The Benefit You Should Be Asking For, But Probably Won’t
By: Richard Butz
You lost your job because of a downsize, layoff, or position elimination. The company offered you some severance pay, apologized for “having to do this” and wished you good luck in your job search.You are unemployed!
When you lose your job, feeling hurt, angry, vulnerable, or even betrayed is normal. For most people, work is more than just making a living. One’s job influences how we see ourselves as well as how others view us; it gives us structure, purpose, and meaning. This why a job loss can be a so stressful. Beyond the unknown of going out into today’s job market and the loss of income, losing a job can mean a loss of professional identity, diminished self-confidence, and the loss of one’s social network as well as the end of a familiar daily routine. Most people need some support in their career transition, no matter how up-to-date one’s resume is.
We don’t often consider the benefits we might need upon our exit from a company when we’re negotiating our hiring terms, but you should. Most of us recognize that we’re not going to stay at the same company forever, yet we fail to negotiate like we will eventually leave. It’s important to consider and advocate for the benefits you’ll need at your departure from the organization, too. A critical benefit is outplacement services that include a personal career coach to help you in your career transition – especially when your departure isn’t your choice.
But what if you’re already facing losing your job and you didn’t negotiate the benefit in advance? When is it too late to ask for outplacement?
The short answer is its never too late to ask for outplacement benefits, but you must advocate for yourself; Don’t wait for your boss or Human Resources to offer it. Chances are they won’t offer it at all.
Self-advocacy happens to be a skill that people, especially women, lack more than any other competency. It is not something we do frequently, nor are particularly comfortable doing. We fear our former employer will say “no” or they may think we are a disgruntled employee who is not satisfied with their severance package. You don’t get things you don’t ask for. You can’t let the fear of rejection or failure stop you from speaking up for what you need to succeed in your transition.
Our company data shows that individuals with outplacement land in new jobs quicker than their peers and over 80% land in jobs they would classify as a “career enhancement”. If you’re struggling to figure out how to advocate for outplacement as a part of your severance or even in a compensation package, here are some steps to prepare:
How to Self-Advocate:
- Know what you want. Ask for outplacement services that includes a professional career coach who will provide one-to-one coaching and support to you until your job search is completed.
- Know who you are. Start the discussion by saying, “I need your help,” or “I need your support”. Remind them that you were a good employee and have documents that validate your performance while employed. Now, what you need is their help getting one additional benefit added to your severance package.
- How to ask for it. Schedule a meeting with your former boss or with HR – whoever you think will be most receptive to your request. Remind them that the company takes great pride in their culture, and they say their organization is a “great place to work”. By providing you with this additional benefit as a part of the departure package, they can demonstrate the organization cares about you and its people beyond your employment with the organization.
Self-Advocate for This Benefit:
Remember, you performed well while you were employed. The organization touts their great culture. Now they have an opportunity to make good on those claims and treat you with respect as they transition you out of the organization. You are entitled to this benefit, advocate for it.