The Essential Outplacement Guide – Why, What, and How

using outplacement services
using outplacement services

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In this article, we will address 3 key questions: (1) why a company can benefit from providing outplacement services to employees that are being laid off, (2) what should be included in the outplacement services, and (3) how to choose a partner who can successfully implement the program in a way that enables a company to mitigate risks, save money, and protect its brand as a socially responsible enterprise.

Why Would We Contract for Outplacement?

Over the past decade, some companies have used layoffs as an aggressive tool to project improved financial performance. WhartonMITSHRMHarvard Business Review, and many other reputable sources have examined the negative consequences of engineered layoffs that in the long run have cost those companies a lot more than they had modeled. This guide is not about that but rather about how providing good care of departing employees even when a business is struggling can bring huge payoffs for an employer.

Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, someone—perhaps many people—have to be let go for the survival of the company. As a result of the recent economic downturn, this is a stressful situation that many HR executives are staring down right now or may be soon.

I will share one of the most effective ways to compensate for the key negative impacts of layoffs on a company: contracting outplacement services.

 As human resource professionals and business owners, you and we are all too familiar with the impacts of layoffs. The biggest concern is the elevated risk of litigation—or even violence—by disgruntled former employees with nothing more to lose. Your unemployment tax expenses will increase as long as your former employees remain unemployed. Then there is the impact on employee morale, with potential drops in employee performance if the employees left behind are grieving for the dire straits of their former colleagues and angry at how the company treated them. The company’s brand could be impacted by these risks, leading to potential loss of revenue and increased difficulty in making future hires.

Contracting with a top-rated company for outplacement services enables you to offer departing employees a lifeline for getting a new job. This minimizes the potential for litigation, reduces your tax costs, and protects your brand.

Treating separated employees—whether at the staff, professional, management, or C-level—with care and ensuring that they are well equipped to rapidly transition to a new job is the purpose of the smart strategy of contracting for outplacement services.

When separated employees are fully supported to find a great new job fast, your legal and security risks are minimized, your brand as a socially responsible company is strengthened, your employee loyalty and productivity are maintained, and your customers remain loyal.

Read on to learn how to gain these benefits by carefully selecting what to offer your terminated employees.

What Should We Offer Terminated Employees?

 using outplacement services to optimize outplacement strategy

While it sounds counter-intuitive, investing in the professional well-being of separated employees can have significant ROI for a company. A small investment in outplacement is a wonderful gift to reward your loyal staff that can also mitigate any risk to the owners.

So, what are some of the proven, most effective ways to implement your outplacement strategy?

Let’s start with how not to do outplacement. When departing employees get cookie-cutter approaches heavily reliant on self-service portals, most will not get the help they need to get into a new job fast and get off your unemployment rolls. Investment in an outplacement service that offers as little as 15% 1 to 1 coaching may fool the media, but your CFO will not be pleased. Many services maintain only 40% retention in their programs. If that happens, you will face high costs for unemployment insurance, not to mention the disillusionment of former and current employees who come away feeling even worse about themselves and their ability to secure a dignified living. After investing the money, you might still come away with negative word of mouth and media coverage— another punch in the stomach of your brand.

The right way to offer outplacement is to engage a highly rated company that combines easy-to-use portal technology with the 5 Ps of successful career transition: purpose, planning, preparation, practice, and perseverance. You’ll want this program to be sustained by professional, strategic, and caring coaching that engages the separated employee in a realistic, self-paced action plan. Departing staff need to participate in the creation of this plan they commit to implement and be competently counselled and cheered along the way.

This approach will a) lift their morale, b) restore their self-confidence, and c) ensure that they will give everything they have to expedite their re-employment. And when they feel good about themselves, you can expect them to feel good about the company that took care of them.

Consider also that most outplacement firms assist with resume preparation, but the value of the resumes they write varies widely. Many use students or offshore labor to lower their costs instead of professional, highly trained resume writers and editors. And in an employers’ market (high unemployment), your former employees will need top resumes to compete.

Where do you find a program that combines competent, caring career coaching with rarefied resume writing services? And when should you contract for outplacement services?

In the next section, I will answer these questions as well as share a unique option that can not only save you more money but also make you more profitable even before employee separation.

How to Choose Your Outplacement Company?

how to choose right outplacement service

Obviously, the career needs and consequently the career management plans for staff, management, and C-level executives are very different. But all these groups share a common need for dignity and self-respect.

Where and how you can find an outplacement firm that meets your criteria for competent, caring career coaching and rarefied resume writing services that can ensure rapid re-employment of separated employees?

The truth is that you will not find the class of service that reduces your costs the most and protects your brand the best among traditional, mass production outplacement firms. That’s because in prosperous times, a traditional outplacement firm cannot afford to sustain the level of specialized personnel it needs to support a downturn. And a firm cannot suddenly and rapidly ramp up after ten years and have the highly trained professional career coaches and resume writers needed to cater to a large group of separated employees. As a result, the “career coaches” and writers you would find in such firms might be struggling life coaches and writers from India or the Philippines. After all, career success specialists do not grow on trees.

Where you do find the truly qualified coaches, resume writers, and resume editors that can ensure the rapid employment of your separated staff is at smaller career coaching and resume writing services firms that operate at a level that can provide outstanding customer service, client relationship management, globally available infrastructure, and of course proven outplacement success.

YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services, a small, local, highly rated, woman-owned business is such a firm. With over a dozen customizable programs tested through the thin and thick of economic upheavals, YES uses only U.S. citizen resume writers and highly experienced career coaches. The YES team is well trained and equipped to cater to the needs of your management team, as well as provide the care and attention individual your separated employees need.

YES is the DC metro area’s top-rated career success company on Google, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau. The employees it has served have, on median/average, gotten a new job in 8 weeks at 14% higher pay after interviewing with 5 organizations and being contacted by 12 recruiters. Half even got 2 offers to choose from!

Let me also share with you about an optional and yet unique innovation by YES—the introduction of career advancement programs for professionals and executives long before the time to lay employees off. With our cost-effective coaching services, you will accomplish two things: First, career advancement programs lead to increased productivity and engagement by employees, more than paying for themselves. Second, if and when a separation is needed, the individual will be far more prepared to take on the challenge, potentially reducing their search time by 3–4 months. That’s money in your pocket from unemployment tax savings!

Finally, when should you contract for outplacement services? You’ll want to get them in place long before you need to lay off a tranche of people. That way, you can road test your contracted company with individuals who need to be separated. And you can put outplacement services in the contracts you offer to sweeten the deal for highly sought talent.

To determine the most effective, customized program for your company, please schedule your consultation at consult or call YES at 202-740-3032. You can schedule a free consultation from which you will come away with a unique strategy that you will choose to minimize your risks, reduce your costs, and attract and retain the best talent.

About the author: 
Michael Akbar

Michael is a certified business adviser and career coach with YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services

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