Outplacement First explains what to ask and how to make the right choices.

Providing redundant employees with an outplacement service that helps them move on positively and secure their next role quickly is a valuable tool for HR. The quicker your employee moves into their new role and starts looking forward, the better for you and your organisation. Both emotional and practical support combine to facilitate this when you choose a good outplacement service.

Outplacement First has been providing services for 22 years and has an excellent reputation in the outplacement world. Who better to ask for advice when you’re choosing support for your employees?

At Outplacement First, we often speak to HR professionals who are in the process of choosing an outplacement provider and we frequently hear: “I know what outplacement is, but I’ve never had to buy it before”. I’m pleased to say that we’re here to help you make the right choices. We are also often asked “I have a tricky / specific situation – is that something you can help with?”. The answer is most definitely “yes”!

So how do you choose the right outplacement provider and service for your employees? When speaking to an outplacement company, your “gut reaction” may tell you straight away whether you want to work with them but sometimes you need a bit more to justify the cost.

What quality assurances can they give you?

Anyone can quote success stories and case studies, but is there an external quality indicator to give you added confidence? Do they have a Trustpilot page with externally verified customer reviews? Read what other HR professionals and clients say about the company so you feel confident in your choice.

How long has the company been in operation?

When choosing an outplacement company, you don’t just want them to be friendly and supportive, but experienced and practical too. Both HR consultants and recruiters are currently masquerading as “outplacement providers” because they see it as a way to make money when the recruitment market is tough. Make sure you choose a genuine outplacement company with years of experience to support your employees.

What are the costs? Are services all-inclusive?

Outplacement providers should be up front about their prices and say whether ongoing support and online resources are included or not. Tell them the budget you need to achieve and ask for a clear, written proposal so you can read through exactly what is provided (and see what is not). We understand HR professionals are busy people and always provide a full written quote with transparent pricing within a couple of hours of you asking for details. Our services are also all-inclusive to provide your employees with wrap around support and you with a cost-effective solution. We provide a written proposal with clear pricing within an hour or two of each request and we encourage everyone to request a quote.

What’s included in the service you’re paying for?

Outplacement isn’t just a CV and access to jobs. It’s so much more than that. For senior level individuals or those with many years’ service, support with every aspect of the career transition is needed. This includes deciding on the right next objective and salary, LinkedIn profile, interview preparation and practice plus understanding of all the routes into today’s job market including the unadvertised market. Tight budgets are common these days and your outplacement provider should ensure that your employee receives the right level of support for their situation no matter how tight the purse strings. Ask your outplacement provider for details of exactly what their service includes and shop around. As with any purchase there are different options to choose from so get a few quotes and ask your colleagues for recommendations too before making your choice. If your exiting employees have a positive experience it makes things so much easier for you, so please take the time to choose wisely.

Is the service delivered reactively or proactively?

This is an important point. If you ask a redundant employee what they need help with they usually say “my CV and interviews”. 95 per cent don’t yet understand that they need help deciding on the right career objective, support with LinkedIn and help understanding the current tricky job market so your outplacement provider needs to lead them by the hand and ensure every aspect of the service is delivered proactively. If they don’t, your employee will end up with the wrong objective and only part of their job search tool kit in place. This will lead to frustration and it taking longer for them to secure a new role.

Many outplacement companies simply “make services available” and when you read the fine print unless an individual asks for help directly they don’t get anything at all other than a password. Other companies talk about their “contemporary model”, “giving employees control”, “to begin your programme contact us”, “consultant on call”, “unlimited access”. This all sounds wonderful but in reality unless your employee asks directly for something you’re paying for no service at all.

What makes us different is that from day one we proactively deliver 100 per cent of the service you’re paying for to your employee. We contact them within a few hours and ensure every single part of their programme is delivered. We guide their programme and book in every hour of consultancy. We also speak to them every 2 weeks at least for the duration of their programme. Our proactive delivery really sets us apart.

What should I do now?

If you have an existing outplacement provider review and compare them with other providers using the 5 questions above as a guide. It’s the last impression your exiting employee will have of your business and if you get it right, there are huge benefits to you and them.

If you have an outplacement requirement or simply want to find out more or compare your existing provider with us please contact us to ask for details and prices. If you’d like to ask any questions, we’re here to help too and happy to talk about anything outplacement and share our 22 years experience. We look forward to hearing from you.