As thousands of employees have lost their jobs in the ongoing funding winter, startups have put in place outplacement support for laid-off employees to find their next job opportunity. 

While some companies like Vedantu, and Innovaccer have setup such support teams internally, external service providers like Careernet have also been working with companies to provide outplacement support. This support typically lasts for 8 to 12 weeks and can include counselling, CV building, coaching, and mentoring affected employees.

“In both the Indian and US contexts, outplacement support is a crucial aspect of the layoff process and helps the employees in getting their next job quickly. It is also a positive indicator for the next employer, as it shows that the layoff was a business decision rather than a performance-based one,” said Anshuman Das, CEO and co-founder Careernet.

One of the many unicorns who have laid off hundreds of employees, edtech major Vedantu, had set up a dedicated team to make the transition as smooth as possible for laid-off employees. “The team assisted with comprehensive outplacement support, and helped over 240 employees find the right opportunities and embark on a new professional journey,” said Simriti Goel, Chief of Culture Office, Vedantu.

The edtech company had to let go about 1000 employees in 2022. Similarly, healthtech unicorn Innovaccer, which had 245 employees, had been able to place 40  per cent of the impacted staff through its outplacement efforts.  

Mohammad Saqib, Global Head of Talent Management, Innovaccer, “ An outreach program was created for the impacted employees.  Our in-house recruiting team made a list of companies that were recruiting and presented them with employees that would potentially fit into their positions, which accelerated the 50 per cent placement. In addition, we shared the database with external consultants (of course, with the consent of employees) which ensured employees were exposed to additional opportunities outside.”

Pay packages 

Das noted that the compensation secured by the employees at their new organisation varied based on the employee’s role, industry, and current salary. “While some employees have been able to secure similar pay packages, others have received minor increments, and some have had to accept salary cuts. It is a diverse situation and it can be concluded that the outcome is dependent on individual circumstances,” he added.

“It was a mixed bag of instances in this case. We were able to assist some laid-off employees with getting placed in organisations that were willing to match or raise their salary package, while we had a few opt for freelancing to suit their personal needs and work from home preferences,” said Goel.

Adding to this, Saqib said, “The market has drastically changed in the last 4 - 5 months.  Impacted employees in the previous cycle did manage to get raises on the current packages. I recall some of them even had multiple offers. However, as of today, the market is flooded with multiple impacted employees across geographies from different companies; it is too early to say what will happen in the industry this time (in terms of pay packages).”

Besides outplacement services, many startups have also reached out for opportunities for their former employees internally. Additionally, some companies extend the health and life insurance coverages for laid-off employees for a few months. While stocks may not be vested for startups, companies still strive to provide support wherever possible. 

“Besides our efforts revolving around outplacement, we extended comprehensive support through career counselling sessions, negotiation training, mock interviews, skill mapping, and helping them spruce up their CVs and resumes,” said Goel.  Similarly, Innovaccer also tied up with a consulting firm to help employees with career counselling, interview readiness and resume building.