At the same time, many firms seem to be taking on a wait-and-see, “cash preservation” stance, hesitant to spend with so many variable looming in the economy. For those companies facing further staff reductions, but who still want to do the best they can for their impacted employees, there is a solution — Outplacement Services. But it can be done for no or little cost! This is not stated lightly as an abstract or theoretical concept. This is based on my own real world experiences, an experienced practitioner who has designed, managed, and delivered these services to over 30,000 impacted employees in a number of global companies — because it works!
Outplacement Services are “career continuation” services typically provided to impacted employees, as part of a company’s strategy to assist those employees in moving on to their next career position elsewhere. The Outplacement industry got its start back in the 1960’s as an offshoot of the Executive Search business. While initially it was typically offered exclusively to highly compensated executives, it has since expanded into a service applicable and appreciated by all levels of the labor force. Historically, Outplacement Services have been delivered through contracts with specialized firms, ranging from boutique consultancies to large international industry players, like DBM (Drake, Beam, Morin), Right Management Consultants, LHH (Lee, Hecht, Harrison) and Challenger, Gray, and Christmas. One of the key differentiators that all of these vendors had to offer was their exclusive and unique networking connections and databases of leads and jobs.
More recently, with the explosive growth of technology and the internet, it has become clear that the database advantages for networking and job leads that were once the sole property of those in the Outplacement industry are now available to most anyone and anywhere. And social networking tools have made the art of extended networking second nature to most workers today. As a result, many successful companies have now begun creating their own Outplacement Services offerings, using their own internal resources, or possibly a hybrid of those and externally contracted services, depending on the job level of employees receiving the service.
Those firms that have taken advantage of their own internal resources have invariably turned to their own existing experts on career management: the Human Resources and Recruiting/Talent Acquisition functions. Who better to teach individuals on the concepts and strategies of finding their next right job than the very people who are involved in that very process on a day to daybasis — the company Recruiters? While their experience has been from the “other side of the desk”, they are clearly masters of the talent selection process and can readily accommodate the coaching/mentoring role required.
Initially introducing this concept to the Recruiting staff commonly brings mixed reactions, primarily because it is a bit counter-intuitive to most of them. But as they are exposed to the details, it rapidly becomes apparent how similar the skill set and competencies are for recruiters and outplacement counselors. It can also have very positive career enhancing potential. Professional recruiters today are quite accustomed to the vulnerability of their career choice — when the economy turns down, who are the first to slow down and lose their jobs? With outplacement service experience, a recruiter can effectively make their careers “recession proof”: do the hiring when business is growing, and help with the downsizing when it turns down.
And perhaps most importantly, another additional advantage of this strategy is in demonstrating that the Recruiting/Talent Acquisition function, (which may often be suspected of having less to do during a downsizing event, whether it’s true or not), has stepped up as corporate citizens and addressed a formidable business need, savings thousands of bottom-line dollars in the process.
The most common core service modules that are delivered in both group and individual outplacement counseling are:
So, as an HR or Recruiting/Talent Acquisition leader, if you are currently or will possibly soon be facing the “rightsizing”, “streamlining”, “downsizing” or “force reduction” bug what are you waiting for? Can you step up to the challenge and deliver an incredibly inexpensive and much appreciated solution to an immediate business problem, — or are you going to just send out the RFP’s to the traditional players who are more than willing to take your company’s treasure off your hands?