The success of relocations after the ERE: future for employees and savings for banks

The collective redundancies of the banks are followed by relocation processes that help the workers to return to the labor market.

Branches of several banks in one of the new neighborhoods in the north of Madrid.

The bank is starring in these months a strong adjustment of employment that is going to leave on the unemployment lists more than 17,000 skilled workers. To try to give an outlet to this workforce (and because This is required by the Workers’ Statute), the entities are hiring human resources consultants to implement relocation plans with the aim of trying to find work for those who will be unemployed after executing their respective Employment Regulation Files (ERE).

These are programs that are voluntary for workers, but mandatory for entities. The Workers’ Statute obliges all companies that carry out collective dismissal procedures for more than fifty affected employees to launch an external relocation plan with a minimum extension of six months.

This plan must include vocational training and guidance measures, personalized attention to the affected worker and active job search. Of course, companies subject to competition are exempt from this obligation.

The banks, due to this legal obligation, are using the services of consultants as Adecco on Randstad to try to ensure that the maximum possible number of those affected find work. In fact, CaixaBank and BBVA, which are negotiating their adjustments with the unions these days, just as Santander did in similar past processes, have promised to relocate 100% of the affected workers.

They do it for the good of their employees, but also for their own. When companies carry out a collective dismissal of these characteristics and have benefits, are obliged to compensate the State for the extraordinary cost in benefits that the sudden entry into unemployment of thousands of people entails. Thus, the more former employees find work, the lower the cost of this compensation, as union sources recall.

Retraining and job search

When facing these massive placements, the first thing that human resources consultants do is help workers to “accept” dismissal, a “new situation” for many of them, who have accumulated decades of experience in a single company. . This is how he explains it to Invertia Natalia March, Director of Operations of Lee Hecht Harrison (Adecco Group), the firm in charge of relocating Santander’s last two EREs.

Throughout the process, each candidate is accompanied by a consultant from the firm who assists them individually and who is assigned based on their motivations and the sector to which they belong.

New logo of Swiss Adecco Group is seen at its headquarters in Opfikon

New logo of Swiss Adecco Group is seen at its headquarters in Opfikon
ARND WIEGMANNThomson Reuters

These kinds of processes are “totally beneficial” for workers who are forced to disassociate themselves from their company through an ERE, according to March, since having support in the job search implies “a greater guarantee of success.”

Not in vain, the average time it takes to find a job through an outplacement program for an employee who leaves a company due to a collective dismissal is six months, while it takes twice as long if you do it on your own, according to the experience of Lee Hecht Harrison.

March details that, after this phase zero, the first thing that is worked on is the personal brand of the candidate. “We define the professional objective, which can be continuity (seeking a similar position), rupture (do something completely different from your previous job) or a third, which is to set up a business or something on your own,” explains March.

After discovering what future the candidate wants to look for after the ERE, the next step is to work on the tools that will help him find a job, mainly his resume and your LinkedIn profile.

“Hidden Market”

In a second phase, the preparation of the person for the job search would be developed. March explains that so much work is done on “open market”, that is, the published offers, as in “hidden market”, which are those that do not come to light and that are accessed mainly through the network of contacts, but also through positioning against head hunters or spontaneous applications to companies.

The firm then guides the candidate through a verbal and non-verbal communication work as preparation for future job interviews and, in the current context, not only in person, but also virtually.

These outplacement agencies, as March continues to explain, also work on the “connection with the labor market”, the search for offers and contact with companies and intermediaries to publicize the profiles of these candidates who have been affected by a collective dismissal. .

To face a process of these characteristics, at Lee Hecht Harrison they have a team of more than one hundred consultants.

change industry

In a context like the current one, in which many banks are carrying out strong personnel adjustments and in which more branches are closed every day, it can be very difficult to find work for all the employees who leave through these adjustments within the sector. financial, so those affected will have to be willing to change sector or city.

Most people are open to changing sectors or to work in related sectors. Sometimes it is true that if the candidate has an important specialization, he will have more opportunities in a continuous sector, so we have to see if the preferred sector is hiring, ”says March.

Is such an adjustment of employment in Spanish banking necessary?

Is such an adjustment of employment in Spanish banking necessary?

In this sense, the firms in charge of these relocations also offer training employees affected by a collective dismissal.

“If we see that the sector is demanding a series of knowledge that can be covered with training, what we do is advise it,” explains the Director of Operations at Lee Hecht Harrison, which also provides specialized training and “options for reskilling“.

Place at 100%

At the moment, the details of the plan that CaixaBank will implement are not known, since it will not be presented to the unions until the next meeting of the negotiating table, which will take place next week. Although the bank has already stated its intention that 100% of those affected find work.

BBVA has also done it, which has designed a plan together with the human resources company Randstad to help employees who are affected by the ERE to look for a job in another company. The bank undertakes to find a solution for 100% of the workers who finally leave the bank for a year, although with the possibility of extend the duration of the program to two and a half years, above the legal obligation.

This is an initiative that, as contemplated in the Workers’ Statute, other banks have carried out in recent years. This is the case of Santander, which for the ERE that it launched in 2019 hired Lee Hecht Harrison with the aim of relocating the 3,223 employees who left and the 3,572 employees agreed last year.

The 2019 ERE ended with relocations close to 100%, according to figures provided by the bank, while in the agreement at the end of 2020 the scope cannot yet be known, since not all the planned employees have yet left the bank.

In the case of CaixaBank, in its 2019 ERE, which resulted in voluntary accessions, carried out a less ambitious relocation plan than the current one. Still, the outplacement rate through the program was 87% of people who wanted to continue working and found a new job within an average of four months.

Of these, 64% had a permanent contract since joining the company and the remaining 36% had a temporary contract that later became permanent. For their part, thirteen developed self-employment projects, according to data provided by the bank.

Relocations represent an advantage for workers who are forced to leave the company in a collective dismissal, although the outlook for employment in the banking sector is not very encouraging. The evolution of the relationship between customers and their entities, which is becoming more digital every day, the profile of the employees that banks are looking for is changing, which is increasingly directed towards engineers or mathematicians. A painful process that, for the moment, will take more than 17,000 jobs ahead this year alone.