What Is Outplacement Support?

August 09, 2017 by Josh Hrala

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So, you’ve heard that all of the best HR departments use outplacement, but what is outplacement support? What should you expect to see from the service? And, why is everyone talking about it?

For the uninitiated, these seems like questions that have jargon-filled answers that only the most senior of HR managers can understand. The good news is that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Side note– make sure to download the pricing information for our outplacement programs:

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Now, on with the show:

What Is Outplacement Support?

Outplacement support is when an HR department hires a firm that specializes in transitioning employees out of the organization.

What Is Outplacement Support?

Outplacement support is when an HR department uses a third-party provider to help them navigate downsizing events. Outplacement is used to find exiting staff members new roles in outside organizations, minimizing the negative impact that layoffs can have on businesses.


These transitions – usually layoffs, voluntary exits or other reductions in force (RIF) – can be troubling times for HR departments, especially if they want to protect their employer brand while also making sure the ‘survivors’ – those who remain after the round of layoffs – feel secure.

To help with this, outplacement firms work with exiting employees to make sure they can find new, meaningful work in other markets or companies.

Most outplacement firms help with resume building, social media updating, job hunting, interview prep, and all of the other aspects that go along with the modern day job search.


The Impact of Outplacement Support

While having a basic understanding of what outplacement does is important, understanding the dramatic impact it can have on your overall business has far more weight.

What do we mean?

Well, think about this: when a company needs to layoff employees, it puts them in a precarious position. On the one hand, downsizing can be mandatory for the overall growth and operation of the business. However, on the other hand, by laying people off the business opens themselves up to public scrutiny, which might tarnish the business’ hard-earned reputation.

To stop that potential storm before it engulfs the company, HR managers need to consider what they can offer outgoing employees to make sure that when they leave they are set up for success elsewhere.

This means having a rock solid severance agreement coupled with outplacement and other benefits.

So, with that new information the answer to “what is outplacement?” shifts from something that only benefits your employees to something that protects your bottom line from today’s Glassdoor-driven world. The good news is top outplacement firms that specialize in all career levels, including executive outplacement, exist to take all of this pressure off of HR.


The Cost of Outplacement

What should you expect to pay when buying a service?

Well, this largely depends on the provider you decide to go with. You can read our full list of helpful tips here.

In short, you need to consider first how the outplacement process differs from firm to firm.

Traditional firms usually meet with clients in person, help them with their resumes, and utilise term limits.

At Careerminds, we go against the grain by offering virtual outplacement services, meaning we can help businesses anywhere in the US regardless of how close they are to major cities.

We also do not use term limits, meaning we work with clients until they are placed in a new job. Right now, we are the only firm that doesn’t have a term limit on our service.

Wait, what does that mean?

Traditional firms typically work with clients for about three months. After that term, they cancel the service, leaving the stranded employee to go it alone.

This means that traditional firms are not guaranteeing employees will be placed. If they don’t find immediate success, they get thrown out on the street.

Not only is this bad for your employee – especially since after 3 months of unemployment their severance is likely running out – but it’s bad for your brand, too.

What this boils down to is that the cost of outplacement, which largely depends on the firm you choose, will be less than the potential cost of your now spoiled reputation.

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It’s Not All About the Bottom Line, Though

Wait, what? Didn’t you just explain why outplacement is mandatory to save face in a downsizing event?

Well, yeah, but it’s also important for your company’s morale, too.

Consider this. You have been working at an organization for a few years. You’re comfortable with your salary, workload, work-life balance, etc.

Then, word spreads through the office that management is laying people off. The first thought that comes to your mind is “Is it going to be me?” Followed, likely, by “I have to support my kids” or “I need my healthcare.” Whatever the financial reality is, no one likes to hear that their company is letting people go.

The fact of the matter is that many of the people who are starting to panic at the thought of layoffs are not the ones getting let go. But the shock through the system can cause them stress, and you don’t want your employees all stressed out.

While this is going to happen during a layoff regardless of your strategy, providing outplacement and a solid severance package can at least show your employees that you care for their well-being even when they are making an exit from the organization.

Not only does outplacement help the survivors understand this, it also helps you – the HR professional – as you let people go because you know that they are set up for a successful future elsewhere.

All in all, the process helps alleviate stress and resentment across the board. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. And, when it comes to “what is outplacement support?” the answer is simple: it’s a way to make sure your employees get back to work while also protecting your brand, business overall, and remaining employees.

If you are considering outplacement service, be sure to check out our pricing information:

Download Our Outplacement Buyer's Kit 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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