What Are Outplacement Services?
Outplacement Services help recently laid off employees during their time of career transition to find a new job. When an employer decides to downsize, lay off or fire someone, they need to offer that employee help to reenter the job market and outplacement services is a means of doing this. Offering Outplacement assistance is the right thing to do for so many reasons.
Outplacement Services Increases Brand Equity
One reason is if your employee was a dedicated to your firm, they were likely working there for a while and have no clue what it takes to navigate a modern job search. As a good company who cares about its employees you want to ensure the employee has the knowledge and resources to be reemployed.
Secondly, you want to ensure your brand is protected. Word of mouth travels fast and with a constant war for talent it’s important to protect your company brand. One way of doing this is to be known as a company who invests in outplacement services for their employees and does not leave them to survive on their own during a career transition. When you part ways employees will remember that you took good care of them in their time of need. They will say positive things about your brand even in the midst of a career change. Do you want to be known as a company that takes care of its own or leaves them in a challenging time? The choice is yours. Be sure to choose wisely.
Outplacement Services Can Improve Brand Equity
What Should a Business Look for in an Outplacement Company?
Once you’ve made the decision to offer Outplacement Services it’s important to also decide what company you will work with to provide these services. Furthermore, you must evaluate what specific type of help your employees may need.
How will you know what your employees need? You can survey them if you have time, or you can use someone in employee relations or the HR business partner who delivered the layoff news to get some feedback on what the employee expressed as concerns.
I worked as an outplacement consultant for many years and observed how the large firms conduct business as well as the smaller firms. Speaking to a wide network of professionals that offer outplacement services also aided in understanding the common and best practices of the industry.
Deciding what company to select for outplacement services should depend upon a few things, but mainly it boils down to the type of experience you want your employees to have. Do you want your employees to have a high touch experience where they can work with a dedicated career coach one on one or do you want them to have more of a low touch and high technology experience? With a low touch experience, they would have little time with a live career coach and more time using prerecorded webinars and downloadable templates to guide them along their search. While webinars and templates can be helpful, these should be supplemental materials not the basis of the service. The clients I worked with in the past benefited most from one on one interaction with their coach. There are some things you can’t learn from a webinar and you need a person involved.
Webinars Offer a Widespread Reach and Convenience
Secondly, it’s important that businesses consider an outplacement company that can help with the emotional aspects of job loss. Changing careers and losing a job is a stressful time. Emotions can be high, and professionals can feel lost or doubtful as they begin their job search. Some people have spent years working at a company and never had to look for a job. With all these factors in consideration, it is vital to make sure they will work with caring professionals who understand the emotions that come along with job loss and can be experts and patient in guiding the employee through those varying emotions. Also consider that no computer program or webinar will trump the reassurance of a face to face connection with someone as you navigate the unknown. From my experience I’ve seen clients do better when they make the connection with a coach and stay connected. They land faster and feel more supported than watching a webinar alone.
Also, it’s important to find out how much time the outplacement consultants will be spending with your employees. It is possible to pay for an unlimited service while the consultants are given an allotted time by the outplacement company to assist each employee. Just make sure the terms are laid out and the firm is meeting your expectations for your former employees. Furthermore, you want to ensure that the firm selects highly qualified consultants to work with your employees. Do they have any professional certifications, or degrees? How long have they been coaching? Do they specialize in specific industries or are they well versed in many different industries? ALL are questions to consider.
An Outplacement Consultant Can Provide Valuable Insight
What Types of Services can Outplacement Companies Offer?
Finally, when selecting Outplacement services go with the ones that will meet the most common needs of employees in transition as well as the specific needs of your employee population. The most common needs that all professionals in transition tend to require are resume help- whether that’s a re-write or review session with feedback on how to improve the resume. Help with interview skills is also a common outplacement service and is certainly needed. Most people have not interviewed in years because being in a job did not require them to practice these skills. With that in mind you want to make sure the outplacement service not only provides strategies for interviews, but actual mock interview practice sessions.
LinkedIn is also a necessity these days with the majority of employers having a presence on the site and not to mention the recruiters that use the site to find talent on a daily basis. Outplacement consultants should understand the best practices of building a LinkedIn profile that’s searchable and how to build/engage a network on there.
Networking is an Important Element of Outplacement Services
Branding and networking go hand in hand and should certainly be part of outplacement services. Branding is helping employees get clear on who they are and what they have to offer companies. On the other hand, networking would be leveraging your brand to gain resources, connections, etc. while also giving them in return. Majority of jobs are found through networking. Not knowing how to create a strategy for networking can damage a candidate’s ability to move forward. An outplacement company might help introverts know how to network better or teach people how to build a network in general. There are so many directions to go with providing this valuable advice to professionals and that is why it is so important to customize what you need from a firm and be aware of what your employees’ needs are.
Some coaching sessions that can address the specific needs of your population could be starting your own business, retirement planning, or how to become a consultant. When I worked in outplacement there were several individuals who did not want to return to work. They wanted to retire, volunteer or launch their own businesses. Having information like this available to them in coaching sessions and handouts is extremely valuable. Finally, outplacement services typically take place in one or both of these methods. One- a group training session. This is when a consultant comes on site to teach a group of employees how to write a modern resume for example. Some companies may decide they not only want a group session but their employees deserve individualized attention. This is where the one on one coaching sessions come into play and these can be completed virtually.