How to find the right outplacement company

How to find the right outplacement company

It is never a simple matter to proceed with terminating an employee.  There is a lot of emotional discomfort that can accompany the decision and it can be extremely difficult to deliver the bad news during a very intense moment.  There is also the concern of legal and financial exposure to the company when an employee is terminated and this is why many companies choose to let the process of transition be handled by a professional outplacement company.

Once it has been decided that an employee will be terminated, an employer may have a difficult time dealing with the weight of the decision but they should try to remain detached about this decision.  It is hard for most people to deal with termination and saying the wrong thing can cause issues that are difficult to resolve.  A professional outplacement company can help to ensure that the employer is not exposed to legal action.  The outplacement company allows an employer to maintain their relationship with the employees that are left behind.

It is important to remember that morale is very important and when times are tough and staff layoffs must be undertaken it is important to handle it professionally.  Staff should be made to understand that the process of outplacement is something that needs to be undertaken by the employee and the employer together in a mutually respectful manner.

Here are some considerations when hiring an outplacement company:

  1. The location of the outplacement company. Staff that has been terminated will not want to return to the location of their former employment day in and day out.  It is best if the outplacement company is located away from the employer’s location.
  2. The outplacement company should use physical people. Some of these companies tend to hand out materials or books in a self-directed model and most outplaced employees need a hands-on approach along with guidance from real people.  The electronic model where there is no contact with humans is not the best way to deal with outplacement procedures.  Outplaced employees need reassurance and coaching to help them mitigate their damages and find new employment.
  3. Ensure that the outplacement company has a comfortable environment where the outplaced employees will be able to deal with their issues in a relaxed atmosphere. Outplaced staff will have a lot of issues to deal with and they need help in making their transition easier.
  4. Some outplacement companies charge for the whole contract, not just the services that are used. Choose a company where you only pay for the services that you actually use to help save your company some money.
  5. Every employee that is outplaced is unique. The outplacement company should customise their process for each person instead of using a common approach to each person.  This can come across as highly impersonal.

If you choose the right outplacement company your former staff will become great supporters of your company because you took the time to treat them with dignity and respect in their time of despair.  Letting people go is a part of business, but people still need to be treated like people.

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Authored by: Pete Anderson

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