Out­place­ment: show­ing the way

Many com­pa­nies in In­dia are pro­vid­ing ca­reer tran­si­tion sup­port to their em­ploy­ees to help them find a new job

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - INSIGHT - Van­dana Ram­nani van­dana. ram­nani@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

In the Os­car- nom­i­nated film Up in the Air, Ge­orge Clooney plays the char­ac­ter of a high-fly­ing out­place­ment coun­sel­lor whose job is to fire peo­ple at the be­hest of cor­po­rates who don’t want to do it them­selves.

“It’s noth­ing per­sonal,” he tells one em­ployee. “This (the fir­ing) can show you the way and even help you chase your dream of be­com­ing a chef,” he tells an­other.

Sev­eral com­pa­nies in In­dia, es­pe­cially bank­ing, en­gi­neer­ing, tele­com and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy firms, have made

A still from the film Up in the Air in which Ge­orge Clooney plays the role of a tran­si­tion spe­cial­ist

many jobs re­dun­dant fol­low­ing a re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise. But in­stead of hand­ing out a ‘rude’ pink slip, they are util­is­ing the ser­vices of out­place­ment com­pa­nies that not only help em­ploy­ees get a new job but also en­able them to re­alise their true call­ing. What out­place­ment pri­mar­ily does is to en­sure that the exit is smooth and the good­will of the em­ployer re­mains in­tact. In many cases, em­ploy­ees have even read­ily re­joined the com­pany that helped out­place them. The ex­er­cise also serves as a great re­ten­tion tool be­cause of the pos­i­tive im­pact it has on the high po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees, per­haps the first ones to start look- ing out when lay­offs take place.

Su­san Vohra, 31, who worked with an IT re­search firm as an HR head for over three years, was asked to seek help from a ca­reer tran­si­tion com­pany when her firm de­cided to limit the scope of her role. Less than two months into the coun­selling ses­sions, she was of­fered the role of an HR head with a global IT com­pany. It was while re­ceiv­ing train­ing with the out­place­ment firm that she re­alised that she per­formed bet­ter in larger or­gan­i­sa­tions. She got a bet­ter idea of the en­vi­ron­ment suit­able for her from these ses­sions. “Some­times a third party pro­fes­sional in­ter­ven­tion helps you re­think your pri­or­i­ties. What I want to do in the fu­ture be­came clear through dis­cus­sions dur­ing these ses­sions. It also made me de­cide that af­ter ac­quir­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for more than 15 years, I will do some­thing on my own,” she adds.

Why is it nec­es­sary?

The big­gest im­pact of ca­reer tran­si­tion ser­vices is on the em­ploy­ees who con­tinue to be in the sys­tem, points out Chaitali Mukher­jee, coun­try man­ager, In­dia, Right Man­age­ment, a com­pany that helps cor­po­rates man­age their em­ploy­ees’ ca­reers.

Ca­reer tran­si­tion helps in retaining high per­form­ers be­cause they re­spect the way the out­go­ing em­ploy­ees are treated by their com­pany. Hence, it’s a smart move to pro­vide ca­reer tran­si­tion sup­port not just for the im­pacted em­ploy­ees but also to man­age re­ten­tion and en­gage­ment of ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees, she adds.

Ca­reer tran­si­tion is a win­win for both em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers as it helps build good­will for the lat­ter. “Many em­ploy­ees have read­ily re­joined us when we have reached out to them. It’s the trust and bond­ing with the com­pany that counts.

The fact that the com­pany did not dis­card them but took care of their long-term as­pi­ra­tions helps,” says Kr­ishna Bha­gawan, di­rec­tor HR, Mo­torola So­lu­tions.

Over the last few years, more than 400 em­ploy­ees of Mo­torola have availed the ser­vices of an out­place­ment com­pany. Out­place­ment be­comes nec­es­sary when a com­pany needs to bal­ance the as­pi­ra­tions of em­ploy­ees with the busi­ness re­quire­ments of the com­pany, he says.

The ob­jec­tive is to make em­ploy­ees of the com­pany cope with the change and give them proper op­por­tu­ni­ties so that they are pre­pared for their ca­reers. The cost is gen­er­ally borne by the com­pany and is part of the busi­ness re­struc­tur­ing bud­get.

“Out­place­ment has been done across lev­els but we have found that it takes longer to out­place em­ploy­ees at the se­nior level as lat­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties are less since many com­pa­nies pre­fer to grow from within. They are there­fore, given more ad­vanced no­tice and a higher time frame for tran­si­tion,” he adds.

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