The Importance of Outplacement Services

Trimming a workforce is difficult. Both managers and employees are bound to experience emotional turbulence as they prepare to go their separate ways. To make this painful process easier, your company may want to look into hiring an outplacement service. Providing this thoughtful benefit to terminated employees can help them transition into the next phase of their careers.

What should you look for?

A good outplacement service will visit your company and provide on-site workshops and individual consultations. It should also provide specific functions to participants for an extended length of time, to include:

  • Customized assessments
  • Job search planning
  • Professional help with resumes and cover letters
  • Coaching on particular professional topics of interest
  • Administrative support
  • Help with research materials
  • Financial consulting
  • Entrepreneurial consulting
  • Videotaping and mock interviews
  • Information on online services, recruiting firms, and job fairs

Helping terminated employees get the most from outplacement

The outplacement process does not produce automatic results. Employees will get out of it what they put into it. For some workers, outplacement is a futile exercise that only prolongs their transition from one employer to another. However, many individuals benefit from outplacement as a means to redefine career goals and find other employment.

Encouraging a positive relationship between employees and the outplacement service

  • Advise employees to trust the process. Outplacement might be a completely new experience for them and it can help them find the work they really want.
  • Encourage them to participate in the process. Employees shouldn't expect an outplacement consultant to do all the work; it's up to them to find the right job.
  • Help them articulate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas to their outplacement counselor. Employees need to be assertive so the counselor will understand how best to help them.
  • Ask them to network with other employees using the outplacement service. Encourage them to form a community.
  • Remind them to make and keep appointments with their counselor and any job contacts that they find.
  • Suggest that they map out what they want to accomplish with their counselor, and bring a list of specific questions to each meeting.
  • Recommend that they set a rigorous schedule for themselves and follow it. It's important for job seekers to keep a full calendar.
  • Most importantly, remind them to take action. They shouldn't wait for others to take the first step.

Companies can assist the process by working in tandem with the outplacement service. Install a company bulletin board with advertisements for job openings at other companies. Designate some office space for terminated employees, giving them free use of personal computers, Internet connections, telephones, fax machines, and photocopiers. A bit of goodwill can go a long way as employees look for new opportunities at other places of employment.

As you can tell, a lot of planning is required before a parting of the ways can be done correctly. An outplacement service can be an important part of the process.