If you are not entirely sure what outplacement services are, who they are for, and why they are important, you are not alone.
Outplacement is an often-misunderstood concept, perhaps because it is a relatively new practice compared to other aspects of business. Its origins lie in military veteran service transition and programs developed following World War II that sought to help exiting service members prepare for, find, and win jobs in the civilian sector. Throughout the decades that followed, outplacement grew to become a billion-dollar industry, supporting exiting employees from all industries and roles to ease career transition and accelerate the job search process.
Our work tells us that outplacement can be one of the most positive experiences of an individual’s career journey, which, in turn, reflects positively on the employer. We work with thousands of exiting employees every year who report that having the guidance of a dedicated, knowledgeable career coach, along with a comprehensive package of technology tools to guide resume development, social media presence, interview practice, and job leads pursuits, has helped them immeasurably in landing the next right role.
In this article, we address some of the most common questions around outplacement services so you can make the most informed decision for your company’s needs.
Q: What are outplacement services?
A: Outplacement services are a set of benefits an employer provides to its exiting employees in situations of workforce restructuring, layoffs, facility/plant closures, or other circumstances of involuntary job transition. Outplacement services support exiting employees with a varying suite of resources, tools, training, coaching, and other means of support to help the individual find a new job, start their own company, or consider options for retirement.
Q: What is outplacement coaching?
A: Outplacement coaching is a key tool in outplacement services wherein a career coach provides guidance and insights to transitioning employees on such factors as resume development, interview practice, LinkedIn profile, and developing a personal brand. Coaching is especially valuable for those who have not been in the job search market for some time, helping them acclimate to new job-search techniques and technologies and finding the next right role in less time than it would take without coaching.
Q: What elements are typically included in outplacement services?
A: Outplacement firms can offer a wide array of outplacement and career transition support or they may choose to provide targeted services. Here are the most common elements and what we at Bravanti provide:
- Individual career coaching
- Workshops for groups and peer group mentoring
- Career assessments
- Future planning to assess skills and interests
- Job search and market insights
- Access to company research tools
- Resume creation and optimization
- Personal branding with special focus on LinkedIn
- Interview preparation and practice
- Digital presence and social media optimization
- Networking support and guidance
- Job search guidance and support
- Reskilling and upskilling
- Compensation negotiation training
- Entrepreneurial services
- Negotiating a job offer
- Retirement readiness
- Executive Advisory Services
Q: Who are outplacement services for?
A: Outplacement services are generally provided for employees affected by workforce restructuring, layoffs, role elimination, facility/plant closures, or other involuntary job transition. Outplacement and career transition services can also help individuals contemplating a change on their own. Services are provided to both hourly and salaried workers, from entry level roles all the way to the executive and CEO levels. Outplacement services are industry-agnostic and provide benefits to employees despite role, function, or tenure.
Q: Why are outplacement services good for exiting employees?
A: Outplacement services provide an invaluable safety net during an otherwise challenging time. It provides the latest career transition insights and tools at no cost to the individual, when the previous employer is paying for it, accelerating his/her/their time to landing the next right role.
It also provides a unique opportunity for the individual to examine his/her/their career path. Do they want to continue on their current path, or is there a different role or industry they are interested in exploring? Or maybe the next career phase is entrepreneurship? These are all considerations the individual will explore with their outplacement coach, empowering them to take their careers into their own hands.
Q: Why are outplacement services good for employers?
A: As the final stage in an employee’s journey with your company, it is important to leave a positive lasting impression. The benefit your company experiences is four-fold:
- It reduces severance costs and unemployment taxes.
- It benefits the transitioning employee, who is more likely to reflect positively on your employer brand and avoid negative sentiments that could tarnish it.
- Remaining employees see that your company cares for employees at every stage of their employment journey, keeping morale high and improving loyalty and retention.
- It reinforces a positive employer reputation, helping you to attract top talent in a competitive market.
Q: How much do outplacement services cost?
A: The cost for outplacement services varies greatly depending upon your need. Variables often include the seniority of eligible candidates, length of program duration, the types and number of elements offered, the amount of high-touch services chosen, and more. At Bravanti, we create custom packages based on the needs of our clients, crafting the exact offering to deliver excellent outcomes.
Q: Are outplacement services for large companies only?
A: Outplacement services are for companies of all sizes! Solutions are often structured on a per-person basis, allowing organizations with 100 or 100,000+ employees to benefit from outplacement services.
Q: How to select an outplacement services provider?
A: Selecting the right outplacement services provider is as important as selecting any other business partner. There are many different types of service providers in the market, so finding the right fit is integral to the success of your outplacement program. During your search, be sure to include these must-ask questions during the selection process:
- Why should I make an investment in outplacement services?
- What elements are included in the outplacement services?
- What is the provider’s methodology?
- What credentials do the provider’s coaches hold?
- What technology and tools does the provider use?
- How much human engagement will your candidates receive (versus technology solutions)?
- What is the process of pairing a candidate with a coach?
- Is there a guaranteed response timeframe for the coach to engage with the candidate once the candidate signs up?
- If you have a tight timeline, can the provider meet this timeline?
- How will the provider engage with candidates to promote participation?
- How will the provider track and report on program performance?
- What experience does the provider have in your industry and/or geographical region?
- Can the provider share case studies or proof-of-concept for past clients with similar needs?
- If you are a global company, does the provider have global capabilities?
- What is required of my team to implement the program?
Q: How do we get the most out of outplacement services?
A: There are several ways you can optimize your outplacement program. First, you should really understand what you are buying. The critical success factors are how much time the exiting employee is given in the packages that are purchased and determining how much 1:1 coaching they will receive in that package.
Second, HR departments should carefully scrutinize any technology tools they are being offered. The outplacement industry has been disrupted as much as any other industry by technology, but not all of it is up to date or effective, nor can it take the place of human interaction with a job-search coach.
Third, what are exiting employees going to take away from the experience of working with an outplacement coach? Will they believe their company did all it could to help them ease the transition? The biggest benefit of a successful relationship with an outplacement firm is the company’s ability to maintain its employer brand among alumni and the broader marketplace.
Finally, it is very important to encourage candidates to participate in the offering. Exiting employees can get bogged down by the idea of losing their job. The anxiety and fear around what comes next can scare candidates away from the one thing that could ease the transition. Your outplacement services partner will have an engagement strategy but it’s important for your company to actively promote the program’s benefits and outcomes to help drive participation.
Q: Are outplacement services worth it?
A: Absolutely! The tangible and intangible benefits far outweigh the investment!
So, what are Outplacement Services? They’re a lifeline when your people need it most.
With the right outplacement services partner, your exiting employees can leave feeling empowered in their career paths. At Bravanti, we work with each candidate to take a holistic approach to his/her/their future. This means understanding the facts, emotions, concerns, and questions about the next stage in life, while helping them to explore passions, dreams, and possibilities. Our expert coaches work to identify needs and confirm priorities while affirming strengths, goals, and values.
In short, outplacement services can transform a challenging experience into a life-changing career opportunity. These benefits are arguably the driving reasons why companies should invest in outplacement services.
About Emily Reynolds
Emily Reynolds is Bravanti’s Managing Director, Outplacement/Career Transition, and a member of the executive leadership team. In her role, she oversees the operation and growth of the firm’s worldwide Outplacement/Career Transition practice, including Executive Advisory Services. Emily can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Bravanti Outplacement & Career Transition Solutions
At Bravanti, we bring a holistic perspective on change management by helping you take care of both your outgoing and remaining employees with comprehensive outplacement and career services, ensuring sustained engagement and preserving your employer brand. Learn more.