What is Outplacement?

Outplacement is an employer-provided service to help staff who have been made redundant, move on to the next phase of their working lives. This might be new employment, self-employment, a new business venture, or even retirement. Outplacement is sometimes also called ‘career transition services’. It can be offered to all levels of staff from senior executives and directors right down to junior workers.

How does Outplacement Work?

Outplacement is a service that benefits employees and is usually provided by the employer, although not necessarily directly; many companies use specialist outplacement services which are hired in according to staff needs.

Outplacement can help smooth the path during the offboarding process, a time that is often fraught with difficulty especially if the loss of employees was unexpected or not foreseen. Outplacement lessens the load for the employer and offers an impartial and non-judgemental service to staff, minimising any reputational damage.

Outplacement can be provided on a volume basis or as part of individual severance packages. It offers a wide array of services that can be tailored to suit the specific needs of employees and the industry they work in.

What do Outplacement Services Include?

Outplacement services include a whole host of support and advice for employees who are moving on. Packages can vary in what they contain, and different services can be offered within the same company to staff at different levels of seniority. Here are some of the key elements: –

  • Group workshops to address specific issues or needs
  • 1:1 coaching and counselling sessions
  • Phone advice and ongoing support
  • Specific help with updating CVs and resumes
  • Mock interviews and coaching sessions
  • Support to evaluate different job offers
  • Negotiation with a prospective future employer
  • Ongoing support during the onboarding process in a new role
  • Seminars that consider self-employment or starting a new business
  • Pre-retirement planning and preparation

Outplacement can be whatever an employer wants it to be. The outplacement services presented to employees facing redundancy differ from one employer to another. That’s the great joy of outplacement, it can be tailored to specific business requirements.

It’s important that employees understand that outplacement is not there to find them a new job but what it will do is help them through the process of redundancy and allow them to make the positive next step on their career journey.

The Benefits of Outplacement

It might seem counterintuitive for an employer to spend what can be a significant budget on services for staff who are leaving the company but there are some key benefits.

If the business is continuing to trade then outplacement services can minimise any reputational damage, important when you do decide to recruit again. No company wants to feel there is an odour of negativity hanging over the organisation and that it’s not a recruitment favourite when it comes to picking out the best talent. This can be an inevitability of making staff redundant even if the business case is sound and there was no alternative – mud sticks.

If you are making a lot of staff redundant then this can lead to a challenging atmosphere in the workplace. Even if only a few are going, it can still impact morale. Outplacement can smooth the path and mean fewer disgruntled employees who can make life difficult for those who are staying. The provision of outplacement services has a positive impact on those who are remaining, important if an employer wants to avoid an exodus of staff they actually want to keep.

Outplacement can reduce the likelihood of employees contemplating legal action for unfair or wrongful dismissal. Some staff will consider this challenge whether they have a case or not simply because they feel aggrieved and badly treated. The provision of outplacement services can sweeten the pill.

Outplacement helps staff find new work more quickly so can shorten the whole redundancy process, taking it from something long drawn out and painful to a short-lived and positive experience.

So, are there any drawbacks to outplacement services? The main one is cost but many outplacement providers will work to set budgets. There are also ways of stretching a budget to make it go further, for instance, by offering group sessions rather than 1:1 coaching or placing more reliance on phone support instead of face-to-face.

Finding the Right Outplacement Services

Not all outplacement service providers offer the same things so before you make a shortlist, you should be aware of the specific elements outplacement can offer and which ones best suit your company. Here are just some of the services that may be on offer: –

  • 1:1 career evaluation and coaching
  • CV writing and preparation
  • Advice on digital presence such as preparing or upgrading a LinkedIn profile
  • Group workshops to explore specific topics or themes
  • Skills assessments
  • Help with interview techniques including mock sessions with feedback
  • Access to telephone support
  • Remote document access such as templates for CVs and application letters
  • Topical webinars on areas like managing money
  • Help with a different pathway such as starting a new business or becoming self-employed
  • Job search tools
  • Assistance with negotiating new contracts and pay awards
  • Networking advice
  • Retirement planning

The best value for money is usually offered by a service provider who can tailor a package or packages to suit your staff’s needs. This means you can choose certain elements which are the most helpful for your employees and not waste time or money on services they just won’t use. Remember, a good outplacement provider will always keep you in the loop and provide measured feedback and data on former staff placements so you can evaluate just how successful the programme has been.

We provide a comprehensive range of outplacement services with an enviable reputation and past portfolio across a range of sectors and industries, helping employees to move forward on their career journeys. Our services include all aspects of outplacement provision, bespoke for just a few staff or at scale for large numbers. We also offer dedicated redeployment, change, resilience and pre-retirement services.

Get in touch with one of our professional team today and see what we can do for your business.

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