Ill-will can cost millions: consultant

If someone left an IT firm feeling ill-will towards their former employer their knowledge of clients and others in the industry could cost the employer millions, argues outplacement consultant Graeme Duhs.

If someone left an IT firm feeling ill-will towards their former employer their knowledge of clients and others in the industry could cost the employer millions, argues outplacement consultant Graeme Duhs.

Auckland-based Duhs of Right D&A, part of international HR consulting firm Right Management Consultants, says companies who recognise and value the contribution made to their firm by employees need to support their staff when redundancy occurs.

“They should offer them support because the people who are leaving can have potential impact on their client base, their suppliers or their remaining staff,” he says. “Looking after people leaving is of very strong value to the brand and reputation of the firm.”

Right D&A recently worked with an IT firm who made a man redundant, believing the staff member was expecting it and would take it well. But Duhs says the man was unhappy and angry and “needed rescuing”. Duhs says best practice in cases like this is to employ an outplacement consultant who will work alongside the manager as he or she breaks the news. The manager then exits, leaving the consultant behind, gaining “a clean break and allowing the [redundant] person to vent their feelings”. The consultant and the redundant person then meet up the next day to work on finding a suitable replacement job.

Duhs says finding work is not a “core competency” for IT staff, so they can learn from the experts in areas such as making contact with recruiters, networking, producing a CV and interview skills.

“People can shoot themselves in the foot if they don’t do it properly,” he says.

It may not just be departing staff needing such support, but also those left behind.

“Firms need to look at providing change management support so people remaining stay productive,” he says. IT companies also need to look at retaining staff, executive coaching to develop key people, as well as leadership development and team-building.

Industry cultures have changed in just a few years and those who invest in their staff are more likely to succeed, he says.

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