Top 10 Tips When Choosing An Outplacement Provider

Poor outplacement services can reflect negatively on the organisation offering the support. How can you be certain that the company you opt to work with will provide the support your employees need? Whether your organisation is transitioning one person, or several hundred employees, you want to know that your organsiation and the affected person are each receiving value.

1. Quality Of Coaches

Everyone who has experienced outplacement support will tell you that the one-to-one discussions with a qualified coach is the most beneficial aspect of the service. But the quality of the career coaching received really depends on the quality of the coaches and the provider’s ability to match the individual with the most appropriate coach, both in terms of relevant industry functional expertise and future client aspirations. Understanding how many coaches the provider has, ask about their professional background, how the outplacement provider matches coaches to individuals and how they train, accredit and monitor the quality of their coaches.

2. Ability To Meet The Individual’s Needs

Everyone has a unique perspective when it comes to managing their next career move. For some the underlying driver will be financial security and the need to quickly find another role similar to the one they have been performing. For others it will be reviewing their past experience and assessing all of the options available to the including perhaps, self employment or a portfolio career. Regardless of future aspirations, the outplacement provider should offer a flexible solution that addresses and meets the individual needs and ambitions of those it is supporting.

3. Client Satisfaction

Quality service that meets the needs of the individual has to be the top priority for any outplacement provider. Depending upon the length of a client’s programme, not everyone will complete their transition whilst working with the outplacement provider – the important aspect is that the client has derived knowledge and benefit and feels better able to deal with future. Providers should be able to guarantee that the client will receive a quality service, so check what mechanisms they have for measuring client satisfaction. How do the deal with any negative feedback they may receive from the client regarding the service? What corrective action do they take? Ask for regular feedback reports – after all it is your organisation’s money that’s paying for the service. Poor service not only reflects on the outplacement provider, it will also have an effect on the employees’ lasting impression of you.

4. Capacity To Support National Needs

Even if you do not have large scale multi regional needs, an outplacement firm with a national infrastructure gives the security of much needed knowledge, expertise and substance as well as offering extensive professional networks that can be accessed by those in active job search. Relocation expertise can also be offered with up to the minute intelligence on local employment market trends. If you are managing large scale outplacement needs, the restructure is likely to be complex, often involving a number of sites, tight timeframes and as a consequence, require strong project management and seamlessness of service deliverables from the outplacement provider. Check the provider’s experience in dealing with large scale, multi-site projects, seek references from other clients they have supported. For remote locations check how the provider will support individuals – do they have the ability to support people locally or are individuals expected to travel to the nearest office, regardless of distance.

5. Innovation

Experience in providing outplacement services is important. As with any business the number of years a company has been around is a good indicator of its reputation. But whilst experience is important, innovation should not be overlooked. The job market is continually changing and a good outplacement provider should continuously be looking for ways to innovate its services, ensuring that its clients receive the best quality advice, tools and services to help give them the competitive edge in achieving their objectives.

6. Transparency Of Programmes

Outplacement programmes can be structured in a number of ways, from flexible programmes that allow the individual to decide how to use their service, to time bound services. Whatever the structure, it is important to understand exactly what the individual receiving the support will get. There should be complete transparency around what it provided. If unlimited services are offered, seek clarity on which components are unlimited, does this mean that the individual can have complete access to their coach for as much time as they want within the designated timeframe for the service.

7. Transparency Of Fees

In the current climate it is important to be certain that there is complete transparency around pricing. There should be no hidden costs involved and you should be certain that you are only paying for services that are actually used. Are materials extra? Are there costs associated with project management and administration? Compare ‘apples with apples’ when comparing several options and be wary of immediately going for the cheapest provider – you will get what you pay for and the commercial risk of compromising on quality may be significant!

8. Style, Approach and Philosophy

Ask the outplacement provider to provide examples of their style, approach and philosophy when supporting employees at all levels through redundancy. This can make the difference between an effective and a poor experience for the affected employee and will also indicate the level of expertise provided. You may find that consulting firms that specialise in outplacement have a more dedicated approach than those for whom outplacement is secondary to core business activity.

9. Expertise

Before engaging with an outplacement provider have a clear understanding of levels of employees affected and the type of support you are looking for. Then check the provider’s expertise in providing this type of support. For example, if you require support for middle to senior managers from the financial sector, check the outplacement providers experience in providing support to this level of individual from the sector.

10. Working In Partnership

Your working relationship with the provider is as important as the support they provide to your employees. A provider that seeks to take a partnership approach as opposed to a transactional approach will guarantee that you receive the best solutions that focus on adding value. Explore the options for additional support can be offered to ensure that your project runs as smoothly as possible?

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