In this economy, layoffs can be devastating. For an employee, they’re not just losing income, they’re losing a part of their identity, their losing the relationships they’ve built with their coworkers and, for some, it can feel as if they’ve lost their purpose. As you can probably guess, when people get laid-off, they are so overcome with fear and stress that it can feel overwhelming.
Laying people off is an unpleasant experience for managers, too. However, there are steps you can take to make layoffs as positive an experience as possible for your outbound employees. When you lay people off, you should always include outplacement services to help them take a step forward in the next chapter of their careers.
In this guide, we’ll start with the basics — like, “what is outplacement?” — and then we’ll discuss why you should offer it to employees and how to best encourage them to make the most of their outplacement.
What is outplacement and why should companies invest in it?
Outplacement services provide assistance to employees when they need to find new work after they’ve been laid-off. Services can include things like resume reviews, job search advice, interview training, personalized coaching, and career assessments.
Currently, over 80% of companies out there offer outplacement services to their outbound employees. (The only instances in which their outbound employees wouldn’t receive outplacement services is if they were only there for a few short months, if they were fired for something that was their fault, or if they quit.)
I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Why should you invest in helping people who are no longer my employees?” Well, it’s about more than just your outbound employees. It’s also about your company’s reputation, your brand, and the employees who remain.
It’s the right thing to do for employees
Outplacement takes a HUGE weight off of your employees who are overwhelmed with stress and fear after a layoff. Whether you’ve warned your staff that a major layoff is coming or not, finding themselves unemployed and uncertain of their future can be a major blow to someone’s confidence. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, without proper guidance, employees who are laid-off can expect it to take average of 26 weeks to land a job and drop in pay of 15% or more.
By providing your outbound employees with outplacement services, you are able to put their fears to rest and remove some of their stress by giving them something tangible to focus on that will provide them with real value, right away. For example:
- Outplacement services empower laid-off employees to quickly move on to the next stage in their career. You give them the tools to define their passions, plan out their next steps, and get hired again WAY sooner than if outplacement wasn’t provided.
- Outplacement coaching is invaluable, especially for people who have been out of the job market for a while. If you’re in the position of laying off longtime employees, it’s more than likely they’re not up to date on the latest job search trends, don’t know the importance of LinkedIn, have never heard of Glassdoor, and have no sort of job search strategy whatsoever.
- Outplacement speeds up the job search process and supports those with more difficult transitions. It’s important to support those with more challenging job searches. For instance, if you have an outbound employee that is changing industries, it can be both difficult and time consuming – this is why longer duration outplacement plans are such a great thing!
- No cost to employees. When people lose their jobs, reduced income is almost always their main concern. Fortunately, outplacement services are provided at no cost to employees since employers are the ones who pay for these services.
- Providing structure is important. When most employees get laid off, the first thing they usually do is update their resume – although that should NOT be the first step of their job search. Before they even begin thinking about updating their resume, they should take the time to assess their direction and create a list of targets first.
- Resume and profile coaching. Creating your resume is a lot easier when you are clear on who your targets are. If your employees haven’t been in the job market for a while, outplacement coaches can help create job search documents that highlight their appropriate skills and experience in a modern, professional format that speaks directly to the available job opportunities out there.
- Interview preparation. Interviewing for a new job can make people quite nervous. Outplacement coaches help people prepare by going over answers to common and difficult questions and software so they can go into their interview with confidence!
- Career insight. Losing a job might mean it’s for career change. If people want to change career paths, outplacement services are able to help them learn more about their talents and passions so they can confidently choose the right career path for them.
- Networking advice. Everyone knows networking is a key component of getting a new job, but most people aren’t exactly sure how to do it. Outplacement services offer guidance to your outbound employees by teaching them most effective networking strategies.
- Positive reinforcement. Losing your job can leave people feel anxious, stressed out and afraid of what the future might hold for them. A job search that lasts months and months can make them feel overwhelmed, overworked and depressed. Outplacement services are like having a good friend who is always there to listen to your fears and concerns and then give you a boost of positive feedback so you can stay focused on what matters – the job search.
Outplacement is good for YOUR business
A strong employer brand is critical to attracting the best talent to your business, and in this job market, that means more than ever. By ensuring that your outbound employees are immediately focusing on their careers, rather than their frustration of being let go, you’ll drastically reduce the negative impact they could cause to your social reputation. How?
Today, employees who are upset about a layoff aren’t just complaining to their friends and family anymore. They’re posting on social media, leaving negative reviews of you on Glassdoor, and causing harmful and lasting damage to your employer brand in the process. And make no mistake about it, when you’re trying to attract top talent, those bad reviews and comments on social media matter. Our surveys show that the right approach to outplacement can significantly reduce the harm it can cause to your brand.
It creates security for survivors and preserves the culture
It’s not just about the employees you’re laying off. It’s about the ones who are still at your company too. Layoffs cause a lot of anxiety among those who are still working at your company – they can’t help but wonder if they’re next. Knowing their former co-workers got help finding new jobs does a lot to ease those fears they have. And, as a side-effect, it creates loyalty to you and your company when they see you doing right by their friends and colleagues.
When advanced notice is possible, you should allow exiting employees to begin using outplacement services while still at their jobs, which is when they’re at their most marketable! This will ensure that they are far better prepared to hit the ground running when their employment ends and more likely to remain willing ambassadors of your employer brand, endorsing your company online and among their peers, or at the very least standing neutral.
Expert advice for job seekers:
Now that you’ve decided to invest in outplacement, it’s important to help guide your exiting employees in getting the most out of the service. Here’s some advice to give your outgoing employees to make sure they get the most out of the outplacement you’re providing for them:
- “Pretend you’re spending your own money.” Your employees should use as much of their outplacement package as they can, so you should tell your exiting employees to pretend that they bought it. Organizations like Digital Advocates provide flexible services, where the allocation of their coaching can be used even after they land a new position, for things like onboarding success. If they land a new job and aren’t satisfied, their coach or small group, can still help them resolve any problems or even find a new job. They should take advantage of this opportunity to develop their career in the right direction!
- “Keep in touch with your private coach.” They should be thinking of their coach as a trusted, knowledgeable friend. Their coach can help them with everything from writing their resume and cover letter to negotiating salary and turning interviews into offers. Many people choose to keep in touch with their coaches for years. The better their coach knows them, the more he or she can help them in the months and years ahead.
- “Take advantage of peer group sessions.” Getting to know people in a similar situation can be both fun and informative. At Digital Advocates, small groups focus on strategic thinking. So your exiting employees will have a chance to present their situation to the entire group and have everyone help them in their search. Our research proves that those who regularly attend these small groups get jobs faster and at higher rates of pay than those who only work with their private coach.
- “Find a job search partner.” You should tell your exiting employees to ask their coach to match them up with one or more job search partners. They can talk to their job search partner frequently to discuss their job search methods or if they simply need encouragement before an interview. Of course, they can always call their coach, but they’ll feel better knowing there’s a peer-level partner who relates to what they’re going through.
How Can Providing Outplacement Help my Business?
Allow me to give you an example…
Let’s say Company A was going through a tough time and it wasn’t investing in the people it was letting go. These people got angry and tweeted, shared and posted bad things all over the internet about the company.
So, when the tough times were over and the company was ready to hire more people… no one wanted to work for them… which made things a LOT tougher.
Then we have Company B, which was going through a similarly rough time as Company A, but Company A was investing in its outbound people, and as a result these people only had GOOD things to say about the company… which helped earn Company A a good reputation online!
So, when their tough times were over they had so many people lining up for jobs that they were able to hire well and thrive as a result.
Bottom line: Investing in the future success of your outbound employees is good for business!
What Outplacement Options are out there?
There are really just 3 options:
Traditional Office Outplacement: where all you get is a cubicle, internet access and a printer for printing out your resumes.
Virtual Outplacement: where you’re left with the extremely impersonal experience of using your phone from home or a coffee shop to chat with a coach you’ve never even met.
Coaching based model: where the focus is where it should be… on dedicated coaching and great job search techniques!
Most outplacement firms assign 150 (or more) job seekers to a single coach, which doesn’t feel very personal…
Our 1-to-1 Coaching Model
We practice a personal 1-to-1 model. Instead of having our coaches having work with hundreds of job seekers and just telling them “you can all me if you need me”, we’ll give your outbound employees a dedicated coaching relationship and more guaranteed coaching than anyone else!
We custom match our participants with a coach from their field, so from the very outset they see their coach as a strategic advisor – not just a glorified resume editor.
As they follow our proven method, it doesn’t take very long for positive results to start flowing in… Positive results that help restore their confidence.
And confident job seekers, with the right approach, are very likely to land a job they love – and FAST!
Get Started building a highly rated employer brand with our smarter outplacement!