Outplacement: 5 Ways to Evaluate Your Current Provider
August 15, 2017 by Josh Hrala
Outplacement is one of the the many aspects of HR that organizations typically choose to outsource. However, this doesn’t mean that companies can forget about it once they land on a provider.
Think about it: you wouldn’t continue paying for a service that doesn’t work in your personal life. Why do it for outplacement, a service that can make or break your company’s reputation?
With that said, it’s important to go back and reevaluate the effectiveness of your outplacement service to ensure that employees are getting the best help at a great price.
Here are 5 important takeaways from the guide to get you started:
1. Outplacement and Technology: A Perfect Combination
As technology marches ever-forward into the future, outplacement services should be marching along beside it. So, the first thing you need to look at when evaluating your current outplacement provider is whether or not they are using all of the technology they can to get your employees back to work in a timely manner.
This means offering virtual outplacement to those who cannot meet in major cities. Some traditional firms still do outplacement the old fashioned way where clients meet with coaches in person to get them back in the job market.
While some clients may prefer that approach, the fact of the matter is that the job hunt is now online and outplacement should operate in the same space. If the market has changed, why wouldn’t an outplacement service provider change alongside it? After all, if they are unable to navigate the virtual world to bring their service to your employee wherever they happen to be, how can you know they are using all of the relevant technologies to get your employee back to work?
2. Outplacement Should Be Ultra Flexible
When it comes to finding work, there are a lot of variables at play that change from person to person. For that reason, your outplacement provider should offer to change their process based on what the client needs.
This often times blends into the need for a strong technological backbone. For example, say a client lives in a rural area and cannot travel for outplacement services because it’s too far or because they have obligations that limit their time away from their home/town.
The outplacement firm should be willing and able to accommodate that employee by harnessing the powers of the internet and other systems to ensure that the client gets the same outplacement service as someone in a major city.
The same can be said for job type. Outplacement shouldn’t exist solely to get someone back to work in any job. Outplacement support should strive to get the employee into a job that they want, are good at, and one that they find meaningful.
To do so, outplacement processes need to be flexible and forgiving.
3. Outplacement Services Should Be Easy to Use
This sounds obvious but it’s often overlooked. The outplacement process – whether it involves online platforms, digital conference calls or what have you – should be easy for the client to use.
Someone who just went through a layoff should not find outplacement, which is meant to help them get back to work in as close to a stress free environment as possible, disheartening because it’s challenging to use.
Through coaching, e-learning tools, and online platforms, outplacement should feel natural to use and every time a client has a session they should come out of it feeling like they are closer to landing a job than when they arrived.
Gauging how well your current outplacement provider operates requires you to question their overall process. You can find a complete list of important questions here. If you find that your outplacement provider is lacking in many of the areas, it’s probably time to switch them out.
4. Top Outplacement Firms Shouldn’t Have Term Limits
Okay, this is the biggest issue with modern outplacement: term limits.
Like many services, traditional outplacement firms love term limits because it’s a sure-fire way for them to not lose money. However, this puts your employee at a greater risk of continued unemployment.
Think about it: term limits basically state that every client is the same and should take the same amount of time to find a new job. This is simply not the case. In fact, as we mentioned above, the outplacement process should be flexible. If a client takes longer to find the right job, they should be free to take that time and outplacement firms should continue to work with them through this process.
The use of term limits shows that providers are unwilling to offer continued support to their clients out of fear that they will never be placed. That should be a red flag because it highlights that the outplacement firm doesn’t stand behind their service enough to put their money where their mouth is.
5. Outplacement Firms Should Be Strategic Partners
The end goal of shopping for an outplacement provider is to make them a strategic partner for your business. Layoffs and other downsizing events can spring up from time to time, leading many businesses to have a top outplacement firm on retainer.
However, just because an outplacement firm ticked all of the important boxes a few years ago doesn’t mean that they still do today. This is where evaluation comes into play.
You need to ensure that as the job market changes, your outplacement partnership changes along with it. If you picked a strategic outplacement partner 5 years ago, chances are that you should double back and see how well they have adapted to the current market at large.
Are they still using term limits? Do they offer virtual assistance? Are they flexible enough to ensure that your client will get placed in a new, meaningful job in a timely fashion?
The conclusion is that outplacement is a service that is ever-changing and your business can’t afford to continue to use a service that hasn’t kept up.
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