As the labour market in Canada continues to tighten, much attention is being paid to first impressions, such as candidate experience and employee onboarding.
But employers should also be looking at what happens when an employee must exit the organization. And outplacement programs are a tool that can help manage these “last impressions.”
Ninety-three per cent of Canadian HR managers agree that outplacement support is valuable, yet only about half of employers offer it, according to a 2018 RiseSmart survey of 1,000 workers and 253 HR professionals.
This may be a missed opportunity for leadership teams, as many agree that a strong employer brand is critical.
Outplacement can be a significant investment, yet outdated offerings give little in the way of data to determine the true impact and return on investment.
Old-style outplacement still relies on manual processes, spreadsheets and raw data. This requires the HR team to spend time picking out what key performance indicators (KPIs) they can find.
From there, the data is often filed and forgotten, and there is very little information about how terminated employees used these services.
Need for data
It’s no secret that most HR teams are running leaner than ever before. The need for constant analysis of workforce metrics means HR runs on granular data.
By leveraging new outplacement technology, HR can bring manual, unmeasured programs into a modern way of working.
Properly measured, outplacement will produce a great deal of data; and there are four key indicators for assessing the effectiveness of outplacement programs:
Engagement: Engagement is the metric that signals whether terminated employees are signing up for the outplacement offering. Low engagement may indicate a communication problem or an accessibility issue.
Nearly one-fifth (18 per cent) of employees don’t know if their employer offers outplacement, according to a 2018 RiseSmart survey of more than 1,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada who had been affected by a layoff, and 27 per cent of exiting employees don’t use it, either because they didn’t know about or didn’t understand the offering.
Real-time engagement data is key to ensuring former employees are supported and set up to succeed in their job search.
Utilization: Utilization is about measuring which employees are taking advantage of the various offerings, such as webinars, resumé services, coaching and job leads.
These metrics help HR teams assess the overall value of the program by understanding which services work best in their industry for their types of workers.
This allows them to fine-tune the offering and assess any gaps in how the outplacement benefit is communicated before and during a restructuring.
Landing rate: Understanding how long employees take to find a new job is also critical.
This indicator is called the landing rate and is an effective real-time metric for the overall efficacy of the program. Some companies share this data with managers as a transparent way to bolster morale among remaining employees.
A good landing rate benefits the employer brand, too. Employees who land quickly are more likely to feel positively about the company and to post good reviews on social media, or sites such as Glassdoor. In terms of evaluating the overall effectiveness of the outplacement vendor, the landing rate is important.
Satisfaction: Satisfaction measures the overall satisfaction of past employees, and it’s a key indicator of employer brand health. Most human resources teams work with qualitative feedback, such as reputation, and quantitative feedback, such as net promoter score, opportunity to re-employ and online ratings.
Understanding satisfaction and sentiment is important for ongoing recruiting — companies with a poor reputation pay a premium of 10 per cent more per hire, according to a 2016 survey of 1,003 U.S. workers by the Harvard Business Review.
Real-time means real impact
When HR can see how terminated employees are working with the program, they can make better decisions to drive future engagement and utilization.
Immediate insights into how quickly employees land can be used as a benchmark to assess how tight the labour market is, as well as where there might be remaining at-risk roles within the company.
The real-time ability to assess the overall efficacy of the outplacement program allows for necessary adjustments, and demonstrates the return on investment in terms of results, employer brand and willingness to recommend.
For example, 82 per cent of former employees whose companies offer outplacement feel their exit process was managed well, versus 39 per cent where no outplacement was offered, according to the North American RiseSmart survey.
This translates into positive sentiment, which impacts reputation, employee engagement and employer brand.
In fact, 59 per cent of outplacement-supported employees have a positive sentiment about the company versus just 35 per cent among who didn’t get outplacement.
Almost all (92 per cent) of the people who receive outplacement support feel it is valuable, and 73 per cent say they would return to the same employer in the future, found the survey.
Plus, 65 per cent of employees say they would apply for a role at a company that offered outplacement services, according to the RiseSmart survey of Canadian workers.
An outplacement partner can also offer valuable support to HR during a restructuring, letting them focus on the most important tasks.
Finding a modern outplacement partner begins with asking a variety of questions about the technology.
For example: How quickly will aggregated and individual participation data be available? Will there be real-time alerts if a program KPI is not being met? Can the HR team access a real-time dashboard?
Vendors should also offer fully mobile-enabled access to data, along with comprehensive reports and predictive analytics.
Laurie Compartino is general manager at RiseSmart Canada in Montreal. For more information, visit www.risesmart.com.
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