I wanted to take a moment and tell you about something I am passionate about and very concerned about. Over the last two to three months, there has been a disturbing trend with organizations who, for whatever reason, are letting executives go and providing minimal to no severance and no transition/outplacement assistance. The cuts have been a reaction to healthcare reform and some consultants who see no value in helping exiting executives

This concerns me for several reasons: First, what message are these organizations sending to their remaining employees when they do not give adequate assistance to exiting employees? Second, they are opening the door to increased litigation. Third, where mission is important, does that mission only apply to patients and not employees? Fourth, these individuals are moving into the most, or one of the most, competitive markets we have seen without tools to be successful.

This mentality seems short term driven with no consideration of the trickledown effect or concern for the exiting employee who, in most cases, served the organization well, but are being impacted by things outside their control.

The solution, to me, lies in two areas. One, we need to voice our concern and be heard and, two, every executive should ask for an employment agreement prior to joining any organization. An agreement that provides adequate severance and funds for outplacement/transition assistance, making sure that they have the choice of the firm they want to use.

Executives are constantly asked to make tough decisions and to do so with the best interest of the organization at hand; they need a safety net and an employment agreement provides that. Additionally, if exiting employees have not put an agreement in place they still need to ask when leaving for severance, extension of benefits and outplacement/transition funds to be used with the firm of their choice. I see too many executives leaving money on the table they could use because they forgot to, or will not, ask. In many cases, it will not be mentioned until you ask.

Thanks for listening.

Author: Jim WiederholdJim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.