HR Tech Primer on “What is Outplacement”: Definition, Scope and Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a major crisis for the global labor market. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) reported the global impact of lockdowns and restrictions. The pandemic has affected around 2.7 billion workers worldwide. This is 81% of the global workforce.

For industries that were already reeling under severe economic recession, the cost of workforce retention during the pandemic put intense pressure on their operations. Most organizations decided to either lay off their employees or go for a step-wise reduction in force (RIF). In such difficult times, organizations offered severance compensation package to the departing employees through outplacement services, intending to help laid-off employees with counseling and placement assistance to find new work. The role of outplacement services in 2021 is not only effective in assisting departing employees plan their career with other organizations but also empowering to internal HR teams who are getting trained in virtual employee support and communication during the extremely challenging transition phase.

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In this HR tech primer on outplacement service, we will evaluate the various definitions of outplacement services prevalent in the industry. We would also examine top trends in the outplacement services and how HR technology platforms are embracing this unique service to improve adoption across organizations.

Defining Outplacement Services for HR Tech Customers

Outplacement services are also referred to as Career Transition services in the modern people management parlance. In order to better understand the scope of outplacement services, we have to keep in mind the changing world of work and employability. The traditional scope of outplacement services is mostly restricted to providing career coaching and emotional counseling to displaced employees with an intention to smoothen the off-boarding experience. Most outplacement programs are handled by an experienced group of career coaches, certified to train exiting employees with customized individual job search support and counseling.

In the modern context, reliable outplacement support provides departing employees with relevant practical career skills, counseling, and coaching to find their next job quickly without getting stuck in a mental or psychological rut.

The final objective of outplacement services is two-pronged: from an employee perspective, the service ensures a quick job search and onboarding into a new company; from an employer perspective, it prevents the risk of not meeting the legal obligations of providing benefits and compensation during RIF or lay off, largely affected by the pandemic.

Top outplacement service provider, Randstad Risesmart defines the scope of outplacement services by virtue of the HR department’s role in planning talent mobility for its departing employees. According to Randstad, contemporary outplacement services are founded on the principles of leveraging the latest technologies for HR and employee communications management across the company. These services are offered via phone, video conferencing, email, virtual chats and other online resources.

Here’s a contextual definition of outplacement services by Randstad:

“Contemporary outplacement provides technology solutions, personalized support and expert advice to organizations and the executives and HR leaders within these organizations who are concerned about the implications of workforce transformation on employer brand, employee retention, and overall business success.”

An empathetic outplacement service package would be as much beneficial for retained employees as much as it would be for transitioning employees (who are moving into or departing from the company).

What Outplacement Services package entail?

A conventional outplacement package would entail these services:

For Employees
  • Job search strategy development
  • Resume and cover letter development
  • Skills assessments
  • Networking strategies / Network Building on LinkedIn
  • Interview skills training
  • Technical assistance for video chat, virtual in-person screenings and online assessment tests
For Employers
  • Reduction in Force (RIF) strategy
  • Employee benefits package
  • Severance agreement compliance

Why You Need an Outplacement Service?

Contemporary outplacement service providers are equally tech-savvy as their customers who could be already using advanced HR tech solutions to manage their workforce. From providing highly contextual mobility coaching and training to advising employers on how to plan RIF strategy, outplacement service providers are doing it all.

HR teams need solid support from the management to strategically plan a major RIF, and that’s where a compatible outplacement services package provider steps in. The beauty of working with an outplacement services provider is its ability to not just help HR teams with RIF plan but also to execute RIF in the most humane way, enabling departing employees as well as the organization to recover from layoff and transition.

With quick tech-based support, these services ensure your organization stays resilient and compliant with existing labor laws. Top outplacement service providers go an extra mile to train managers and remaining employees on how to handle stressful situations arising from a recent layoff or RIF. Eventually, having an outplacment strategy to tackle RIF disruptions improves employee engagement among the existing workforce.

According to the World Employment Confederation (WEC), companies that hire an outplacement agency during their RIF are best “supporting fluid and successful labor market transitions and can help deliver success for workers, companies, and societies.”

Top Outplacement Services and Tech Providers

Bringing in an outplacement service provider is not a happy decision for anyone, but it is definitely effective for all parties involved. It can change the way HR teams can plan RIF and employee experience initiatives by working cohesively on career planning for their departing workforce.

These service providers are showing the way forward:

  • Randstad risesmart
  • Intoo
  • Careerminds
  • Career Amp (CMP)
  • PageGroup
  • MS Companies
  • CCI Consulting
  • Addison Group
  • Connor
  • GetFive
  • Keystone Partners
  • ABC Consultant
  • Velvet Jobs
  • Manpower Group
  • Husys
  • Mogul
  • CareerArc
  • Torchiana
  • Career Star Group
[To share your insights on hiring trends and employee benefits practices, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]