In the age of social media, brand building has transformed radically. Gone are the days when companies could hone their brand perceptions largely through mission statements and press releases. Today, your brand reputation hinges less on the carefully-crafted content you put out there — and more on the quickly-written opinions shared on social media, job sites, and blogs by current and former employees, customers, and even casual job seekers.
This means creating a positive experience for everyone who comes in contact with your brand is more important than ever — especially in times of major company transitions or layoffs. That is why a company outplacement program is essential for all organizations today.
What is outplacement? It is a service provided by employers to assist departing employees in transitioning to the next step in their careers. By providing these employees with practical, personalized assistance finding new jobs, you not only protect your brand from negative reviews and potential lawsuits, but also strengthen your reputation as a caring, forward-thinking company.
Here are three reasons why outplacement is critical to long-term branding.
1. Outplacement stops negative social media and reviews before they start.
Without a good outplacement strategy in place, a layoff can trigger a sharp nosedive for your brand reputation. That’s because a whopping 66% of people choose to share their poor layoff experiences with others, as we found in the 2015 Intoo Employer Branding Study. On social media, word spreads fast — even in real time — so just one negative experience shared by an unhappy employee can be seen by thousands through reposts and retweets — or even by millions, if the pithy review happens to go viral. This kind of damage to an employer’s image can take years of work to correct.
The good news is that an outplacement strategy can significantly mitigate such risks. By quickly shifting an employee’s focus away from the uncertainties caused by the job loss and toward the possibilities of a supported new career move, an outplacement strategy prevents the worst of employee panic and fear — the major triggers behind negative company reviews.
In fact, our Employer Branding Study found that employees given outplacement or career assistance following a layoff were 38% less likely to think negatively about their former employer. That’s not surprising, considering the fact that good outplacement services often lead to higher salaries.
If a former employee can credit their old company with an unexpected career boost, this can build a tremendous amount of goodwill — and even trigger positive reviews, shares, and tweets.
2. A robust outplacement strategy retains talent — and creates brand ambassadors.
Layoffs don’t affect just those who are let go. Those who stay also go through an often-painful process of watching their coworkers and friends depart — and may experience major shifts in their morale, sense of security, and, consequently, their overall perception of their employer.
By providing outplacement services and giving departing employees job search help, organizations demonstrate all employees will always be treated well and supported as individuals, even as they leave the company. This sense of support leads to an employee’s higher productivity in the workplace and active engagement in company goals — as well as to increased loyalty and positive advocacy on behalf of the brand. Happy employees serve as the best brand ambassadors for the company, sharing their positive experiences on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other online channels in authentic and organic ways.
3. Outplacement services help attract great employees — especially brand-savvy millennials.
Finding good candidates for open positions is a real challenge in this economy. According to CareerBuilder’s 2019 National Survey, 50% of human resource managers say they have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. This is another major reason why a brand reputation management is essential. Our Employer Branding Study found that 91% of candidates seek out at least one online or offline resource to evaluate an employer’s brand before applying for a job. Even more to the point, about 80% of candidates said they would not apply to a 1-star rated company.
These trends apply even more strongly to millennials in the job market, who are twice as likely as boomers and 50% more likely than Gen-Xers to research beyond the company website, visiting an average of two social media platforms or review sites before deciding to apply to a job. Research conducted by LinkedIn — which found 60% of professionals 40 and under are most likely to associate employer branding with job consideration — mirrors our findings.
What do millennials seek when they’re evaluating companies? Aside from pay, culture is the most important factor, according to The Deloitte Millennial Survey for 2018. Thus, demonstrating honesty and ongoing care is essential for attracting, hiring, and retaining future candidates. Providing outplacement services, which shows your company’s respect for employees and concern about their long-term success, serves as an essential benefit to attract excellent millennial talent.
Brand management can seem a daunting and complicated task in the internet age. The good news is that a comprehensive outplacement program that offers robust job search assistance can serve as a key solution to strengthening your brand reputation. Since outplacement is now accessible to and affordable for everyone, companies can provide robust career transition services for each employee facing a layoff — while avoiding negative social media and generating positive word of mouth about your brand.