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Laying Off Longtime Employees: How Outplacement Can Help

December 21, 2018 by Josh Hrala

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Layoffs are never an easy task to carry out. Worse, though, is when the person or people being let go have been working at a business for a long time.

As an HR leader, you may even be friends with these employees. They are part of the organization. Their presence is felt there.

But still, there’s a cold, hard fact: layoffs have to happen and every other option (reduced salary, hours, furloughs, etc) just won’t do.

In this horrible situation, what are you supposed to do? No one wants to see a long term employee let go, after all.

Well, one of the biggest benefits you can offer these employees is the support they need to make a transition to a new role. And that’s where outplacement can make a huge difference.

Outplacement and Long Term Workers

Outplacement, as a refresher, is a service offered to laid off staff members that helps them find a new role outside of the organization that has to let them go.

Outplacement works by pairing participants with expert coaches who can aid them in their job search. The best providers also optimize resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and offer cutting-edge technology suites to make the job hunt as stress-free as humanly possible.

This is the perfect option for laying off all staff members, but especially so for those who have been with an organization a long time.

The Standard Layoff Process

Normally, an organization may have a pretty standard offboarding procedure when it comes to layoffs or RIFs. This usually involves holding a meeting and providing a severance package.

Severance, though it is usually understood only for its legally-binding contract, is a great way to provide an employee a lump sum payment that can help them move on to their next job without breaking the bank.

While severance – in most states – isn’t legally required to offboard a laid off employee, it’s a generally accepted practice that most organizations use.

Download Our Layoff Script Here!

What forward-thinking, well-rounded organizations do, though, is offer outplacement as part of that severance package. This does two important things: it helps your employee get back to work before their severance payment runs out and it also shows them that you care about their pathway forward.

That last part is extremely important when it comes to longtime employees. You want them to know that if there were any other option, they’d be retained. Sadly, those situations don’t always present themselves. So, when a reduction is truly needed, showing that you care – and that you care enough to provide them support – will help ease tensions and, quite frankly, make both you and the staff member being let go feel better about the move.

What You Should Look For

So, if outplacement sounds like something you’d like to extend to your employees, what should you keep an eye out for while shopping for a provider?

For the most part, you need to examine how the outplacement process works at different providers. This can be done by examining the company’s website, blog, and demos.

During this research, pay close attention to how well the organization uses technology, because outplacement – like just about everything today – is tech-driven. The job search lives online and so should outplacement services. That’s not to say that face-to-face meetings don’t have their place, but the real takeaway is that a top tier outplacement provider will meet the participant where and when they want to meet.

Not only does that show how tech-savvy the company is, it also showcases how flexible they are. Flexibility and outplacement go hand-in-hand. Everyone is different, every participant has different needs and wants and goals. Outplacement services cannot, therefore, be a one-size-fits-all service that tries to apply the same system to every single participant.

Until Placement Support

Another huge thing you need to consider is how long support actually lasts. Traditional providers usually employ term limits, meaning that they will work with a participant for a specific amount of time. Once that allotted time is over, the participant has to go it alone.

Normally, these term limits are anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Still, this doesn’t work.

Here at Careerminds, we provide Until Placement support, meaning that we will work with participants until they land their next role. This allows us to work with participants in every level and tenure of employment. We can help C-suite executives land a role that takes a ton of networking and time to obtain. We can help entry-level employees move to a similar role, and we can help people who even want to change their career path entirely.

Until Placement support, in short, fosters a high level of flexibility that term limits simply do not allow. It also allows us to make sure every employee gets the help they need and deserve without being abandoned midway through the process.

Also, we do not charge hidden or extra fees for until placement support. It’s built in to our entire process.

You can learn more about Until Placement here.

The Key Takeaways

When you have to lay off a longstanding employee, it’s vital that provide them a red carpet exit. They deserve as much support as possible when moving on to their next role.

To do this, we recommend providing a well-rounded severance package that includes a payment and outplacement support. This support should last until the employee lands at their new job.

By helping these employees with outplacement, you quell emotions and do everything in your power to ensure that the employee will land on their feet and still cherish those memories they have of the organization.

Thinking about outplacement? You probably want to learn about pricing. Check out our guide here:

Download the pricing information for our outplacement programs here.
Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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