You might be making redundancies and require immediate outplacement support or simply looking to have a provider in place just in case the need arises unexpectedly. Either way, having the right provider in place for your business will ensure your staff get the best possible support.
When the difficult decision has been taken to make redundancies you will want to manage the process as professionally and sympathetically as possible. By providing outplacement you not only support the well being of those leaving, helping them to achieve their desired career outcome as quickly as possible, you also reassure those that stay and protect your employer brand.
So who to work with and what’s important in making that decision?
Do your research early
It is worth doing some exploratory research and starting a conversation with potential partners early to get a clear view on what is available. Whilst at face value outplacement provision can look very similar, how it is delivered and the experience of the individuals affected can vary hugely.
Google is a great place to start looking. Look at the top organic results (i.e. not the advertised listings which are un-reliable) and check the website for named testimonials. You can also ask your HR community about their experiences both as a buyer and a user of outplacement services.
Set up a call or even a meeting. Your provider should be willing to invest time in getting to know your business whether there is an imminent need or not. This is about identifying a trusted partner that you feel could support you and your people through a difficult transition.
How credible are they?
Do they have experience in a wide range of career sectors, industries and seniorities? What sort of backgrounds do their coaches have and are they qualified in career coaching? Does the organisation have the backing and endorsement of respected partners and are they seen as experts in this space? In this unregulated industry do they follow the CIPD code of practice for Outplacement Consultants?
Without breaching confidentiality ask them to share with you feedback from clients, and case studies of work they have done.
How broad and bespoke are their services?
Outplacement can include one to one support with a dedicated coach through to group workshops and on line resources. What is right for your people and this situation?
Does the provider offer bespoke services catering for the specialist needs of senior Directors who may find themselves out of work via a settlement agreement?
Do they have experience in running group job search workshops that are bespoke to the organisation and delegates? And can they offer bolt on one to one career clinics?
Do they offer access to online resources? Or research capability to support a job search? Some providers run networking events to allow clients to broaden their professional networks as part of their job search and ongoing professional development.
What’s important is that they listen to your needs and can tailor something bespoke to your business and your people.
Are they up to date?
If those affected have not been in the job market for some time they can be particularly overwhelmed by how much it has changed since they last looked for work. It’s especially important therefore to work with a provider whose coaches are current in today’s job market and who can expertly guide their clients through making the most of online and social media in their job search.
How flexible are their outplacement programmes?
How much flexibility is there for the individual to pace their programme around their needs or is there a set timetable? Signing up to a programme where the individual can then tailor their coaching time to suit their unique career situation is not only really beneficial to the individual but also clearly demonstrates the value of the support you have provided to them.
So ask if your outplacement provider offers individuals the chance to talk or meet ahead of their programme starting to understand what’s on offer, how they can get the most from it and how to tailor it to their own needs.
Help beyond a job search?
For many, their redundancy can be an opportunity to rethink their career and life plans. Perhaps consider a career change, or a move into interim consulting or even starting their own business.
Does your outplacement provider have the coaching expertise to guide an individual through a more exploratory piece of work? To help them articulate what’s important to them, what they have to offer and identify and research their career options? And to help them make an informed decision on what is achievable and realistic?
Look for an outplacement business with coaching expertise in career management as well as expert job search support.