level with delivering this type of news.  No matter what, leaders will be going through some level of stress.

  • Career Transition professionals will walk through the notification logistics, confirm collection of organization property, and clarify the process for exiting employees to obtain their personal property.
  • We will also support Leaders on the “softer” side.  Sometimes it’s a simple “How are you doing?”.  Depending on the response, we may walk the leader through the career transition program, so they understand the level of support provided to their exiting employee.  We may also roll-play the message delivery with the leader and develop plans for how to respond to the multitude of potential reactions.

Benefits to the Retained Employees

Retained employees will go through varying emotions as well.  Some of these could include guilt, anger and denial.  They could also be concerned about further downsizings and/or additional workloads.

  • Retained employees are likely to communicate with exited employees.  If they see/hear that the departed employees have been treated professionally and with respect, the organization will likely see less impact on morale, productivity and unplanned exits of top performers.
  • Career Transition professionals can also be called upon to assist with crafting internal messaging, providing leader support for communicating changes, and handling communications with third party suppliers and customers.

All in all, our experience is that an organization’s hiring and exiting processes have the most crucial impact on an employee’s experience with and, ultimately, opinion of an organization.  The exit experience is the last, the most lasting and the most critical.  Help protect your brand by providing on-site notification support.

Visit our Career Transition page for more information.

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