Outplacement Support in Asia – “How different can it be?” – this is a frequently asked question when organisations are attempting to implement global initiatives in their Asian branches, whether it is career transition support, a people development plan or rebranding in certain local markets. Often, the project leader assumes it only requires a few tweaks and modifications to get a project ready for launch in Asia. The fact is, the era of “one size fits all” has long gone. Asian countries differ so much from one another that it requires deep understanding of each economy, culture and legal framework. Consultants who have a deep knowledge of the local job market, combined with careful and detailed planning, are all critical to achieve successful delivery. As the outplacement expert in Asia, Gemini would like to emphasise three points to consider before offering outplacement support on the continent:
Expectations from an outplacement support programme
There is a fundamental difference in expectations from an outplacement support programme in Asia compared to Europe/The United States. In general, impacted employees from the West are more proactive when it comes to career transition; they have more defined career goals in mind, and therefore they tend to be more proactive and focused while searching for their next step. As a result, the career coach often provides a more supportive role while conducting the programme. Whereas in Asia, career objectives or self-development plans aren’t as clear or well-defined in people’s minds. 9 out of 10 times they are solely focusing on “where do I go next?”. Impacted employees tend to be more reactive when it comes to the job search. Therefore, for a career coach, the main focus tends to be more on defining goals and objectives for the employee, setting realistic targets and make sure they follow up on their plans, i.e. a much more leading role altogether.
The differences in social security and unemployment support are also a significant factor. For example in France, an impacted employee is guaranteed to receive not less than 57% of their previous salary for a minimum of 24 months (during the pandemic, the coverage being even higher). Now take the example of Hong Kong, where there are no statutory unemployment benefits at all. On the other hand, the cost of living and financial burden for in Hong Kong is immense (basic cost of living contributes up to 80% of salary). With such great urgency to work and therefore find a new job as soon as possible, it is fair to say the need of offering outplacement support to impacted employees is extremely important.
Difficulty to carry out redundancy
Labour legislation in the West tends to be pro-employees; organisations are required to meet various criteria and conditions to be able to carry out redundancy programmes, and let’s not forget the powerful influence of trade unions, especially in Europe. Meanwhile in Asia, redundancy is often carried out in an easier manner. While there are mild government interferences when it comes to large-scale redundancies, organisations can carry out most restructuring programmes with ease. Redundancy compensation in most countries is much lower compared to the West, with trade unions having hardly any bargaining powers in these situations. Most of the time, it is down to the organisation’s good will or global compensation alignment to offer impacted employees reasonable compensation packages. Fortunately, we are seeing improvement in Asia in terms of redundancy benefits, with a higher than minimum required compensation offered, and a growing demand for outplacement support, which is very much attributable to the increased awareness on employer branding and employee wellbeing.
As the go-to outplacement provider in the region, Gemini does not need to stress how important it is to provide a personalised outplacement solution to impacted employees. Consulting the professionals, understanding the rules and regulations of the local market, and most importantly, talking to the impacted employees to understand what they actually need before committing to a solution, will only have a positive and lasting impact on an organisations’ employer branding.
If you are looking for outplacement solutions for your organisation, get in touch with one of our partners in your local territory.