Outplacement: What You Need to Know

What is Outplacement?

Redundancy and career transition are a common feature of today’s business environment. No company wants to say goodbye to a valued employee but often redundancy is a commercial reality which is out of its hands.

What an organisation is in control of however, is how it navigates this situation. By ensuring supportive and positive outplacement journeys a company can demonstrate its commitment to fair employment practices and a dedication to its workforce of the present, as well as enhancing its reputation in the eyes of potential employees of the future.

So, what is outplacement?

Outplacement (sometimes called career transition) is a service provided to employees exiting your business due to redundancy. The aim of an outplacement programme is to transition the employee as smoothly as possible whilst supporting them to find their next role or explore alternative career paths.

Generally, companies seek to offer outplacement services to all employees impacted by redundancy, regardless of their role or level of seniority within the business and will usually enlist the support of an outplacement provider to deliver outplacement services to affected employees.

Why do organisations provide outplacement services?

By investing in an effective outplacement programme, an organisation can show that it values its staff, and is committed to helping them on their career path – even when their time at the company has come to an end.

Redundancy can be a very worrying and sometimes frightening experience for employees and organisations should be willing to help them through this process to ensure the employee feels supported. In doing so, the organisation can meet its corporate social responsibility aims and garner numerous business benefits.

By investing in outplacement companies can:

Protect corporate reputation

Offering support to those exiting your business shows your organisation genuinely values and supports its employees. It protects your employer brand, supports attraction and retention efforts and allows companies to ‘bounce back’ more quickly after a period of change.

Create advocates not adversaries

Individuals who feel that their departure has been handled well are more likely to maintain positive relationships with your business, which reduces the risk of negative commentary online or through word of mouth. With platforms such as Glassdoor now a key source of information for new talent, maintaining relationships is a crucial part of any change programme, especially as you may look to re-employ individuals in the future.

Major on mental health

Employee mental health is an ever-increasing focus for businesses – particularly in light of the upheaval to the normal working life caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the furlough scheme. Outplacement can act as a valuable tool in ensuring your staff’s mental health and wellbeing is protected through challenging times.

Minimise future litigation

Individuals that are supported when impacted by redundancy are less likely to consider bringing claims against their former employer – an important consideration for organisations, particularly since the abolition of fees associated with bringing a claim and subsequent rise in cases. With the correct employee support, organisations can reduce the time and resource allocated to further investigation as well as avoiding costly legal bills.

Reassure remaining employees

Providing outplacement support demonstrates to remaining employees that you value your employees and their careers, which builds respect, engagement and commitment at a time when it matters most.

Do the right thing

Redundant employees are likely to face considerable challenges as they seek new employment in the current climate. Providing employees with the safety net of outplacement support will help to alleviate any concerns they may have whilst also supporting them to find their next role in the quickest time possible. Supporting them at this challenging juncture is fundamentally the right thing to do.

How does outplacement help support employees?

The benefits of providing outplacement support to an individual facing redundancy are clear; access to the support, guidance and tools needed to help them transition successfully and land their next role.

Outplacement helps individuals to:

  • Focus on the future by reassuring them that they will be supported through their transition – removing stress and helping to get the best out of them for next stage of their development.
  • Explore their options – whether this is finding another job, becoming self-employed, setting up their own business, embarking on a career pivot or even preparing for early retirement.
  • Understand the current job market and best prepare themselves for it – it may have been many years since they applied for a job so the whole process may be entirely different, as will their skillset and experience.
  • Identify their transferable skills – this is important as the job market is evolving with new industries and associated roles emerging and they will need to be up to date with the changes.
  • Help them develop a structured job search campaign – utilising all the channels available including LinkedIn and their own personal networks to uncover opportunities.
  • Reduce the time taken to land a new role – they will not be alone in the process and the additional support offered by the organisation can help to expedite their job search or chosen transition path.

How is outplacement structured?

Outplacement is a vital process – both to the individual and to the organisation – but there is not a one size fits all approach. To be successful there must be a personalised approach to outplacement, whether delivered in person or virtually. No two individuals are the same, and as such any outplacement support, to be effective, needs to be tailored to the unique needs of the individuals it supports.

This can be achieved through a combination of:

Experienced coaches

Effective outplacement programmes look to provide employees with their own personal outplacement coach, experienced and skilled at supporting people through career transition. Matching the right coach to the right individual is important and will determine the success of the programme. Either through face-to face or virtual meetings the coach will help to guide, though a range of tools and coaching, the individual to identify the right next move for them, and then help them develop an effective plan to achieve this.

Exploring options

All outplacement support should help employees explore the full range of options available to them, whether that be finding a similar job, changing industry or a complete career change such as setting up their own business or establishing a portfolio career. With this support as a foundation, individuals are far more likely to commit and be motivated to turn their plans into reality.


This is a standard part of an outplacement programme, providing the employee with additional support, including self-discovery and assessment tools, research databases, powerful job search tools, interview simulations, job-directories and a wealth of learning resources to develop any skills gap identified during the process.

How can INTOO help?

For further advice and guidance on how to manage change and redundancy, including planning and communicating change, the redundancy process, breaking the news and employee support options available, download a copy of our guide: https://intoo.com/uk/cat-blog/supporting-your-organisation-through-change-and-redundancy-fs/

Or contact us today on 0808 164 2220 or getintouch@intoo.com.