Outplacement Services Can Benefit Your Organization

Mary Pille - Employers' Association

It is nearly certain that unemployment rates will continue to rise before we start to see the effects of the current recession diminish. With that in mind, there are options for employers who continue to be faced with the unpleasant task of downsizing to minimize the negative effect for employees who are being laid off, as well as those who remain.

One of the options is to provide transition or outplacement services. These services are not reserved for large employers contracting with large national firms—there are providers out there catering to the needs of small employers as well. Some services are even available at no charge for displaced workers through the Central Illinois Workforce Network. Below are a series of questions and answers relating to the benefits of outplacement services.

How can outplacement assistance benefit my organization with a reorganization or downsizing?
The process of separation can be difficult and expensive. Outplacement helps minimize the cost and negative impact a layoff can have on an organization. Successful outplacement programs offer:

  • Liability prevention. Demonstrate that your company offers grounded and fair separation programs. Outplacement services display your commitment to fulfilling your corporate responsibility to your employees.
  • Enhanced corporate image. Preserve your company’s reputation by caring for transitioning staff. Outplacement plans elevate your brand in the eyes of investors, customers, remaining employees and future job candidates.
  • Better retention rates and productivity from remaining staff. Outplacement demonstrates your concern for employees, even when tough business decisions force layoffs. Retain key talent by showing care for your employees.

Who should receive outplacement services?
Although this may appear to be self-serving, anyone who has left a job should be offered outplacement. Experienced outplacement professionals state that in dealing with thousands of terminated individuals, all are traumatized by a job loss. This sense of loss, anger, betrayal, fear and the struggle with self-confidence will occur regardless of financial status, reason for leaving or age of the individual.

Does outplacement find new jobs for people?
Not directly. Outplacement assists individuals in determining what career path is best for them and then guides and supports them in their job search to achieve their goals. It provides the support system needed to move forward after losing a job through layoff or termination.

Is outplacement the same as recruiting or headhunting?
No. Outplacement firms assist individuals in achieving success in their career transition. Recruiters contract with companies to search, identify and hire candidates to fill specific job openings.

Does outplacement help someone who has job opportunities immediately?
Effective outplacement firms assist individuals in clarifying and identifying the appropriate work environment that will suit the unique needs, skills and goals of clients. Their experience has proven to be valuable when it comes to deciding the right job choice and in negotiating the most appropriate overall package of responsibility, work environment and compensation.

What services are typically offered by outplacement firms?
Firms typically offer a variety of outplacement services and programs to meet both the corporate and individual’s needs. Of these services, there are basically two types of outplacement: individual and group programs. Individual programs are for executive management and professional exempt-level staff, where group programs are more typically used for non-exempt and larger scale staff reductions.

What to look for when seeking outplacement services?
Typically outplacement firms can be national or locally-based, and there are fees associated with their services. Outplacement services are also available to dislocated workers free of charge from state- and federally-funded programs, such as those offered by the Central Illinois Workforce Network. The key to successful outplacement services is finding a firm that will provide personalized attention for each participant. They should ensure there is always a counselor available, as well as continuous communication and feedback. Additionally, they must be current in the latest trends and hiring practices for small companies as well as large corporations. iBi

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