WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from Lee Hecht Harrison provides insights on severance and separation practices to help employers and employees navigating today's economic environment. Lee Hecht Harrison is the global talent development leader in connecting people to jobs and helping individuals improve performance.
The study, which gathered responses from 650 human resources professionals, found that companies surveyed were nearly twice as likely to have reviewed their severance policy in the past year (66%). While findings show that practices have remained generally unchanged between 2011 and 2008, it is interesting to note that in 2008, 24% of respondents reported using a graduated scale to calculate severance as compared to a meager 19% who reported using a graduated scale in the 2011, highlighting the fact that tenure isn't necessarily the driving factor when determining severance as organizations consider other factors when establishing their policies.
"Survey results show that employment agreements have become more influential in determining severance in the last three years and agreements are now being seen as a high priority item on the strategic agenda of most successful organizations," noted Peter Alcide, President and Chief Operating Officer of Lee Hecht Harrison. "Given the uncertainty of today's economic environment it's more important than ever when negotiating a compensation package to address the issue of severance benefits before signing an agreement," suggested Alcide.
Alcide noted that the majority of respondents indicate their organizations offer outplacement to all levels of employees as a standard component of their severance packages. "What we found in our research is that when designing a successful outplacement program 90% of respondents felt in-person seminars, meetings and coaching were the most important elements in the program. What was striking is that only 2% of participants thought technology was the most important resource in an outplacement program; a significant and telling sign that even in the digital age, human interaction still reigns supreme."
Alcide warned that in today's competitive market, it is important that organizations understand the value of consistent severance and separation practices "This year's study provides a clear sense of key benchmarks organizations can use to update or create severance programs to remain competitive in today's environment and ensure they are building and protecting a reputation as an employer of choice, while also providing outplacement support that offers the right blend of technology and face-to-face contact that gets people back to work faster."
Other insights and interesting trends that emerged from the study were as follows:
- Similar to 2008, nearly two-thirds of organizations surveyed indicate that they have a written severance policy. Half of respondents also report that their organization has an informal policy.
- In 2011, 85% of companies don't have a process by which employees can appeal or negotiate their severance package, an increase over 2008.
- Only 9% of organizations surveyed stop severance payments as soon as an individual finds new employment.
- Consistent with 2008, approximately half of respondents in 2011 (48%) report that their organization rarely provides severance pay to employees terminated for performance reasons, and roughly one-third of organizations do not provide severance pay at all when termination results from performance reasons.
- Outplacement is still considered a major component of severance policies with the majority of respondents (67%) indicating that their organization offers outplacement, either full or partial, to all levels of employee, with those at higher levels being more likely overall to receive it.
- 56% of respondents said that the top reason for providing outplacement is to try to maintain positive relationships with their workforce.
ORC International conducted this study on behalf of Lee Hecht Harrison in March 2011. A total of 653 HR executives, representing a broad cross section of industries and company sizes, participated in the survey. To learn more about Lee Hecht Harrison or to download a copy of the 2011 Severance & Separation Practices Benchmark Study, please visit www.LHH.com
About Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH)
With over 270 offices worldwide, Lee Hecht Harrison is the global talent development leader in connecting people to jobs and helping individuals improve performance. LHH assists organizations in supporting restructuring efforts, developing leaders at all levels, engaging and retaining critical talent, and maintaining productivity through change.
Lee Hecht Harrison is a part of Adecco Group, the world leader in workforce solutions with over 6,000 offices in over 70 countries and territories around the world. For more information, please visit LHH.com.
About the Adecco Group
The Adecco Group, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is the world's leading provider of HR solutions. With approximately 33,000 FTE employees and over 5,500 branches, in over 60 countries and territories around the world, Adecco Group offers a wide variety of services, connecting over 750,000 associates with well over 100,000 clients every day. The services offered fall into the broad categories of temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing, consulting and outplacement. The Adecco Group is a Fortune Global 500 company.
Adecco S.A. is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN).
SOURCE Lee Hecht Harrison