10 reasons why your company needs an outplacement scheme
Letting go of employees is always tough, but it’s also the time for your HR department to shine. HR leaders can provide the best possible support during any redundancy process with an outplacement programme.
What is outplacement?
An employee using an outplacement service may have been unfortunately ousted from their previous position and, therefore, in much need of a guide to help them resettle in a new position.
Outplacement is a service that provides just that. Outplacement services are respectable organisations that aim to help employees who are in the process of leaving their current job, be that voluntarily or involuntarily.
Outplacement, also often referred to as ‘career transition’, assists exiting employees by offering the necessary support for them to re-orient themselves in the job market. Outplacement facilitates the terminated employee’s quest to find a new post.
It is usually provided by an independent third-party in partnership with your organisation. The service is normally paid for by your employer. If your company does not have an outplacement scheme, you can still find different firms that offer support for a fee.
Outplacement schemes can be used by individuals or catered to work for large groups.
Why might I want to use an outplacement service?
So, we understand the definition of outplacement, but still, what is the meaning of outplacement?
Outplacement services are most often used by employees who have been made redundant. Redundancy is the compulsory or voluntary dismissal of employees in an organisation, often caused by substantial loss of business and revenue, leading to a need to scale back.
Redundancy has unfortunately become part and parcel of the industry. It is something that all companies should prepare for. As a HR professional, outplacement schemes should be something that you’re aware of.
What are the benefits of outplacement support for professionals?
1. Staying ahead of the latest market trends
There are many reasons why outplacement support can benefit exiting employees, but the main gist of the service is that it makes sure they are ahead of the latest market trends.
A key perk of outplacement is that it preps exiting employees for the journey ahead, rather than just packing their bags and throwing them into the deep end.
While they may have been trained and coached well throughout their previous job post, there may have been a myriad of technological and industry advancements that they’re not quite ready to face.
Outplacement can provide the necessary direction to make sure they’re up to date on the latest trends and updates in the industry, so they won’t be unfairly disadvantaged in their job search.
2. Career transition
Outplacement can often offer tangible tools for exiting employees job search.
Some firms offer office spaces for those that have been made redundant. Not only does this provide a space for them to effectively search and maybe train themselves for future employment, but it fundamentally helps them maintain momentum and motivation during their job application process.
This makes the career transition much more fluid, as being able to stay in an office environment allows them to avoid getting a little rusty during their employment pause. It prevents any productivity lapse.
With their provisions, outplacement schemes can also help exiting employees with networking. In the recruitment process, for instance, the scheme can help put employees in touch with companies that are looking for people with their skills and expertise.
3. Speeding up the process
Employees who are offered outplacement services by their company statistically resettle 50% faster than those who are not offered the service.
Outplacement support is most effective when it provides employees with as much information as possible – it should communicate all the necessary information on logistics, training, future opportunities, financial guidance and anything else that may be on a job-seekers agenda.
It speeds up the process by taking some of the redundancy stress off of the exiting employees’ shoulders. This empowers them to work towards their next step, rather than leaving them feeling demoralised and demotivated.
4. Help with redundancy
Regarding the latter point, one way in which outplacement can support those made redundant is to provide managers with the necessary coaching to help in the first place.
Companies should invest in training managers on how to not only deliver redundancy news but how to best help their employees following the redundancy. Likewise, it is not only the manager's responsibility but the wider HR and recruitment teams too.
Your HR department and line managers should be ambassadors of the outplacement scheme. It should be made clear who your employees can go to if they are made redundant. If this is communicated effectively, exiting employees can benefit significantly from the scheme and get the support they need.
5. Emotional support
Not only should outplacement services offer practical guidance and advice for bettering employment prospects, the service should also offer psychological and emotional support.
Outplacement is more often than not provided by a third party. This means that any associated workshops or consultation spaces are safe and supportive environments for exiting employees to talk about their fears and concerns.
By having an impartial leader to talk to, the exiting employee will be at ease discussing their worries. It goes without saying that this kind of open-minded communication is a great anxiety and stress buster too.
As well as this, outplacement programmes are useful for effective change management. The services often have employees fill out an employee engagement survey.
Engagement surveys can pull up any red flags within the organisation and clarify any areas where more emotional and psychological support could be offered in the future for current employees. They can also point out any other pragmatic changes that need to be made.
This essentially reinforces the company’s psychological contract, by reassuring current employees that if they were to find themselves in a similar situation, they will be cared for.
6. Financial support
In most exit package agreements, outplacement schemes offer financial support following redundancy. This means that companies have an outplacement service that allows them to contribute a certain amount of money to employees following their dismissal, also known as redundancy pay.
As well as that, consultants working for outplacement schemes should also design a guide for the exiting employee according to their personal financial needs and budgets.
Financial support is a necessary element of outplacement since redundancy can come with stressful financial strings attached.
7. Executive outplacement
Senior managers can gain bespoke coaching and job-hunting support from outplacement schemes too, meaning executive members of staff can also benefit from outplacement services.
At a director level, the job search can get a little bit trickier. For executives, it is often more about connections and networks than training because, as an executive, you are already relatively high up the career ladder. Some outplacement services do offer specialised executive career coaching, though.
Read next: Simple learning and development strategies to catapult your employees to success
Executive outplacement can work on developing the executive’s social presence and help with networking.
The service can connect executive delegates with the right people, and provide access to senior resource facilities, such as memberships to hidden job market boards or private director institutes.
An oft-cited perk of outplacement is the well-wishing bond built up between outgoing employees and the previous employer. The exiting employee, having been provided with useful support and guidance, can leave their previous post with dignity.
Outplacement prevents exiting employees from resenting the organisation due to the ill-fated severance of their employment contract. In this sense, outplacement has a lot to do with employer brand protection.
Outplacement services can include support drafting and editing CVs and cover letters, interview skill workshops, guidance on how to navigate the labyrinthine online job market, writing speculative emails and advice on how to properly fill out an application form.
More and more companies recruit via online applications, which may seem simple at first but can take a long time and require a lot of information. With the necessary training and guidance, outplacement schemes can help exiting employees make their application stand out among the many other applicants.
Most outplacement schemes can be tailored to suit individuals as well as large groups of employees. This means that the services are incredibly flexible, and so can approach clients with personal services, custom-made for their particular needs.
They can be adapted depending on the organisational budget, the location of the employee, their speciality or area of expertise, and on the time scale.
Any final pointers?
To benefit from an outplacement scheme at your organisation, you need to make sure that the one you have in place is of a high enough standard to actually advance any exiting employees in their career transition.
Your outplacement scheme should be separate from the recruitment industry. It’s not just about finding another post.
While the outplacement scheme will assess lots of different career options with exiting employees, it should also include the relevant consultation routes, advice on starting your own business, retirement options and ways to develop your current portfolio to really stand out in the job market.
What are the best outplacement companies in the UK?
Outplacement services in the UK can help accelerate your career success following a short redundancy flop.
Here is a list of a few outplacement companies you may consider contacting to develop your company’s outplacement service.
Renovo is a leading specialist in outplacement in the UK. They provide a simple but effective service which is accessible to all employees, easy to implement and yet results focused. Hundreds of UK organisations choose Renovo to support their employees in career transition.
Renovo have helped over 40,000 employees in the resettlement process. On average, it takes a Renovo client 54 days to find a new role using their outplacement programme.
Another outplacement team you should know about is Right Management. They are renowned for their transitioning services and how they help employees identify their next career move.
They also focus on helping the organisation letting go of their employees. Right Management enable them to showcase these management changes positively. This encourages current employees to stay engaged and committed to their work.
Their goal is to maintain productivity in the workplace, simultaneously improving company culture.
Personal Career Management, who partner with The Telegraph, also offer outplacement services and 1:1 counselling. Their comprehensive programme offers face-to-face expert career coaching, as well as Skype options for those unable to participate in the latter.
They also curate bespoke job search campaigns for individuals, helping present their clients as having the best skills, values and career drives on the market.
Whatever programme your company opts for, outplacement services can be life-changing. They can be the difference between someone finding the best job for them, to remaining unemployed for several months in a heap of redundancy stress and anxiety.Providing an outplacement scheme will not only protect your brand, but it will give your exiting employees the best chance possible at succeeding in their field.