It’s difficult enough to have to administer layoffs without also having to search for the right outplacement provider. Knowing what to look for, and what top outplacement services offer, will make your search simpler and let you breathe more easily knowing you did the right thing by your employees, while also protecting your employer brand.
When searching for an outplacement provider, you want to consider the features and benefits within four main categories: the company itself, career coaching, the online career center (technology), and implementation. Some of these criteria may seem obvious, while others may not have occurred to you. However, they are no less important. Let’s take a look at what makes an outplacement firm an outstanding choice.
The Features and Benefits of Top Outplacement Services
It probably goes without saying that you want to look for a provider that has a reputation for delivering quality services. But what makes up those services and how is the vendor working to maintain their high standards, continually improve upon their technology, and deliver the services wherever you need them?
Choosing a firm that has broad expertise in HR solutions and a dedicated outplacement team means that you’ll get a depth of experience and focus from a vendor who is invested in staying current with best practices and who prioritizes innovation, so that exiting employees have the greatest chance of finding new opportunities.
Scalability is another factor to consider. A vendor who is experienced in providing services to a business of your size and who can quickly scale their services to meet your needs whether small or large, in a single domestic location or worldwide, means that whatever your circumstance, your provider will be ready to deliver when and where you need them. In order to serve and advise your employees appropriately, you’ll need a platform that’s localized. Such an offering would combine a platform available in multiple languages with local coaches who are familiar with regional business customs and requirements.
Evaluating and comparing costs among a number of providers is important, as some may itemize parts of service that others include as part of a package fee. Ask questions and be sure you understand what the service costs include. Using a cost-effective, flexible solution will mean that you can offer outplacement to anyone at any level in your organization, which is especially important at a time when many hourly and entry-level positions are being eliminated in addition to more senior positions. While not every individual has the same needs upon exiting, top outplacement services offer a range of programs with different levels of support so that you can customize your services.
Finally, consider the company’s reputation. What do the vendors’ users and clients say? What are its coaching and platform ratings? And what awards and endorsements have they received? The answers to each of these questions is important as you evaluate a provider. Top outplacement providers create results for candidates using their services.
Gone are the days when candidates visited an office to receive outplacement services, so having a solution that employees can access at home is more important than ever. But that’s only the beginning. As candidates juggle personal responsibilities with their job searches, convenience is key. Providing access to live, one-on-one, award-winning career coaching seven days a week makes the process not only easier, but also more efficient. When a candidate can contact a coach over the weekend to prepare for a Monday interview or discuss how to negotiate a job offer, or get help with creating a resume or cover letter, it can make all the difference in their outplacement experience. The option to contact a coach to chat via video or text on-demand also allows candidates to get answers to their questions quickly so they can progress in their search.
You may also find in your research that some providers place time limits on coaching sessions or allocate a certain number of coaching hours per program. At times, these limits may not be clearly stated by the provider, but will be experienced by the candidate, as coaches try to wrap up sessions before the candidates are ready for them to end. Be sure you know what you are paying for. Unlimited coaching provides candidates with the greatest opportunity to find desirable employment quickly.
Of course, the availability of the coaches won’t matter if the coaches themselves don’t have the experience to guide your employees through their journey to new employment. Some vendors’ coaches only have experience working with executives and more senior employees, while others may have limited career development experience. Coaches employed by top outplacement services should have advanced degrees; extensive experience coaching employees at all levels, from all backgrounds, and in all industries; accreditations from established organizations; and continue their education to remain up-to-date on best practices in career development. Make sure to ask the vendor what criteria they use to select their coaches.
The Online Career Center
While you’d expect to find a job board and resume samples in any online career platform, top outplacement services should provide much, much more. The platform, which should be available on desktop and mobile devices, should offer built-in live, on-demand coaching to help candidates seven days a week. Users should be able to submit their resumes for review and receive feedback any day of the week. Because, as Inc. notes, developing a personal brand is vital to a job search, they should also be able to get assistance creating personal branding across professional and social media platforms.
The job board itself should be extensive and enable job alerts for new postings so that candidates can be among the first to apply, and should have integrations with platforms such as LinkedIn so that job seekers can quickly identify connections at target companies.
Psychology Today notes that building self-awareness around preferences, capabilities, and presence improves self-confidence and can help an individual know when an opportunity is the right fit. Look for providers that include tools such as assessments that help in these areas. For example, technology that allows job seekers to practice their interview techniques and uncover their strengths and skills will help them have an edge when applying and interviewing for desired positions.
An expert provider will also have workshops and guidance for crafting cover letters and resumes, networking, offer negotiation, entrepreneurship, and more.
Implementation and Support
A great solution is of no use if it can’t be implemented quickly and easily if needed, ideally in 48 hours or less. Top outplacement services will have expert account management to provide consultative guidance at any time and to oversee quarterly business reviews. They’ll ensure your employees are quickly onboarded so that they receive immediate access to the services they need, to begin their paths to new employment.
Support should be available at any time, and the technology platform should be managed by a best-in-class web service provider to ensure candidate access is never interrupted.
And because at any time you should be able to view the effectiveness of the services you’ve paid for, they should also include transparent reporting in real-time, on-demand.
As you can see, top outplacement services provide a wealth of resources for job seekers, including expert career coaching and a robust online platform. Download our checklist to make selecting an outplacement provider easier. Then, schedule a demo so you can see just how Intoo’s outplacement solutions can lead your exiting employees to new employment at a rate almost 2.5x faster than the national average.
Robyn Kern is a seasoned business writer who has written in the HR, education, technology, and nonprofit spaces. She writes about topics including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more, with the goal of surfacing workforce trends and educating the HR community on these key topics. Her work has been featured on hrforhr.org and trainingindustry.com.