Few occasions are more stressful in work than when you have to tell a colleague that he or she no longer has a job. Ranked by psychologists as the third most stressful situation we are likely to face in life, job loss is becoming a greater and greater reality as the recession bites.
In spite of this, many companies are not prepared for the cost that employee lay-offs bring, which are not only emotional, but also financial. In Thailand, with comprehensive labour protection regulations in place, companies need to be aware of these and plan any downsizing they do with precision.
To help companies, we have outlined the process as ‘The 4 Cs’ of employee outplacement, and hopefully it will give a clearer view of what managers need to do to make employee layoffs as painless as possible, not only for the employee but also for the company.
The first C is Contractual. Before any decision to downsize, thorough due diligence needs to be done on a company’s contractual obligations to its employees under Thai and international law. One common issue that clients face is that the redundancy procedure provided by law should be implemented properly by the company, (e.g. offer for voluntary resignation, proper notification and announcement, no discrimination, proper severance package), to avoid further claims by the terminated employees.
The RSM Legal practice is headed by Khun Pardorn Suchiva, who is well aware of the difficulties many companies face when laying off employees. ‘Objective number one for companies, I would say, is don’t go to Court, because while the court system is impartial, litigation may be both lengthy and expensive’.
Going to court can also be disastrous from a PR point of view. Most worrying of all for companies, they can easily spin into a class action with potential awards totaling tens of millions of Baht if disgruntlement is widely shared. This is why, having completed their due diligence, companies need to manage the process with care. They need to follow the second and third Cs of ‘Communication and Coaching’.
Having decided that they are safe contractually, some companies still slip up by not communicating effectively to the employees and mismanaging what we call ‘the outplacement process’, the ultimate goal of which is to assist employees to find new work as soon as possible.
As stated above, being made redundant is stressful, yet it is amazing how many people, once they are guided, are willing to embrace being laid off as an opportunity. The key for us is helping our participants reconnect to their dreams and true potential, and then discover a new path which fits their unique talents and goals, rather than blindly trawling for a new job.
In a recruitment market that is becoming increasingly tough, it’s clear that employees need to be focused, well-prepared and able to articulate their strengths clearly – and that is what the ‘3rd C’ of the process is all about. Most importantly for companies, it gets the ‘outplacement candidate’ looking forward, not back, and replaces the negative energy of the job loss with a new, positive energy from within, which encourages the employee to see his or her circumstances anew and create a comprehensive career plan.
Which brings us to the fourth C – that of Career Progression. Not all outplacement candidates will look for another job. Some will take the opportunity to go into further education. Others may choose to start their own business or take a break from work altogether. But for those who do, having the expert advice and guidance of a professional recruiter is clearly an advantage. As a recruitment company we obviously specialize in finding candidates new roles and this provides a natural link to the outplacement program we offer. Candidates on our outplacement program appreciate the day-to-day guidance and knowledge that a professional recruitment company can bring as well as the awareness of market developments that other outplacement programs simply may not have.
In addition to this, it is critical for the recruitment consultant to have a deeper understanding of their candidates. With the input received from the coaching phase of the process, coupled with existing market knowledge, we can confidently approach employers with strong person/job matches, thereby giving our candidates an edge which clearly makes a significant difference to their chances of being hired. This is something that executive headhunters in Thailand may not possess.
Outplacement is regarded by some companies as a nice-to-have, or a means of softening the blow of being fired. As we’ve seen, a comprehensive outplacement program minimizes the risk of legal action and disgruntlement by moving the outplacement candidate along to the next step of their chosen career path.
RSM is the only company in Thailand offering all 4 components of the ‘4Cs’, listed above. For a free consultation and to find out more about RSM Outplacement please call us at 02-670 9002 or email at email@example.com. RSM Recruitment (Thailand) Limited’s outplacement services Thailand has experienced a lot of success in that part and our expectation is that going forward with the current volatile as a result of COVID-19 economy that more businesses will be faced with the prospect in 2020 and beyond of hiring our services.