Unprecedented economic disruptions have always had purposeful organisations walking the tightrope especially when it comes to their stakeholders. Divided between altruistic decision-making and declining growth rate, corporations and their leadership are always assessed by the long-term impact their decisions have on business continuity, growth and even, employee engagement. This is especially true for retrenchment, where there is less buffer at hand.

Retrenchment always happens as a result of plummeting sales, low productivity or sudden market instability. Although an unpreferred option, companies should temper its impact on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the employee. It can also spark off a series of communication tangents in the way of other employees who take this as a cue as to what’s in store for them. Damaging as it is to employee morale, untimely communication can affect brand image to a point of no return even if the crisis abates in due time.

Softening the effects of retrenchment has positive effects for both the employee and employer. Enabling talents to transition into a new state where they can be employed or upskilled to take up new roles can be a great differentiator than allowing them to wallow in distress. No company can hope to gain losses by eliminating talents who they don’t care to reinvest in. As a two-pronged strategy, reinvestment in stakeholders (in this case, employees) also pumps investor interest. After all, investors are privy to the way corporations deal with crisis and the post-crisis period. 

Not only does the transition process pivot the strategy from ‘rejection’ to ‘transformation’, it also aids employees overcome their fears and face their next step with the right attitude. As for the employer, this strategy helps them leverage the support of both the departing as well as surviving employees. To transcend the myth that ‘downsizing will further lead to increased revenues’, companies need to first focus on creating ‘employee goodwill’ as a measure of its growth and brand popularity.

For many companies, helping out their exiting talents with transition can be a fairly new experience. There are many outplacement support services firms that cater to this requirement by focusing on the niche requirements of talents and how opportunities in the industry look like. Many executive talents would be far removed from the job-search scenario for years together and these companies can offer unlimited support in finding the right opportunity for them. 

The uninitiated employer might ask why they would want to invest in career transition and outplacement support services at all. The answer lies in employer branding. Here’s how:

  • Outplacement services firms offer companies a chance to stay true to their values and remain purposeful organisations both in word and deed.
  • The less empathetic downsizing decisions are, the more likely employees are to write a lousy review on Glassdoor or express poor recommendations on LinkedIn.
  • Dented reputation, in turn, impacts performance, bottom lines, shareholder interest and employee engagement. Poor exit management can also give rise to labour lawsuits that can financially cripple employers. 
  • By supporting outgoing employees, employers are likely to receive respect and loyalty from existing employees and clients. 
  • Also, departing executives can leave without resentment and mental stress.

Equally supportive to employees, outplacement service firms help retrenched talents by:
  • Evaluating potential gaps, building specific strengths and calibrating performance improvement for new roles. 
  • Restructuring résumés while assessing the talent’s strengths, aspirations and exploring entrepreneurial ideas. 
  • Assisting them to get into quick realignment of routines instead of dwelling on the sudden disruption and endless free time. 
  • Giving employees a chance to work with their support teams throughout the career transition programme until they land a new assignment. 
  • Helping talents stay positive, affirmed and reassured in the new normal, they build healthier perspectives.

At CnetG Asia, we work through a series of personalised, assessments-based programmes that focus on employees and their goals in life. We make sure that we give the candidate a holistic experience that broadens their competency to ride the current wave of uncertainty. Through online assessment tools, shortlisting of opportunities, interviewing techniques and compensation guidelines, we make sure executive talents are better prepared for their next chapter in life.

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