Outplacement: What is it and Should We Offer It

Written by EFP

Outplacement is something that has become an essential part of the employee lifecycle at many companies across the UK but there are many who are still not familiar with it, or the benefits that it can bring to both the employee and the employer alike. Outplacement is essentially a way of providing assistance to a departing employee, whether through redundancy or being otherwise let go, that allows them to access help in planning their onward steps in their career. 

What does Outplacement Actually Involve?

Outplacement services are often outsourced to a specialist outplacement company. This is considered to be a better option than allowing the Human Resources department to do it because they may have been the ones who had to break the news about the employee leaving and it is possible there will be resentment on the part of the employee which will hinder them in benefitting from the outplacement. 

The outplacement services company will typically offer one-to-one or group based mentoring which will look at the transferable skills of the employee and evaluate whether they require any upskilling in order to find the next step in their career progression

They will review the CV of the employee and help them to write a more effective CV, as well as review their online presence and ensure they are familiar with best practices for networking on LinkedIn and various other large recruitment websites. The assistance also extends to preparation for job interviews and practice on writing covering letters. 

Sometimes the confidence of the employee will have been eroded by being told they are being let go and it is the job of the outplacement service to bolster the confidence of the employee, help to banish impostor syndrome and self-doubt, and assist them to see their achievements in a better light. This in turn translates into better outcomes when looking for the jobs that best fit their onward journey and the next steps in their career.   

What are the Benefits of Outplacement to the Employee

The employee has the benefit of having access to experts who are solely focused on their success. That is the point of outplacement, to prepare the employee for their future success. The measure of how successful outplacement has been is whether the outgoing employee finds new employment quickly or not in their chosen field. 

Outplacement used to be reserved to the upper echelons of the company but it has become more and more common for it to be used to help employees at any level to progress in the right direction on their career path. Being able to call on this service is a big advantage over other job seekers who may be looking for the same jobs but without the benefit of a dedicated specialist helping them with their applications. 

Many employees who go through the outplacement process have been with the company for a large number of years and either through redundancy or otherwise being let go, this is a whole new world to them. If you have worked for a company for over ten years, the job market of today will seem like a jungle and knowing where to start will be hard. 

This is where outplacement services really come into their own, explaining and simplifying the processes and letting the employee know that although things have changed a lot, they can still do well with their job hunting and find something else quickly.   

What are the Benefits of Outplacement to the Company?

Companies can find it difficult to go through a period of restructuring, particularly when they have to let people go who have been dedicated to the company’s success in the past. Outplacement makes this process slightly easier as they are giving the departing employee something of value in order to help them to successfully move on and find something that will suit their skill set. 

Reputationally, it can also be a good thing to institute outplacement at times of restructuring. A large number of former employees going to other companies in the same field and complaining about how they were treated can have an adverse effect on the company’s reputation and can also cast doubt about their future viability if rumours start spreading about why they needed to downsize so drastically.

The benefit of outplacement is that it can help the employees who are leaving to understand that everything that could be done for them has been. It shows a much more caring face than just getting a box with their belongings and being shown the door by security. It speaks of a much more ethical and caring attitude at the top and that is something that can actually help to attract some of the top talent. When word spreads that this is a perk that is offered to employees if they have to leave, the company will be well-placed to take their pick of talent in the industry. 

Although it is becoming more common to use outplacement services, there are still many companies that haven’t yet embraced outplacement to help employees who are moving on.

Should my Company Use Outplacement Services?

The answer to this largely depends on the field that your company operated in and what size it falls under. If you are part of a corporate giant then you should absolutely be considering adopting outplacement if you aren’t already using it. It makes sense in larger organisations as the costs per use can be smaller and a contract with an outplacement company to cover all employees can work out to be far less expensive because of the number of people covered. 

SMEs of around 50-500 can also benefit greatly from outplacement but below that the costs per person can perhaps verge into the prohibitive. Outplacements can either be billed at hourly rates or as a wraparound package and obviously, the more employees included, the cheaper the rate per employee will be. It is additional outlay at a time of financial difficulty but if reputation means a lot to you and you value ethical dealings with employees, it could be a good fit for you.

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