HYDERABAD: Workforce restructuring is the new buzzword in the IT sector and an increasing number of software and allied professionals are being fired by companies across the board. However, the kind of support that retrenched employees got during the economic meltdown of 2008 & 09 —like outplacement opportunities and assistive support —is not being made available today.
Sector experts define outplacement as a service provided by ‘responsible organisations’ that are keen to support individuals exiting business—voluntarily or otherwise—to transition to new jobs and re-orient themselves in the job market. However, this employer branding strategy is rarely used anymore and several companies are limiting themselves to offering a severance package to retrenched staff.
In the recent times, allegations of coercion and threat to get employees to quit organisations have also been reported. Last year, an audio clip of a Tech Mahindra HR executive threatening an employee to “voluntarily resign” went viral on social media earning the company severe backlash. Recently, about 200 employees of Verizon Data Services India (VDSI) alleged that they were forcefully asked to leave the organisation without prior notice. They also alleged they were escorted during the process by “bouncers and security guards.”
“Many MNCs are being conservative in their intake and lay-off process. Because of this, several MNCs now have poor bench strength and as a result, give less time for their workforce to re-skill themselves,” says Naresh Deevi, Chief Growth Officer of Husys. And this at a time when many traditional roles are becoming redundant; thanks to automation. Overall, experts say there is a negative sentiment among employees. “Enough time is not being given for employees to understand the reason for their removal and that is causing panic. Also, organisations are reluctant to invest in outplacement processes,” adds Deevi. However, other companies claim the trend is slowly changing and that outplacement services are slowly catching up at tech firms.
“Top MNCs, that are considered as the best places to work by employees, are the ones that have good entry and exit policies including outplacement activities. But, a lot of mid-sized and local players are still new to these concepts. It’s only a matter of time before these concepts become popular in India,” claims Joel Paul, Director of Operations at RiseSmart.But, IT employees’ welfare organisations are sceptical about the placement options available through these exercises.
What is outplacement?
It is a practice wherein a company engages a firm to offer assistance for its employees in transitioning from one job to the other. The practice is usually initiated while downsizing workforce through various methods like layoffs. Outplacements usually include career counselling, rebuilding resumes, personality assessment through psychometric tools, and SWOT analysis.