One of Purple Ink’s clients, DePauw University, is a premier private university known for its rigorous curriculum and commitment to the success of each student. Lately, higher education has been at war, battling to boost enrollment and balance budgets amidst heavy competition.
In 2019, DePauw University learned that to stay competitive with their peer and aspirational institutions, there would need to be some changes, and in a time when many educational institutions are failing financially or closing their doors, they would have to right size their staff.
DePauw embarked on this challenge knowing that taking care of their employees was first and foremost. In their research on how to best conduct the reductions in staff, they were referred to Purple Ink to help guide them through the process.
We offered a multi-pronged approach involving training the staff on how to conduct the notifications, and most importantly, working with those employees who were losing their jobs. DePauw is very embedded in their community, and they knew that it was going to be an emotional blow to the community, the people losing their positions, and those remaining.
Most organizations offer a small severance and limited or no help with outplacement. We worked with our client to create a package that was head and shoulders above what most companies do when downsizing or rightsizing; outplacement assistance was a key part of that offering. DePauw wanted to give their employees the best start toward a new career. We were able to offer them a high touch solution involving group training and personal coaching for each employee affected.
In meeting with DePauw, the empathy for their team was apparent from the beginning. Delivering a personalized experience was crucial. We created a completely customized training program for the managers that gave them the tools and expertise to conduct their roles with more confidence. Employees were trained on how to search for a job and introduced to career coaches who provided individualized guidance. Some employees took advantage of an assessment to help them determine new career paths or give them insight into their unique strengths. Our coaches guided them from resume to interview to salary negotiation.
When the day came to deliver the news that there would be job eliminations, it was difficult. No one likes going into work and breaking bad news to their team. By conducting training ahead of time and working closely with our client, we were able to mitigate risk by preparing the team for what to expect. Although it was an emotional day for the whole transition team and the community, the day went smoothly. None of the potential worst-case scenarios came to fruition and any minor bumps were handled with grace.
DePauw felt that the process went well, and they were more confident with us there to guide them through this challenge. Later, we returned to do additional training and work with their teams as they realigned their roles and responsibilities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have had to make tough decisions to stay in business. If your company has had to eliminate positions and you’d like assistance, please reach out to Purple Ink. There are many legal concerns around who handles the process and how, and we know the best practices for reducing negative repercussions.
After a reduction in staff, remaining employees may feel a sense of uncertainty, and they are watching how you treat their former colleagues. We can help you with the messaging to your employees and make sure you are treating those who are leaving well, in addition to taking care of the ones remaining. A comprehensive outplacement strategy can be used for groups or even when you part ways with individuals. As with every project, Purple Ink will use our expertise to create a customized approach that supports your culture and values. Let us know if you’d like to learn more.