As outlined above, laying off of employees can often be harmful and costly to both the employee and the employer. From the employee’s point of view, losing one’s job is ranked third amongst life’s most stressful situations and whilst redundancy money (severance) can assist the ex-employee during their search for a new role, a well designed and implemented outplacement program can make the transition to a new job both more acceptable, successful and very often more rapid. Perhaps most importantly, a well presented and implemented outplacement program is far more likely to result in acceptance of his/her situation by the employee who has just been made redundant.
- Avoids legal problems: Employees are far less likely to sue for unfair dismissal if they are provided with a quality career transition program.
- Maintains a positive public image: Providing outplacement services to terminated employees reduces the likelihood of ‘bad mouthing’ to the media or amongst an ex employee’s circle of friends.
- Maintains good relations with terminated employees. Since ex-employees very often remain in the same industry keeping on good terms with them for future business dealings can prove invaluable.
- Improves employee morale and productivity. A company that demonstrates that it cares about its past employees will always be perceived well by the surviving employees who continue to work with the company.
Most outplacement services focus on four keys stages in a terminated employee’s transition to a new job:
- Acceptance: Coming to terms with being out of work. Every year thousands of people are made redundant but most go on to find more challenging, rewarding and better paid jobs. The key to this phase of the program is convincing the individual that it is his/her job that has become redundant, not them personally.
- Counseling: Assisting the employee in understanding/confirming their key strengths and specific talents in relation to their chosen career. A number of assessment tools are employed at this stage to help an individual indentify what roles best match their personality and strengths. The goal is to help the individual identify his/her core skills so that they can better focus their job search efforts.
- Preparation: Developing a quality resume, cover letter and advising on self presentation skills are key to this stage of a program. Individuals are advised how to best present themselves ‘on paper’ so as to maximize their chances of securing a job interview and are then advised as to how to make the best impression once in front of a prospective employer.
- Job search: A good outplacement company will be able to advise on the available vacancies in the market and in many cases will be able to refer candidates to companies before a vacancy is announced. For the duration of the outplacement program candidates are assigned a consultant to provide advice and manage the job search process.