Getting it Right When People Exit your Business

Welcome to this 2 minute HR Blast. In recent months we have supported a fair number of clients with large scale redundancy programmes, a few early retirement situations and a number of ‘friendly’ dismissal situations all of which have involved providing support to those employees exiting the business. So, we thought it might be helpful to provide a bit of advice and guidance around supporting those who are exiting.

Who is this written for?

HR, Finance Directors and Financial Controllers & Operations Managers

What are the most common reasons employees exit a business?

  • Your finances are not looking as rosy as you might wish. You recognise that savings are needed and initiate a redundancy project.
  • Things are going really well, but you recognise a restructure is needed to make the most of growth opportunities coming your way! Some roles will be lost along the way.
  • Someone who has been a fantastic employee for many years is now being moved out of the business but you want to be supportive in recognition of their loyalty & service.
  • Someone who has been suffering from ill health or changed circumstances is taking early retirement, but you wish to support them as best you can.

Best practice

It’s undoubtedly best practice to provide people exiting your business/organisation with support in how to secure future employment or start the next phase of their lives, whatever that may entail.

The question is, why should you consider investing in people that will no longer be part of your business/organisation’s future?

Business reasons for offering support

To maintain your positive reputation
With both customers and employees. Handling things well can actually enhance your reputation and it’s well understood that nowadays redundancy is a ‘normal’ part of working life.

To uphold your organisational values
Make sure you are living your values in how you approach any business/organisation review and subsequently how you handle those exiting. Ask yourself will those remaining believe that you and your senior colleagues uphold those values? Will they want to be a part of the business/organisation going forward? This also demonstrates Corporate Social Responsibility i.e. doing the right thing by people.

To keep employee morale up
Thereby reducing any potential negative impact upon business/organisation performance.

To minimise legal complications
Angry or frustrated people are more likely to take legal action against you. Outplacement helps people to focus on their futures, rather than their past. Outplacement therefore encourages positivity rather than negativity, which is what you need when seeking to move forward.

To follow current trends
We’ve heard that in one European country a Career Cheque can be used to pay for 8 hours of job search advice.

To facilitate change
If you already have an outplacement programme in place this can make any future restructuring easier, both logistically and emotionally as your employees know that there is support available.

Common errors when managing exiting staff

  • Forgetting that it’s not just a logistics/cost saving exercise – it’s people’s livelihoods, families, future wellbeing you are dealing with, so taking an overly admin heavy or purely procedural approach could cause more harm than good.
  • Focussing exclusively upon either those exiting or those remaining – the best results come from understanding and accepting that everyone, whether they are leaving or staying, needs to be treated with dignity and care at a difficult time for the organisation.
  • Focussing on short term expedience, i.e. the need to cut costs NOW or conducting meetings by phone instead of putting an hour or two of travel time into meetings to ensure the employee understands they are valued and being considered.
  • Long term short sightedness – if you just focus on the short term instead of looking to the long term, might you be one of those businesses ridiculed in the press for paying people off one month only to rehire them 2 months later.
  • Underestimating what people can do if they feel they have been treated poorly e.g. the old story of a disgruntled car worker welding a spanner into a car’s petrol tank so that it always rattled and so damaged the reputation of the company…

Reducing the impact of Tribunal Claims

Providing outplacement support, as part of a package following redundancy or other dismissal, can help reduce the financial exposure of an employment claim. Loss of earnings is taken into consideration for many claims so the sooner your ex-employee finds alternative employment, the less any compensation awarded might be.

In fact, it would be our advice that in those situations where you are least inclined to support an exiting employee due to their aggression or threats of employment claims, it is most in your interests to do so! Re-employment minimises salary losses. That is in everyone’s interest.

What sort of support might you provide?

For those heading back into employment…

Workshops around:

  • Interview skills (or personal presentation skills)
  • CV and cover letter writing
  • Job search and interview preparation

Other types of training that some provide:

  • Preparing for psychometric testing
  • Understanding competency interviewing
  • The power of positive thinking
  • Creating or building a network of contacts
  • How to set up your own business

One to one coaching

  • Career coaching including psychometric profiling
  • Job interview coaching
  • Change of lifestyle coaching
  • Personal image/self presentation

Presentations

From local recruitment agencies to set out local job market challenges and opportunities.

Administration support for:

  • CV writing
  • Sending off applications
  • Managing interviews

A scary statistic – 75% of jobs are never advertised. So whatever support you provide it cannot solely be around pointing them in the direction of a local or online recruitment company, an online forum or the local Jobcentre.

For those heading into retirement or non working situations…

  • Understanding financial management
  • Making the transition from a 9-5 person to newly retired
  • Opportunities around volunteering
  • The challenges of becoming a full time carer for a family member
  • Keeping your skills and confidence up whilst taking an extended break from work

Exiting staff from the business is not just about following a procedure and then notifying payroll, there is so much more to it than that and so much at stake if you get it wrong.

If you would like support with the employment issues, the paperwork issues, the meetings or the training and coaching, please do call us.

Do you need support with change?

We offer complete, pre-prepared training courses – Bags of Learning. Our Managing Change Bag contains the following modules:

  • Understanding change
  • A plan for managing change
  • Communication during change
  • Employee engagement during change
  • Survivor syndrome – moving on…
  • Applying skills when managing change – comprehensive scenarios
  • Test your knowledge

If you’d like some more information about Bags of Learning email us, or you can view the Managing Change bag here.

The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individuals matters.

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