It’s difficult to lose your job at any time, let alone during a global health pandemic. Most employers realise this and will, wherever they can, provide outplacement support for staff facing redundancy by arranging for a specialist career coaching company to help with their career transition.
What does Outplacement involve?
Outplacement includes both practical job search help and emotional support at what can be an unsettling time. If you are working with a highly skilled career coach, this typically involves creating a CV designed to get you shortlisted for your target jobs, improving your visibility to recruiters by tailoring your LinkedIn and other social media profiles, helping you with applications and polishing up your interview skills. Your career coach can also offer advice and insights about how and where to look for the jobs you are interested in, and help you explore your options if you are considering a career change or self-employment.
For individuals who may be understandably anxious or angry about their new situation, career coaches can also help with the psychological adjustment and the confidence-building needed to convince potential recruiters that they are an ideal candidate.
Many outplacement and career coaching companies also offer webinars and career e-learning resources which can either be combined with individual career coaching, or offered as a stand-alone outplacement package if company budget is more limited.
How do I get outplacement?
If your company hasn’t already offered it, then you should always ask your Manager or HR about whether it can be provided as most companies will try to arrange some provision if they can.
When you are negotiating your redundancy settlement agreement then you should definitely ask for outplacement to be included in this. Your company may directly arrange an outplacement programme for you or provide a sum of money to be used towards an outplacement programme and you can choose which outplacement company to spend it with.
There can be significant financial advantages in incorporating your outplacement into your settlement agreement as not only will you benefit from the outplacement services, but you will be exempt from the VAT you would need to pay if you purchased it privately. There are also tax savings if your settlement figure is over £30k. For more information click the link at the bottom of the article for our advice on settlement agreements.
Remember it’s in an employer’s interests to be supportive if they can. Treating staff with respect and due care goes a long way during a difficult and emotionally charged time. They won’t want to alienate the staff who are staying nor damage their brand reputation.
Choosing an outplacement company
It’s always helpful if you have a recommendation from someone who has used an outplacement service before. Even then, check whether the company seems to have a good reputation, with client testimonials, endorsements, positive news PR and that they are a member of a professional body like the Career Development Institute. For instance, Personal Career Management has all of these, including glowing endorsements from Guardian Jobs and the thousands of Guardian readers they have worked with over several years.
Company websites will give you a flavour of the outplacement company and their approach but talking directly with a member of their team is going to be helpful. Whether you are looking for outplacement for yourself or on behalf of your company, you are quickly going to get a sense of whether this is an outplacement company that you feel understands your goals, offers what you want and has an approach you feel comfortable with.
Definitely ask about their career coaches who will ideally have high level career coaching qualifications and a relevant senior management background. They should be profiled on their website or marketing literature.
As in any sector, there are some companies who use high-pressure sales techniques to persuade you to buy NOW because they know that if you look elsewhere you are likely to find somewhere better. Make sure that you are clear about the services being provided, the costs and any other contractual obligations and that you have this in writing. You can then decide on the basis of all the information and your personal experience in dealing with the different companies, which you prefer to work with.
Is outplacement worth it?
Looking for a new job is more complex than simply updating and sending off your CV. It needs self-awareness, verbal and written selling skills, an understanding of how the job market works and huge reserves of energy and resilience. For instance, most candidates don’t fully understand how recruitment technologies work and can become extremely frustrated at their lack of success. When every month spent searching for a job means a month of lost income and often lost confidence too, outplacement can make a huge difference to your professional success and your personal well-being.