Resources for Employers
How to Choose the Best Outplacement Firm and Program for Your Staff Member
Redundancy is different for everyone. Factors like age, financial position, home life, industry outlook and even personal confidence levels can all impact on how people feel and respond following a redundancy, and this makes it so important to source the best outplacement company and career transition program for each person.
Today there are a large number of outplacement providers emerging in the market, large and small, established firms and online virtual providers. So how do you know which provider is right for your staff member, and then which outplacement program to select?
Selecting the Best Outplacement Provider for YOU!
Industry Fit: Career transition can be emotionally challenging. People need to feel comfortable with the coach they are working with, and confident the coach understands their industry and background. If the coach isn’t a fit, they won’t connect. A great provider will go to lengths to find the best outplacement consultant for each person. The right coach will be one who has experience working with people in that industry and one who can make the person feel at ease. As your employee’s advocate in this process, you will likely know the person’s personality, so make sure to share this with the company so they can get the right fit for your team member. You may like to ask to read the professional profile of the coach they are suggesting.
Approach: Different providers tend to have different approaches to program flexibility. Ask questions like
- what happens if they need a break in the middle of their program?
- can the individual customise the coaching and services to their needs?
- can they change coach if they are not comfortable?
The more flexible the company, the better the chance your staff member will get what they need. If the program seems too rigid, shop around for a better solution.
Values: Every company tries to hire staff that reflect their values, so it’s important to find an outplacement provider that reflects these too. Ask each outplacement firm about their beliefs and values and see if these align with your company’s values. If they do, it’s a good chance your people will be comfortable working with them. Spend time getting a feel for how each provider approaches their business, their priorities and ethics.
Capability & Credibility: It’s important when selecting an outplacement company that they have the capability to provide the level of support needed for someone during career transition. Things to check include their experience in the industry (career transition can be challenging), the credentials of the coaches (are they professionals in industry bodies like CDAA, or CICA), the specialist help available to the individual if needed (do they have experts in specialist areas you may need such as retirement, return-to-work, personal branding etc.), their location and delivery options (will they travel, or offer tele-coaching if your person prefers it) and their psychometric assessment and career tools offered. (Here are some more tips on how to assess the credibility of providers)
Key considerations to think about when choosing an outplacement program
When you have decided which provider feels right, the next step is to determine the right program for the person. Typically, most individual programs vary in length and/or available support inclusions. Everybody is different and the reality is some people may need more support than others.
Factors than can make transition more challenging include:
The age of the individual. Mature-aged candidates can sometimes feel less confident entering the market and may benefit from additional support. Age bias does exist but its not insurmountable. Experienced providers can help develop effective strategies and resources to address these issues.
The time the person has been with the company. If people haven’t needed a resume or to navigate the job market for a long time, the thought of how to approach job search can be confronting. Additional support can be helpful to create confidence during market re-engagement, and a credentialed resume writer can be invaluable with creating effective career application documents that reflect their career to date.
The level of the individual or specialist nature of the position. Some types of position have longer transition periods so a longer program may be warranted. In particular people in senior executive roles (tips for finding an executive outplacement provider) or government positions are often suited to more comprehensive or longer programs.
Complete Career Change. If the industry or type of role is one that is in decline, or the person needs to make a complete career change, then additional support can be invaluable. In particular assistance with identifying transferable skills, considerations for return to study, support with career planning and decision-making, and finally the redesign of their resume to re-package their relevant skills are all critical to a successful career transition.
Challenging Circumstances. Occasionally an employer may be faced with an employee who is affected by a highly sensitive personal situation, making the redundancy more difficult or emotionally confronting. Extra outplacement or EAP support may be appropriate to ensure a positive outcome and transition.
For those organisations who may have large numbers of staff affected by workforce changes, group workshops may also be a useful option for offering support.
If you are unsure about what length program is suitable to your staff member, speak with the provider about their thoughts. If they don’t have a program to match, most good providers will try to customise a program to your needs and budget. (Obviously budgets are a really important consideration. Here are some good questions to ask about outplacement costs.)
Ultimately, the best Outplacement provider and program will be a highly personal decision, and affected by the circumstances, values and preferences of the company and individual involved. Finding the right match will help everyone more easily move forward into the future positively.