How to Create an RFP (Template Included) for Outplacement
December 03, 2023 by Rebecca Ahn
In the current workplace climate, the impact of outplacement on the employee experience, protecting employer brands, and getting displaced employees back to work in new, meaningful roles cannot be understated. It’s never been more important to include outplacement services in your outgoing employee experience.
Holistic offboarding is no longer merely a box to check, but a vital piece of the employee experience that can have long-lasting effects on a company’s talent management strategy. Since outplacement is a huge component of that holistic offboarding process, procurement and sourcing specialists need to know what to look for when selecting an outplacement provider to participate in an RFP.
Not all outplacement providers are created equal, and choosing the right one is crucial for the outplacement services to have a positive impact. A past survey Careerminds conducted found that ‘bad outplacement’ is actually worse than providing no outplacement at all.
To help you fully understand what to look for when searching for top-notch outplacement services, we put together this easy-to-follow guide to get you started off on the right foot in your RFP process.
This guide will cover:
- When you need an RFP (or RFP template) for outplacement
- The 7 steps on how to create an RFP outplacement process
- How to format an RFP and its key components
- Outplacement differentiators to look for in the RFP response
You can also download our latest guide on what questions to ask during the outplacement RFP process here:
When You Need an RFP for Outplacement
An RFP (or Request For Proposal) is a necessary part of the process when you are shopping around for outplacement services. This document specifies what your organization requires from a provider to meet your outplacement needs, budget, and timeline.
Outplacement vendors and firms who meet these requirements can then respond to your RFP with their bid to win the contract and become your chosen outplacement provider.
Whether you are currently looking for outplacement services or not, it’s a good idea to have an RFP template ready to go for when you need it. So let’s talk about how to create an RFP template for your organization.
What Are the 7 Steps in an RFP?
The goal here is to create an RFP that is clear and professional. This will significantly increase your chances of getting a favorable response. Your RFP needs to clearly communicate your needs and requirements to outplacement providers, so they can understand them and determine whether they will be able to meet them.
In order to know how to create an RFP that can do this, you will need to follow seven essential steps. We’ll go through each of these steps one-by-one to outline and compile all of the key information needed to create the best possible RFP template for your organization.
Step 1 to Create an RFP: Define Your Outplacement Needs
Your very first step to create an RFP is to determine what your organization needs from an outplacement provider. This includes what services you are looking for, what specific offerings should be included in a provider’s bid to meet your needs, as well as what your available budget will be.
Any effective RFP needs to list out all the administrative details of your planned project. So make a list of everything you will want your outplacement provider to offer, where and how their services should be delivered, when you’d like them to be completed, and for what cost.
For example, you may want the outplacement services provided to include executive outplacement support, or to incorporate cutting-edge technology and virtual support, or be offered “until placement” instead of ending–success or not–within a predetermined timeframe.
You can refer to this list of your outplacement needs as you put it all together into your RFP to make sure you’ve included every requirement you will need to factor in your decision.
Step 2 to Create an RFP: Provide a Company Introduction
Your RFP will also need a thorough introduction. Start with an explanation of what your current situation is, why you are distributing this RFP, and how you are hoping an outplacement provider can help your organization. This could include an overview of the high-level details, such as your target start date, deadline, and goals.
It’s also good to include a bit of background on your organization as a whole–such as what it does, its unique history, and its values–to help providers assess whether they would be a good fit to work with you.
Step 3 to Create an RFP: Share Possible Challenges
This is your opportunity to describe any possible hurdles your and/or your outplacement provider may face during the project, such as any ongoing human resources concerns, legal matters, potential business conflicts, or other barriers to success.
While you don’t want to scare off your prospective RFP respondents, you do want to be transparent and help providers get an accurate sense of whether they will be equipped to navigate these roadblocks and fulfill your outplacement needs.
Step 4 to Create an RFP: Explain How Vendors Should Respond
In order to receive optimal responses, you’ll want to specify the steps you expect providers to follow in their response to your RFP. It’s important that they all follow the same format, so their responses will be easy to compare and evaluate.
This can include what point of contact providers need to send their RFP response to–via email, mail, or other method of your choice–as well as where to direct any questions they may have. You can also specify how many copies they should include, how it should be addressed and labeled, and in what format.
There may also be additional legal agreements or documents you need them to sign and send with their submission. So it’s good to provide a checklist of all the documents you will need them to complete and include with their RFP response.
Step 5 to Create an RFP: Outline Your Timeline
To further ensure optimal reception of your RFP responses, you’ll want to outline the key deadlines providers will need to follow, such as by when to get their response sent to you, when you will announce the contract’s recipient, when the outplacement project will commence, and when you hope it to be concluded–though this may be hard to know with outplacement, especially if your goal is to provide support to displaced employees until placement in their next role. You may also want to note dates of related key events that could impact the timeline of this outplacement project.
Noting these timelines will help providers determine whether their schedule will align with yours, and whether it is possible for them to meet your needs. Keep in mind that you need to communicate your submission deadline with enough time for vendors to plan their response. The more detailed your response requirements and project needs, the more time you should give providers to submit their responses.
Step 6 to Create an RFP: Describe Your Selection Criteria
It’s important to be as transparent as possible throughout the RFP process. So it’s best to be very clear in your RFP about how you will select the winning candidate from your respondents. Describe how this will be based on your organization’s priorities and goals, outplacement needs and requirements, and preferred provider credentials–such as their coach certifications, average job landing rates, retention rates, and case studies of similar past successes.
This will help providers to formulate a response that best demonstrates how they would meet your project needs, as well as help you to fairly and reliably select the best outplacement provider for your organization.
Step 7 to Create an RFP: Proofread and Finalize
Last, but certainly not least, it is always valuable to review and proofread your RFP before sending it out. This is your last chance to catch and correct any grammatical and spelling errors, identify any areas that need additional explanation or clarification, and ensure it’s in the right format.
It’s also good to have others look it over and proofread the RFP before finalizing. Send it to someone involved in the project, such as fellow human resources or C-suite colleagues, and ask for their feedback. The goal is to create as clear and professional an RFP as possible. So be sure you take enough time to thoroughly proofread and revise it until it feels ready to distribute.
To help you with this process of revising and finalizing, let’s go over how to format all of the information you’ve gathered into your RFP, and review a basic RFP template as an example.
What Are the 5 Parts of an RFP?
Now that you’ve followed the essential steps to compile your outplacement RFP needs and details, let’s put all that information together into what an RFP format typically looks like.
A typical RFP is made up of five parts that cover all of this vital communication. Let’s go over each of these sections with some RFP template examples for organizing all of your information into a cohesive and clear RFP ready to distribute and receive strong responses.
RFP Template Part 1: Company Introduction and Background
Start your RFP out with a heading and introduction, where you can fill in all of that background information on your organization–its history, values, and context on your current needs.
Request for Proposal: [ADD YOUR TITLE]
Issued by: [COMPANY NAME]
Company Representative: [POC NAME]
[POC PHONE NUMBER]
[COMPANY NAME], a [DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY], is in need of outplacement services and is accepting proposals to find a qualified source to provide these services for us. Our goals for this outplacement project are to [DESCRIBE YOUR GOALS].
This request for proposal’s objective is to find an outplacement provider or vendor that will provide the best overall value and results for our organization. We hope to have these outplacement services in place by [YOUR GOAL DEADLINE].
[This is where you can fill in the background information that you gathered earlier to give more context on what your company does and its unique history, values, and goals.]
RFP Template Part 2: Outplacement Needs and Requirements
This is where you’ll outline your current outplacement needs and the specific requirements you’re looking for. This includes your desired outplacement services, criteria, credentials, budget, and any other administrative details for your outplacement project that providers will need to address in their response.
We would like outplacement services that [DESCRIBE YOUR OUTPLACEMENT NEEDS]. These outplacement services should include:
- Onsite and online outplacement assistance
- Counseling and career support for outgoing employees “until placement”
- Resume, cover letter, and interview preparation
- Access to job search and networking tools, strategies, and trends
- Individual and group workshops
- Reports on outplacement success
- Personalized outplacement programs
- [UPDATE THIS LIST WITH YOUR OUTPLACEMENT REQUIREMENTS]
We have a budget of [BUDGET AMOUNT], but may be willing to spend more on the services of the right vendor. We would like to employ an outplacement provider or vendor who has [OTHER CRITERIA AND CREDENTIALS].
RFP Template Part 3: Submission Process and Timeline
In this next section, you’ll fill in the specific steps and format you’ve chosen for providers to follow in their RFP responses.
Your proposal should follow the format below:
• Executive summary
• Background information about your business
• Reasons why we should choose your business over other vendors
• Relevant experience that would help you deliver our project
• Detailed list of proposed services or deliverables
• The specific programs, methods, and technology you intend to use and why you believe they are a good choice
• Pricing, both fixed for the whole project and an itemized costing
• The number of hours you expect the project to take
• References and related case studies or past successes
• Include name, contact details, and website URLs for at least three previous clients
• Any terms and conditions for working with you
• [ANY OTHER ELEMENTS YOU WANT THEM TO INCLUDE]
Please submit your proposal in .pdf format to [POC EMAIL OR ADDRESS] by [DEADLINE DATE].
[COMPANY NAME] will evaluate the proposals based on the following criteria:
• Responsiveness to the required outlined in this RFP
• Relevant past experience and performance
• Samples of your work
• Testimonials from past clients
• Quoted cost of the project
• [ANY OTHER CRITERIA YOU WANT TO ADD]
[COMPANY NAME] reserves the right to award the contract to the vendor that represents the best value to the business, as determined by [COMPANY NAME].
RFP and Project Timelines
[COMPANY NAME]’s timeline for RFP and project is as follows:
• Request for proposal issuance: [DATE]
• Deadline for proposal submission: [DATE]
• Selection of vendor: [DATE]
• Outplacement service begins: [DATE]
• Project completion: [DATE]
• [ANY OTHER KEY DATES YOU WANT TO MENTION]
Vendors may propose an earlier completion date in their proposal.
RFP Template Part 4: Project Terms and Specifications
This section is for the terms and conditions for the project in question, including any contract specifications and legal terms governing this RFP. This is also where you can add any additional criteria or qualifications you want to make sure potential outplacement providers can meet, or any specific questions you want them to answer in their response. If you are including any additional legal agreements or documents with your RFP, make sure you work with your legal team to draft and finalize those before distributing.
Terms and Conditions
You must comply with the requirements and specifications contained in this RFP. The terms and conditions contained in this RFP will constitute and govern any agreement that results from this RFP.
In addition, you are instructed to complete, sign, and return the following documents as a part of your proposal. If you fail to return any of the following items with your proposal, then [COMPANY NAME] may reject the proposal:
- [LIST ANY OTHER AGREEMENTS THEY MUST SIGN & SUBMIT]
Each proposal must state that it will remain valid for [COMPANY NAME]’s acceptance for a minimum of one hundred and twenty (120) days after the Submission Deadline, to allow time for evaluation, selection, and any unforeseen delays.
In your proposal, you are also instructed to answer the following questions to the best of your ability. Failure to address any of these questions may result in the rejection of your proposal:
- [LIST ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT THEIR CRITERIA OR QUALIFICATIONS]
RFP Template Part 5: Proposed Pricing and Delivery Schedule
Finally, the last section of a commonly formatted RFP template should lay out fields for the proposed pricing plan, based on your project budget and required services, as well as when the proposing outplacement provider will deliver their services.
Pricing and Delivery
Having carefully examined all the specifications and requirements of this RFP and any attachments thereto, the undersigned proposes to furnish the required pursuant to the above-referenced Request for Proposal upon the terms quoted herein. [COMPANY NAME] will not accept proposals which include assumptions or exceptions to the work identified in this RFP.
Unlimited outplacement services provided with job coaching, access to job search software, and other required services until reemployed
- Service fee: $_______ / per person
- [COMPANY NAME] will not reimburse Proposer for expenses. The fees provided in this section should be all inclusive.
Additional services: Monthly premium support, in-person group workshop and training
- Service fee: $_______ / per person
- [COMPANY NAME] will not reimburse Proposer for expenses. The fees provided in this section should be all inclusive.
Discounts or Proposed Performance Bonus
- Describe all discounts that may be available to University, including, educational, federal, state and local discounts. Or propose an incentive for a measurable performance.
Delivery Schedule of Events and Time Periods
- Indicate number of calendar days needed to commence the required Services from the execution of the services agreement: _______ Calendar Days
(Authorized Signature for Proposer)
What to Look For in Outplacement RFP Responses
Once you’ve formatted and finalized your very own clear, professional, and compelling RFP template, you will be ready to distribute it to the outplacement providers you are considering and wait for their responses.
So now let’s talk about what to look for in those RFP responses and some key differentiators to identify the best outplacement services for your organization.
Unlimited 1:1 Coaching Until Landing with Services for Life
One of the key components to a contemporary outplacement program is the utilization of dedicated, one-on-one coaching that starts as soon as a person makes an exit and lasts until they land a new role–often known as “until landing” or “until placement.”
This model allows workers of all skill levels to participate in outplacement services by not putting timeframes around how long the service is offered. It also allows workers to fully explore what their next step will be with the guidance of an expert right at their side throughout the whole process.
Once a participant lands a new role, they retain the ability to continue using the outplacement platform to connect with fellow participants, attend webinars, and much more for as long as they like.
Expertly Crafted Resumes
Alongside dedicated coaching, another huge component of outplacement is writing resumes for participants. Resume writing is a skill set that many job seekers may not have because they have been employed–and therefore not actively updating their resume–for longer periods of time. Over the course of these longer-term roles, resumes become outdated, ATS technology improves, and writing a fresh resume can feel like a huge undertaking.
Top outplacement firms know this. So they often offer to write resumes for the participants, allowing experts to take the wheel, which reduces stress on the participant and ensures that they put their best foot forward when it comes to finding a new, meaningful role.
Contemporary Global and Virtual Model
No matter where your employees happen to be in the world, your outplacement provider needs to be able to provide them with services that are tailored to their location.
A contemporary global model requires a provider to have coaches ready to deploy across the world who know all about local customs, job search techniques, and an understanding of every market.
Virtual delivery is also a must. By delivering virtually, outplacement providers help contain costs and reach more participants no matter where they are located. This also allows participants to have flexibility over when they use services, meet with coaches, and conduct their job search.
Transparency and Analytics to Measure Results
Contemporary outplacement services need to provide high-level data and insights into just how well the services are performing. After all, as we said above, a poor outplacement experience can be just as bad as not providing one at all.
With data surrounding landing visibility, billing integrity, ROI, and satisfaction, organizations can actively monitor the outplacement process to ensure that their displaced workers are receiving the highest level of support possible.
This, in turn, allows organizations to fully reap the benefits outplacement has to offer, such as boosts to the employer brand, reduction in survivor sickness, and reduced levels of stress for everyone, including HR, department managers, and those employees who’ve been let go.
True Business Partners as an Extension of HR
Employers looking to hire outplacement services should also examine how providers work with their clients. As true partners, outplacement providers should be supporting organizations during every step of the reduction process from training managers on how to deliver the delicate news to providing survivor training.
Contemporary outplacement goes further than merely receiving a list of participants and getting them started in a program. Providers now often work closely with organizations during the process to ensure everything goes smoothly and that the event doesn’t impact retention, rates of survivor sickness, and negative corporate brand exposure.
Customized Solutions for All Levels
Finally, one of the last differentiators that should be thoroughly examined when looking for an outplacement provider is how well the firm can adjust services to address various job types, skill levels, and career tenure.
Contemporary outplacement firms provide unlimited support to all participants, allowing them to find work at any level. At the same time, services need to be tailored to meet the needs of each participant depending on their next move.
For example, an outplacement program tailored to a long-tenured executive will look different than one for a mid-level manager or an entry-level worker. Each of these roles has different paths and, on the individual levels, each participant has different wants and needs. In order to address all of these possibilities, outplacement providers need a flexible service that can fully support all participants.
How to Create an RFP: Final Takeaways
Finding the right outplacement services for your organization begins with a clear and comprehensive RFP process that invites providers to compete for a contract, so that you can select the very best one that will meet all of your outplacement needs. In this article, we went through the entire process of how to create an RFP template that you can use when you’re ready to kick off this process and find your ideal contemporary outplacement provider.
Contemporary outplacement is not the same as traditional outplacement was ten or even five years ago. Changes in priorities and a fundamental shift in the workplace in recent years have furthered the need for modern, next-gen outplacement that addresses a plethora of organizational concerns beyond simply helping displaced workers land new jobs.
These concerns are focused on the employee experience, virtual options, global support, adaptability, true partnerships, and more. They all come together to form a service that reduces survivor sickness, helps employer brands improve, and works closely with clients to help them create a holistic offboarding experience for each and every employee.
If you are currently considering outplacement, click below to download pricing information for our outplacement programs here:
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