Making staff redundant is one of the most stressful processes HR departments have to manage. But it’s not just HR staff who experience pressure; those who survive the redundancy process feel pressure too. Fear of redundancy – or disappointment at not being selected for redundancy – can leave staff feeling unsettled. After all, if the axe has fallen once, it could easily fall again.
So low morale and stress are two issues a business would prefer to avoid. However, there are other potential problems it needs to consider too. This includes the company’s reputation, which can take a long time to fix if perceptions become negative. If it appears a business doesn’t care about its employees, it will be hard for that business to attract the most talented staff in the future. This in turn will make it difficult for the business to compete robustly in the marketplace.
This is why businesses prefer to use outplacement services. Of course, the desire to protect the company’s reputation may sound self-serving, but in the end, everyone benefits. Staff who are leaving the company get help in finding new roles. And those who remain have the reassurance of knowing they’ll be taken care of if they find themselves in the same position. HR staff endure less redundancy-related pressure and the company has positioned itself to remain strong and competitive by attracting new talent as needed.
But what’s the main benefit for an employee who’s been displaced? Does outplacement truly deliver the results the employer pays for? Or is it simply a sop used to soothe corporate guilt and shrug off unwanted staff with the least amount of hassle?
The answer to that question lies in the quality of the service provided. If it only pays lip service to outplacement, the results are unlikely to benefit any party. However, a high-quality and effective outplacement service should deliver a far better return on investment for the company and give employees genuine and valuable help in finding a new position.
To understand the significance of outplacement services, it’s important to understand what outplacement assistance includes and how it can help an employee.
London Outplacement’s service
At London Outplacement, the emphasis is on providing structured, focused results. The goal is to get the job hunter off the ground quickly by taking them through a range of small but significant actions that deliver quick wins. This helps build confidence that new work can be found and convince the job searcher of their ability to do the work and get results.
Our focus at London Outplacement is on developing the employee’s ability to sell their services for the highest value. The starting point involves helping employees understand what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing and what value they offer an employer. We do this by taking them through a number of skill and personality tests. This helps the employee see themselves with fresh eyes so they know how they can contribute to the efficiency and profitability of a business or organisation.
Loss of confidence
This process is so important because many employees experiencing redundancy suffer a dip in confidence. This isn’t surprising, so it’s important to help someone re-evaluate themselves and their career.
Besides confidence, many people who suffer redundancy have often been with the same company for a long time. So not only have they got out of the habit of applying for jobs, selling their benefits on their CV and being interviewed, they’ve usually lost sight of how they contribute to the business.
Their sense of their own value is reduced and they start to believe they’re unworthy of being hired into a well-paid and satisfying role.
Here’s the solution: our outplacement service focuses on helping our clients understand what they offer, the benefits they bring and the value they can add to a company they’ve been part of.
We work with them to help build their confidence so they understand their value. Once they believe in themselves and what they can do, they find it easier to present themselves as prospective employees with a strong CV and strong interview performances.
Once we’ve helped a client see their own assets as an employee, we help them put themselves out into the job market. Although this can be challenging, we focus on building the personal resources they need to escape their comfort zone and go get the jobs that inspire and delight them.
How does outplacement assistance work?
How the outplacement process will unfold is largely based on what firm you decide to go with. At first glance, it might look as if they’re very similar, but they’re not.
Some only offer face-to-face outplacement assistance. In this scenario, an employee is allocated a career coach, who they meet in person to get advice and guidance on how to find their next role. The disadvantage of this approach is that it forces the employee to travel to meet their coach. This can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also be a more costly method of delivering coaching and risks not delivering the amount of information and support a job-searcher needs.
Other companies use online resources so the job-searcher can access a range of information, tools, skills and personality tests, and trainings. This is great for flexibility, can leave someone feeling isolated and unsure how to proceed. It also means the employee doesn’t have someone to help them interpret test results — or celebrate with when they achieve successes.
Not all outplacement is provided on an individual basis, however. That’s because some companies offer only group programmes. These can be impersonal and if they involve the employee returning to the office, it can be traumatic. At London Outplacement, we use an online platform coupled with one-on-one coaching over Skype, Face Time or WhatsApp to ensure we can provide outplacement to anyone no matter what their location.
7 key factors in getting the right outplacement assistance
Here are several key factors to consider when evaluating potential outplacement services so you can get the assistance you’re seeking.
1. Provides the right kind of overall outplacement assistance
First, decide whether you’re looking for group or individual one-on-one outplacement assistance. If you want one-on-one support make sure it’s provided virtually or remotely to reduce costs and make it easy to access.
2. Gives individual assistance with writing CVs and cover letters
Some outplacement assistance includes writing a new CV and cover letter, while others help the employee learn how to do it themselves. Which type of assistance is best and most appropriate for you?
3. Creates a personalised job search strategy
Each individual’s career path and job search goals are unique, so a one-size-fits-all approach is always going to be less effective. Look for outplacement assistance that takes the time to work with a job seeker to fully define what they want and need, as well as what unique skills and experience they offer to the employer.
4. Works with individuals for at least three months
For how much time will outplacement assistance be needed and can the service provider offer to work with an individual for that period of time? Bear in mind that the more senior the role the employee has left, the longer they’ll need to find suitable employment. If in doubt, look to provide at least three months’ worth of outplacement assistance.
5. Provides access to online outplacement tools
Online job search tools and facilities are a must in this digital age. Online tools can be accessed 24/7 and from any location so they offer the most flexibility to help the job searcher navigate the core steps in the job search process. This includes career assessment tools, interview preparation guides and salary survey resources.
6. Experience with current job search techniques
It’s important that the outplacement firm is experienced with all current job-hunting techniques as an online strategy will play a key role in the success of the search. They will need to provide details of top online career sites and the ability to ensure keywords are properly embedded within CVs and letters of application.
7. Outplacement fees
Outplacement costs are a key consideration for any individual or company looking to buy outplacement services. Make sure costs are clearly defined and stated so it’s clear there are affordable and relevant outplacement programmes available. Make sure you balance the costs against the criteria set out for selecting the right outplacement company.
Making the decision
Make sure you’re crystal clear about the services being provided, the costs, the venue, any time limits or restrictions, what’s included and what’s not. Always give yourself some thinking time outside of the meeting to consider your decision and any further questions you may want to ask before going ahead.
The right outplacement assistance can be the difference between a smooth transition into your next role or a struggle to find any job that meets your needs.
Choose carefully and make sure you get the services and help you need to move on with confidence and a renewed sense of self-worth.