Outplacement’s Rap: from “Don’t Bother” to “Don’t Miss It”

February 10, 2016 by Ed Weirauch

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Outplacement services sometimes get a bad rap.


Maybe you’ve heard, “My old company offered outplacement, I didn’t bother.”  “They didn’t do anything for me I wasn’t already doing.”  “I went to one meeting… too depressing.”

Some disillusioned employees experiencing a layoff barely scratch the surface of what their outplacement services provide because of the negative experiences others have told them about.  Yet, when job hunters jump in fully, many experience life changing developments in both their personal and professional lives.

The key to a more positive outcome is to move past word on the street or the experiences of a few others.  And, like a concise elevator speech drills down to a job hunter’s bottom line, so too is the one question you should ask yourself regarding outplacement services: are they dynamic?

Will they get a reaction out of participants?   What’s the meat or heart of outplacement that can be embraced?  Will the breadth of services lift the outlook of its users who inevitably are facing uncertainty?

Today’s outplacement services have come a long way from just providing offices for job hunters, job search groups (which inevitably became support groups), and big binders filled with do’s and don’ts.  In fact, Careerminds services are predominantly online; you never have to leave your home office, not to mention land in a group of other job seekers who might be grousing about their recent job loss while you’re itching to get out and meet prospective employers.

To meet the dynamic test, both employers and transitioning employees should ask these questions:

  • How much of the services can be pursued on participants’ own time, drawing on their self-starter skills and motivational level in the same way a real job would?
  • Does the outplacement approach mirror today’s work world: predominantly online, user-friendly, even mobile?
  • Is some level of coaching, mentoring or other support like a help line or chat services included?
  • Are virtual resources like webinars made available so participants can be exposed to new approaches when their time permits?
  • Are online assessments available to offer participants perspective on where they might be in their professional and personal lives?
  • Is there seemingly more material online than a person could ever use?

Consider the mindset of people using outplacement services: they have lost their jobs and must shift gears into a search mode.  Even the strongest person will feel some level of concern, rejection or disappointment.  Next they are introduced to a set of dynamic services which can build their confidence and get them back into a positive and productive mindset.  Their future is in their hands, on their laptops, and at their fingertips, which then allows them to think, “With this access, I’m more likely to land in an even better position…”

And that’s really the goal of outplacement… for participants to not just get a “replacement” job but to land in a position that ideally offers greater benefits and opportunities.  And to accomplish that feat, cutting edge services are necessary from another perspective.  Dynamic outplacement can really achieve an intangible goal: building motivation, reassurance, and new or restored confidence in the user.

Combine this refreshed or new outlook with the availability of the necessary practical tools at participants’ fingertips, and the negative outplacement rap will fade.   Instead of “don’t bother,” outplacement’s new word on the street will become “don’t miss it!”

Ed Weirauch

Ed Weirauch

Resume Writer | Career Transition Coach | Public Relations | Career Assessments

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