The Importance of Outplacement Services in the Midst of Layoffs and Retrenchments

In the first half of 2024, layoffs have surged across various sectors, reflecting ongoing economic turbulence and shifts in market dynamics. The technology industry has experienced significant downsizing as companies grapple with over-expansion and adjust their workforce in response to declining revenues and changing consumer behaviours. In Japan, Toshiba recently announced the elimination of 4,000 domestic jobs (6% of its local workforce). Additionally, the company plans to relocate some office functions from Central Tokyo to Kawasaki, a city west of the capital.

In Singapore, the first 2 months of the year started with layoffs across different sectors. Lazada made headlines for retrenchment of 100 employees. Shortly after, Google’s APAC headquarters, followed with about 190 retrenchments – accounting for about 5.5-6 per cent of their workforce in the Republic.

The financial services sector is also affected, with many firms streamlining operations due to rising interest rates and economic uncertainty. Morgan Stanley recently announced the reduction of 50 investment banking jobs in the Asia Pacific region, with at least 80% of the cuts occurring in Hong Kong and China. HSBC has also followed suit.

In response to the surge in layoffs, many companies are increasingly turning to outplacement services to support affected employees and mitigate the negative impact of workforce reductions. According to The Economic Times of India, companies in the technology, IT, ITeS, eCommerce, startups, pharma and healthcare, BFSI and retail sectors are among those seeking to assist affected employees by engaging with outplacement service providers.

So, what exactly are outplacement services?

Outplacement services offer a range of career transition assistance, including resume writing, job search strategies, interview preparation, and networking opportunities. By partnering with an outplacement partner, companies aim to demonstrate corporate responsibility and maintain their employer brand, even during difficult times.

These services not only help displaced workers find new employment more quickly but also contribute to preserving morale among remaining employees by showing that the organisation values its workforce.

Download Links’ Employee Outplacement Guide here!

Why are leading businesses choosing to use outplacement services?

  • Being a responsible employer:

Being a responsible employer means taking actions that reflect ethical standards and a commitment to employee welfare. This includes providing fair severance packages, offering outplacement services, and supporting employees through transitions. Such actions demonstrate social responsibility and can enhance your company’s reputation both within the industry and the wider community. Responsible practices can also lead to better employee morale and loyalty, which can be crucial for long-term success.

  • Stabilise the workforce:

Stabilising the workforce during and after layoffs is essential to maintain productivity and morale. Clear communication, transparency, and support for affected employees can prevent panic and uncertainty among remaining staff. This helps maintain focus and motivation, reducing the risk of further turnover. Providing resources and counselling can help remaining employees adapt to changes and feel confident in the company’s future, thereby stabilising the overall workforce.

  • Protect your employer brand:

Protecting your employer brand is crucial, especially during layoffs or restructuring. An employer brand is the reputation your company has as a place to work, and how it is perceived by both current and potential employees. Providing outplacement services and support during layoffs shows that your company values its employees, even when they are leaving. This can help maintain a positive image, making your company attractive to future top talent and ensuring that remaining employees feel secure and valued.

  • Cut future hiring costs:

Reducing future hiring costs is an important consideration for any company. By handling layoffs with care and offering support to departing employees, you can maintain good relationships and potentially keep the door open for re-hiring skilled workers in the future.

  • Prevent legal disputes:

Preventing legal disputes is critical during layoffs, as mishandled terminations can lead to costly lawsuits and damage to the company’s reputation. By following legal guidelines, offering fair severance, and providing adequate support to departing employees, companies can minimise the risk of wrongful termination claims and other legal issues. Clear documentation and transparent processes ensure compliance with labour laws and help protect the company from potential legal challenges.

Outplacement services can help a company navigate layoffs with greater sensitivity and effectiveness. Here’s how Links International helped a client successfully with a tailor-made outplacement programme:

A Global Electronics Household Brand

  • Background

A multinational consumer electronics company, with a workforce of over 240 thousand employees worldwide, needed to lay off over 378 corporate function professions. The employees were quite emotional after learning about the redundancy and worried if they could still secure new opportunities.

As management previously experienced lawsuits and turbulences during the layoff process, they wanted to ensure there was no commotion.

  • Process

Some of our client’s employees were part of the mostly long-serving with not much exposure to work outside of their specialist industry. Their niche skill-set meant that finding new opportunities could be problematic.

To prevent extended financial and mental problems, Links needed to brush up their profiles and provide career advice for their next steps. To do this, Links engaged with an occupational psychologist.

  • Results

After consultation with our team, 92% of employees became more positive and 87% of the participants landed their new job within 6 months. Links provided the workshops to train up their employees and connected hundreds of opportunities with their desired employers. Links also kept a positive morale between redundant and remaining employees.

As businesses in Asia adapt to an ever-changing market, the strategic implementation of outplacement services during restructuring and downsizing is becoming increasingly common due to layoffs and retrenchments. Incorporating these services into your workforce management strategy reflects a more responsible and considerate approach. Planning to restructure your company soon? Reach out to us to learn more about our outplacement services – our experienced recruitment team is ready to assist you!