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How to Create a Better Outplacement Process in One Week

October 26, 2017 by Aley Brown

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Did you know that the outplacement process has increased in complexity over recent years?

The proliferation of technology and the increase in legal regulation are responsible for fostering this new complexity disrupting the industry.

outplacement process

Surprisingly, most organizations haven’t reviewed their outplacement to see whether it is a match for this new level of complexity.

What’s that mean?

Well, this results in companies offering antiquated services meant to assist a person conducting a job search in 1999. Think of this concept when applied to your personal life: would you still use the original Blackberry for your current mobile needs? Probably not.

What Are the Steps in the Outplacement Process?

To put it simply:

  1. A laid off employee is onboarded by the outplacement firm
  2. An expert coach does a ‘Needs Assessment’
  3. Based on that assessment, the firm writes a resume, creates social accounts, and starts the networking process
  4. The participant is given access to online tools for self-learning
  5. Using various platforms, the participant applies for specific jobs
  6. Interviews are prepared for
  7. The participant gets placed in a new role

To get around this, we recommend that all organizations conduct comprehensive audits of their outplacement services on a regular basis. But we understand that not all HR departments have the time for this, which is why we’ve developed a week long improvement plan to help you get a head start on creating a better outplacement process.

Let’s get started:

1. Perform a High-Level Audit of Your Current Outplacement Process

You should start by mapping out what your procedure looks like on a large whiteboard. Include details about every step of your outplacement process. We normally observe the following steps from our clients:

  • Selecting the staff to be let go
  • Creating a plan for executing the layoff event
  • Developing a communication plan
  • Executing the event
  • Assisting with the outplacement program’s onboarding
  • Receiving feedback about the program’s results

We can add more detail to the whiteboard now that you recreated the main steps in the process. We recommend writing what values or deficiencies are found in your current outplacement process in each of the sections on your whiteboard.

For example, you could write that your provider has great communication in the “Receiving feedback” step. Or you could write that the service is lacking in data reporting throughout the outplacement process.

outplacement process

Next, you should add sub-points to each of these steps on the whiteboard. These sub-points should include things that you are curious about and ideas you have for improvement.

Not sure what to write about? Don’t worry! Ideas will come to you as you think more about the process.

Here are examples of sub-points that you could write for the “Selecting employees” step to get you going:

1. What laws impact the process of selecting employees?

2. Should legal buy into the process we use to select these employees?

3. How involved are leaders throughout the company in aiding in these decisions? Should they receive training?

Leverage Contacts and Data Sources

To get a bird’s eye view of the outplacement process, it is important to ask for the input of others. We recommend sending emails to managers that have assisted in executing layoffs, members of your HR department, and previous outplacement participants to elicit feedback.

Here is an email template to aid in this outreach:

Dear Name,

I am reaching out because we are auditing our layoff & outplacement process. I would like to hear your feedback about the overall process. Please provide your general feedback, as well as your answers to the questions below:

1) Do you feel that the layoff and outplacement process at our company is efficient? Why or why not?

2) What has been the general consensus about this process from your peers?

3) What areas in this process do you think could use improvement?


Your Name

Make sure to incorporate data from the email responses you receive as sub-points in your whiteboard model.

2. Find Educational Resources

First, the good news: the hardest part is over! Now, you’re ready to conduct some research.

The first – and most important – area you need to research is what legal requirements your outplacement process needs.

In our example above, we wrote sub-points asking about which laws could impact the outplacement process. You could research these sub-points on Google or you could reach out to experts in your company. (We would suggest reaching out to your legal team in this example.)

outplacement process

Next, you should examine what other areas need proper research. Grouping all of your sub-points into one vision statement can be a great way to start this research process. Take the vision statement below, for example:

“Our outplacement process is lacking in the following areas: the communication plan, the social media policy, and the support from the outplacement provider; all of which are resulting in a diminishing employer brand. We would like to see more data from our outplacement provider about the success of our employees in their program, as well as more flexible offerings and until placement support.”

You will be able to create an improvement plan from this vision statement. In this example, we would recommend collaborating with the PR team and marketing team on their perspective plans. We would also recommend that the HR executive search for new outplacement providers that can fulfill the needs listed in the vision statement.

3. Synthesize and Evaluate Your Findings About the Outplacement Process

Synthesize the data you have gathered to finish off your week of outplacement process improvement. (You’re almost there!)

Develop a cohesive plan that encompasses all of your findings into a comprehensive new outplacement process. Your new process could include the following additions:

  • A legally validated selection criterion for choosing employees
  • A communication plan
  • A social media policy
  • A timeline based on federal regulations
  • A new outplacement provider who better meets the needs of your organization

outplacement process

It is common for HR executives to be unsure of how to evaluate outplacement providers, which means that final bullet point can be a bit tricky. Here is a list of factors you can use to evaluate outplacement firms:

  • Unlimited, one-on-one, virtual coaching with 18/7 access
  • Robust technology through the cloud
  • “Until-placement”
  • Social networking capabilities
  • Professional resume writing
  • LinkedIn optimizing technology
  • Proprietary job search technology
  • Affordable pricing
  • Personal program customization capabilities
  • Webinars
  • Discussion forums
  • Online chat capabilities
  • Lessons provided by an on-screen guide
  • Behavioral-based interview practice coaching
  • Resume promoting technologies

You should reach out to outplacement providers who meet this criteria, and then evaluate them further based on your organization’s specific needs.

Congratulations! You have completed our week long outplacement process improvement plan.

The work you have done will greatly improve your outplacement process. Your layoffs should become more efficient and effective, resulting in cost savings and higher levels of morale.

Interested in receiving support from Careerminds during your next layoff event? Click the button below to see a demo.

Speak with an Outplacement Expert
Aley Brown

Aley Brown

Aley is a versatile global business leader with proven experience managing high-performing teams and engaging a data-driven approach to strategies that exceed company objectives.

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