Here are the stakes:
- For employees, the impact is obvious. They will experience a range of emotions and fears. Their first thoughts will likely be about income loss and their ability to find another job quickly. But they will also have to manage the shock of losing a job and a piece of their identity.
- For employers, the stakes may be even higher and have longer term effects. If handled without compassion, layoffs can damage the reputation of the organization and its ability to hire and retain top talent in the future.
What Is Outplacement?
Our definition of outplacement is:
An essential set of job search services that empower departing employees with the skills they need to thrive during a career transition.
- Resume Writing Guidance
A resume is the foundation of any job search, but crafting a resume can be overwhelming—especially when the job seeker doesn’t have a lot of experience with that type of writing or knowledge of the essential elements to include in order to pique a target employer’s interest and secure an interview. Most job seekers need help not only with what information to provide but how best to convey their value given the hiring organization’s needs. Career coaches help define the critical components of a resume as well as tone, keywords, and things to avoid so the resume stands out in a competitive job market.
- LinkedIn Profile Coaching
Social media is a huge part of today’s modern job search. Job seekers need to create a LinkedIn profile that brings their personal career story to life. A career coach helps define the key components of a strong LinkedIn profile and makes sure the headline and layout both highlight the right skills and experience for the individual’s career objectives and ensure the profile easily can be found by hiring managers and recruiters.
- Job Search Techniques
Many new job seekers don’t know where to begin searching for jobs. A career coach provides proven sources for finding career opportunities and helps clients filter job listings that match their specific skill set.
- Network Development
There are many ways to network, both in-person and online, but knowing where to focus, who to target and how can be challenging. Outplacement services help job seekers define a strategy and learn the dos and don’ts of networking in an ever-changing digital world.
- Interview Preparation
Interviewing is a skill that’s not often exercised so it can be one of the most intimidating aspects of the job search process. Interview coaching instills confidence by helping job seekers develop and deliver strong, succinct responses to questions they may be asked as well as thoughtful questions to pose to interviewers. This process helps candidates prepare for any interview.
Individually, these services can cost hundreds of dollars each. But by partnering with an outplacement provider, you can offer these high-value services in one affordable, turnkey package. We’ll talk more about what outplacement services cost later in this article.
One of the scariest things about being laid off is trying to enter the job market again—and all that this entails. Many employees haven’t updated their resume in years—they’ve been working for you! Some may not have experience with social media. And networking and interviewing, the most intimidating parts of the whole process, are not skills most are well versed in.
Let’s look at some of the key benefits of outplacement for employees:
- Accelerates their entry into the job search process. With outplacement services, employees have a coach, someone to guide and encourage them on their journey to their next job. Instead of falling into a slump due to the loss of their job and harboring ill feelings towards you, their employer, they get help right out of the gate.
- Helps them become familiar with the current job market. Many employees who are laid off have not searched for a job in years. Today’s job market is far different than it was a decade ago, or even a year ago. Outplacement is like boot camp for employees, helping them get oriented to the marketplace as quickly as possible.
- Meets employees where they’re at. Each employee has unique needs. Some may just need a little guidance to get a new job, while others may require more significant hands-on help. Outplacement services are adaptable to the specific needs of each individual. They are designed to help employees understand where they are right now and provide a roadmap along with the support they need to achieve their career goals.
- Ensures that their personal brand tells their own unique story and highlights the talents they can offer to a future employer. Individuals need practice articulating their value and selling themselves by effectively relaying this to a hiring manager. Developing a strong brand statement, also referred to as an elevator pitch, is an important tool to complement an employee’s resume, as it serves as a succinct introduction to share with others at networking events as well as during interviews.
- Aids in difficult transitions. Some industries are booming while others are all but disappearing. If an employee’s strengths are all geared for a job that is no longer there, they need help adjusting their skill set to qualify for a position in another industry. Outplacement services provide excellent value for such employees because they can help identify capabilities, transferable skills, and where they want to go with their careers—then help them to get there.
The Business Case for Outplacement:
Why Employers Should Offer Outplacement Services
Outplacement services were once a secondary perk offered only by certain organizations. As much as you don’t want to lay off your employees, you know that it’s part of business cycle and you need to focus mainly on the continued success of your organization. However, in today’s world, particularly with the significant increase in unemployment and layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic, outplacement services are now becoming more of a necessity – both for your brand preservation and for the morale of your current employees.
Enhance Your Brand
Businesses must be more careful than ever to protect their public image. The pervasiveness of social media means that organizations cannot afford to appear callous or uncaring, even by accident. You may have never even thought about outplacement services before. In fact, you may not have even been aware that they existed. But if other organizations in your industry or sector provide them as a matter of course, it can negatively affect your employer brand if you do not offer them as well. Providing employee outplacement services is also a great opportunity to communicate and reinforce your dedication to your corporate values of integrity, dignity, and respect.
Make Layoffs More Amicable
There are multiple platforms for laid-off employees to air their grievances. Take Glassdoor, for example. Employees can go on Glassdoor and rate your organization on many dimensions, including how you treated them before, during, and after the layoff. When potential employees considering a job with your organization check you out on social media and read consistently negative feedback, they may choose not to apply, thereby impacting your ability to attract new talent when needed.
Improve Current Employee Satisfaction and Reinforce Company Culture
Actions speak louder than words. No matter how many times you tell your employees you value them, if they think they could get laid off in the future, they are going to be unsettled in their positions. When you have to lay people off, the survivors are bound to worry that the same could happen to them. They worry about the people who were impacted and may suffer survivors’ guilt. However, if outplacement services are included as part of the exit package, it can ease employees’ minds and boost their morale knowing the organization truly cares about its people.
Low Cost, High Value
Fortunately, outplacement costs do not have to be high, particularly if you have an ongoing contract with an outplacement services provider. You can choose which services you want to include in your program and a reputable outplacement services provider will be able to work with you to find a solution that fits your budget. Depending on the level of the impacted employee and the format of the training and coaching, outplacement services can cost less than $200 per employee. That’s a small price to pay when your brand, company culture, and employee satisfaction are all at stake.
How Outplacement Works
Employee outplacement services are not always the same from service provider to service provider and typically can be customized to meet the specific needs of your organization. Generally, though, most reputable service providers follow a similar process and include the following services:
Option 1: On-Demand Training
Option 2: Individual Coaching
- Inspiration. One of the big problems experienced by those who lose their jobs is that it can lead to a lack of motivation and difficulty remembering their own value. Coaching helps people refocus on what they want from their careers, including honing in on what careers interest them most and what skills they already have that can help them qualify for those careers or positions.
- Communication. Most people have positive qualities that will help them appeal to employers, but many are unable to effectively communicate their value. Coaching can help people communicate their positive attributes, skills, experience, and passion and translate these into resumes and profiles that stand out from the crowd.
- Networking and outreach. The old saying about who you know is still accurate today. It is easier to get your foot in the door if you know people. Luckily, most employees who are laid off have a better network than they realize. Coaching helps them to identify their various connections and reach out to those connections to get the word out about their job search.
- Interviewing skills. Few people do well if they are dropped into an interview that requires them to sell themselves. It’s just not a natural skill for many people, particularly if they are interviewing for a position in a new industry or area of expertise. Coaching helps people develop their interviewing skills so they can more effectively communicate their ability to fulfill a role at a company. Good coaching not only teaches a candidate how to pitch themselves to strangers, but it also trains them to handle hard, unexpected questions.
- Follow up. There are many opportunities to follow up with recruiters and hiring managers during a job search. Knowing when to follow up and how to do so is critical. Maintaining a growth mindset during the search will be the game changer. With coaching, candidates can learn how to transform interviews into real offers through proven follow up techniques and practices.
What Do Outplacement Services Cost?
The cost of outplacement programs varies depending on several factors, including which services you choose, what type and level of employees will be receiving the services, the level of expertise and experience of the service provider’s coach(es) who will be dedicated to your organization, and the specific terms and conditions of the agreement you reach with your service provider.
Some self-serve on-demand video coaching programs may cost as little as $99 per employee, while one-on-one coaching may cost between $100 and $1,000 per session. Comprehensive mid-level outplacement programs may cost between $2,000 and $5,000 per employee. Highly customized senior-level services may require an investment of $20,000 or more.
You could spend anywhere from $99 to $20,000 on individual outplacement services! So it’s particularly important to work with your service provider to clearly define both your objectives and your budget. And of course, be sure to ask about options or packages to reduce the per person cost based on the volume of employees who will be offered the outplacement program.