Published: 01st October 2020
From fired to fired up: How India's companies are using outplacement to cushion the blow for employees they let go of
RiseSmart's outplacement opportunities in collaboration with the new-age firms like Swiggy and Airbnb aim to ensure that their employees are taken care of even after letting them go
Top bosses, if sacked, are finding it difficult to get a job that will pay them as much while it is comparatively easier for the mid-level employees to get back on track with even a 'decent hike', said Joel Paul, MD of Randstad RiseSmart who are providing outplacement opportunities in collaboration with the new-age firms like Swiggy and Airbnb who understand why it's important to treat their outgoing employees well. Outplacement, or assistance with finding jobs for employees who have been given the pink slip, is particularly critical as over 5 million salaried people lost jobs in the aftermath of the lockdown.
RiseSmart partners with HR teams and provides onsite support, specialised training and secure reporting in a results-oriented approach. In the case of Airbnb and Swiggy, RiseSmart will be offering outplacement support to the impacted employees, providing complete access to their career coaching services, content and a personalised job search. Paul takes us on a tour of the job market during the pandemic to demonstrate the need for outplacement. Here's an excerpt from the interview:
What is outplacement? It's not something we have heard much of in India. How does it really help?
It's is a support system for individuals exiting an organisation to find a new means of livelihood. I say new means of livelihood because it is not necessary that it should be another job but an opportunity to explore anything from entrepreneurship to consultancy. It gives a cross-industry perspective at times when not everyone is seeking to hire and there is an economic downturn. We have individual coaches who help the individuals realise what is the best option for then and what they would want to work on. We prepare them for the market in that way that they can make an informed choice based on their liabilities and needs.
What's in it for the companies? Why will they do it?
There are no legal requirements for outplacement in India. Organisations are going above and beyond to ensure that the ones who are being let go are taken care of. The company perception is very important. Even when they are letting people go the are telling them that they care. Economies turn around and when they want these mid-level employees back, they should not feel like the company did not do right by them. Secondly, the employees still working will be observing how their colleagues are being dealt with. This makes a huge difference in the engagement of the organisation overall. Freshers are also observing this and they would want to work with a company which treats its employees well.
You have been analysing the job market for quite some time. Which is the most popular sector during the lockdown?
The technological sector still remains the one with the highest employment ability. But this is a subjective issue. If someone loses a job in pharmaceutical sales, they can now shift to sales for another sector. Pharmaceutical companies might not be hitting right now but retail is going strong. E-commerce is also doing well. Your core need is to get employed. Suppose, one has a core skill — writing. Generally, they would shift to content writing jobs but this is a time to experiment with lateral adjustment shifts. For example, there's a lot of scope in career content writing where you have to write someone's CV or their LinkedIn. This is a secondary skill you have. It really depends on the individual.
There have been reports of underemployment where people had said that they are being paid less in their new job even if they are doing the exact same thing. What has been your experience?
Unless one is moving into a sector with considerably low margins, there is very less chance of them being paid less than what they actually were being paid. Mid-level executives are even getting considerable hikes of 30 per cent on an average. For freshers, there's a lot of supply but less demand after lots of companies stopped on-boarding freshers. That drives the price down. But as you go up the ladder it gets a lot harder to transition with hike. Since senior-level executives come with a higher cost they might have to take a pay cut or a designation cut during the transition.