Effective outplacement services that both soothe the hurt and gets one’s career back on track can be of inestimable value. Of course to the worker but also to an employer anxious to contain the risks inherent in ‘walking’ previously dependable staff members.
Any one-size-fits-all Outplacement program that rubs everyone up the wrong way can create an impact that’s the stuff of nightmares.
Bad news about brands travels fast.
That’s important everywhere. But perhaps nowhere more so than in the charitable and ethical sectors where brand quality equals donor loyalty. And loyalty frequently means dollars.
Hurt, anger, disbelief, denial and depression are all natural reactions to a life change as large as losing a job and means of support.
And of course, much of this (natural) anger is potentially damaging. Sometimes – probably more often than you’d think – there’s an urgent need for counsellors to placate anguished ex-employees as they lash out in frustration and fury – with social media right at their fingertips.
But even if they don’t go viral, disillusioned, formerly loyal ex-employees can (and possibly will) also launch another more insidious attack on your company. And this is via word of mouth. They may not be creating intentional damage… probably just letting off a bit of steam about how life has treated them so unjustly. However, even a few disparaging remarks will swell out of proportion given a little time and a receptive incubator.
And ‘Madvocates’ are just the ones to push it…
Because these people who have been outplaced were mostly loyal employees – perhaps even champions of ‘their’ business – they belong to a group, identified by US researchers as Madvocates. That’s right, former advocates (or brand champions) who are now good and mad.
In a report on word of mouth impacts, these researchers suggest that loyal consumers (or workers) are more likely to give bad word-of-mouth than the general population, especially when things turn sour.
In fact, almost a third of people who were once active champions of their brands/businesses, say they are likely to share a bad experience. And what could be worse than losing your job?
So, outplacement counts: both for the employer and for the person struggling to overcome a major setback to get on with life.
But how do you tell the difference between a really good service and a lesser one?
Lori Sexton, former Principal Consultant at Windsor Group who was responsible for providing personal and practical support, counselling and capacity building to participants in the Windsor Group Outplacement Programs, suggests:
“You need an informed, holistic and completely confidential program that tackles all the problems of someone who is unexpectedly deprived of their job, professional identity, self-confidence and income.”
“I think it needs to be abundantly clear that the support offered is customer-centric and not simply as a ‘feel good’ for the employer,” Lori said.
“The program needs to be compassionate, relevant, sensitive but honest, personal and continuous over time. And it needs to get results – not for everybody but for a good percentage. And those results will need to be monitored so that continuous change can take place.”
Lori is adamant that any ‘shotgun’ or group counselling sessions can exacerbate the damage.
“People who are already displaced and hurting feel even more maligned,” she said. “Everyone has a fear of becoming a number. And that’s what these big sessions do, they take away a person’s individuality instead of building it up.
Lori says that another good way of judging the worth of an Outplacement Program is to look at what people are saying about it.
“At our Windsor Group office, we have numerous testimonials (that you can view) along the lines of this lovely letter received recently,” she said.
“…. Just wanted to thank you for your unwavering support during my time in-between opportunities.
You were my very own private cheer squad, and I always knew that you would give sound and practical advice in response to any questions I had. Your input into customising my resume was invaluable, and the sample responses you helped me with really gave my confidence a boost when I needed it most.
I didn’t fully appreciate when I was first made redundant how challenging it would be to find a new, suitable role and the time it would take to do this.
Thankfully, I really feel that I have landed in the just the right role for my skills and I’m really looking forward to making a success of this new challenge.
Thanks again for all of your support – I’m looking forward to staying in touch and attending Windsor Group’s networking functions in my new role.
I would really recommend your services to anyone in a similar situation…”
If you’d like to find out more about the individually-tailored Outplacement Programs offered at Windsor Group, you can speak with Executive Consultant, Jane Fisher on (07) 3211 0001 or click here.