Much as hiring isn’t a simple matter of just saying “yes” to a candidate, the outplacement process for your employees has many components, each of which requires careful consideration. Understanding what these components are, as well as what differentiates a successful outplacement from a merely adequate one, is crucial not only in helping your employees transition into new satisfying roles, but also in preserving the stellar reputation of your company.
Steps in the Outplacement Process
First, let’s review the basics. Outplacement is a benefit offered by an employer to workers affected by a layoff or other workforce change to help them find new jobs quickly and easily. The outplacement process begins when an outplacement firm starts working with your laid-off employee. Provided services often include either group or individual career coaching, skills and needs assessments, resume review, and social media networking help. As the outplacement process begins to yield specific opportunities, the employee applies for these jobs. The outplacement firm may help coach the employee for these job interviews and offer other helpful career-related help so the employee finds a new position and begins an onboarding program.
Top Ten Things to Know During the Outplacement Process
While the outplacement process may seem fairly straightforward, a great HR team can tell you there are many things to keep in mind when selecting an outplacement firm. Luckily, by spending a little time researching these areas now, you’ll save your employees—and yourself—considerable time and money in the future.
1. Know Your Severance Package
While this may seem obvious, before you transfer an employee to an outplacement firm, make sure you are well-versed in the benefits of your employee’s severance package. This will help you specifically communicate your needs in terms of timelines to the outplacement team. It’s also helpful for the employee. During the exit experience, you can prepare the employee for the broad outlines of what they can expect from the outplacement process. It’s good to know how many weeks of pay they are entitled to as well as when their health insurance benefits will end.
2. Investigate Outplacement Partnerships
No two outplacement firms are exactly alike. Depending on what industry your organization is in, you should make sure that the outplacement firm has ties to similar companies or organizations. Your former employees will receive far more benefit from a firm that is already working in your field than one that specializes in an unrelated area.
3. Is the Firm 9-5 or 24/7?
Transitions don’t happen on a neat schedule. Employees may need access to resources and career coaches outside of traditional business hours. How accessible is your chosen outplacement team? Can they offer help on evenings and weekends, or are they only available Monday through Friday? The best teams will work to meet the needs of the candidates, not the needs of an arbitrary schedule.
4. How Adaptive is Your Outplacement Team?
In a time of uncertainty, the only constant is change. As your organization adapts to the new economy, your company-wide outplacement needs will undoubtedly change as well. How responsive is your outplacement team to meeting the challenges and shifting demands of a rapidly changing employment field? As the needs of each department in your organization change, you need a firm with an equally adaptable outplacement process.
5. What is the Degree of Customization for your Employees?
Like all business transactions, the competent ones are separated from the truly great by the degree of personalization. How does your outplacement team relate with candidates? Do they provide personal, highly researched service, or do they try to squeeze every candidate into a generic, one-size-fits-all outplacement process? Can they find a new working environment, especially for younger employees who may have never been through an outplacement process before, with managers that will provide them with meaningful feedback? The more focused they are on specifically meeting each candidate’s needs, the better.
6. Is the Process Intuitive?
Often, the best way to determine if an outplacement firm is a good fit for your organization is to visit their website and see how easy it is to use. Can you navigate from one place to another easily? Does the presentation of information make sense to you? If you have to fight with the site, or find it exceptionally complicated to use, it’s likely a sign that the company itself isn’t going to provide the greatest benefit to your employees.
7. How Can you Keep Track of Your Employees During the Process?
Caring HR professionals want to make sure their former employees find a great new home. Each outplacement firm should have a reporting system to make it easy for you to check in and find out the status of your employee. It could be an online spreadsheet or a personal phone call—whatever method they use, make sure it’s easily accessible and transparent.
8. Are You Getting What You Pay For?
Each firm may package their prices differently depending on the specific services you’re getting. Make sure that the pricing for the outplacement process includes all vital services, and isn’t based on an “a la carte” model.
9. What’s Their Service Model?
Some people love minute-by-minute updates, while others prefer a condensed summary delivered once a week. How does the outplacement team plan to communicate with you? Find out if their method of working suits yours.
10. The Use of Technology
We all know the difference between a spam bot and a compelling Twitter account. How we use technology matters! Verify that your outplacement team is not only well versed in all forms of software, social media, and online research, but is actively exploring new forms and updating their practices to best fit the moment. The better their use and understanding of technology is, the smoother and more efficient the hiring process will be.
Beginning the Outplacement Process
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start investigating the possibilities. Download Intoo’s Essential Guide to Outplacement to get answers to any additional questions you may have about this benefit. Intoo’s outplacement tool is designed to make online, face-to-face consultations easy and accessible. We meet each employee on their schedule while providing employers with the adaptability and resources they need. Learn more about how we can make your outplacement process a successful one.