Outplacement is a service that many companies buy once and never think about again. Mainly, this is because outplacement is only used on an event-driven basis. It’s there when you need it. And when you don't, you rarely think about it.
The service is also seen as one that is hard to change once a contract with a provider is signed. What this leads to is a bunch of companies staying with outdated providers that don’t live in the modern world.
This is horrible for your outgoing staff, your company's reputation, and your bottom line.
The fact is that sticking with an outdated outplacement provider can cost your company more money than its worth without even providing your outbound staff members with the support they need for today’s ever-changing job market.
This is why it’s important to dispel the myth that outplacement is a single purchase that never has to be looked at again.
Why You Should Take a Look at Your Outplacement Provider
Over the last couple of years, the world of outplacement has changed drastically to align itself with the modern job hunt.
Gone are the days of ‘hitting the pavement’ or responding the classified ads in the paper to find a job. Gone are the days of commuting to a central office to receive support by a coach who doesn’t fully understand their clients role. And gone are the days of term limits and retainer fees.
As the job market changes, outplacement changes with it. If, that is, the provider stays current with what's going on.
Traditional providers still operate like it’s 2009, a time when the digital world of job hunting was in its infancy. There is no longer a reason for a person to not get the support they require at any time of the day from any location. Their outplacement provider should be flexible enough to help anyone.
The internet has given us the tools to reach anyone who needs support. It has also fundamentally changed the way job hunters land new roles.
For example, in today’s world, you need to have an online presence. You need to get around applicant tracking systems, and you need to find job on and off of job boards.
Today’s top notch outplacement providers can help with all of this and more by combining coaching and online platforms that allow job seekers to land new, fulfilling roles without all of the added stress of having to set meeting times with whatever coach happens to be at the office that day.
Why a Modern Provider Is Mandatory Now
Before, companies were able to use these older service providers because if they failed there weren’t that many repercussions. Now, if a layoff occurs and outplacement is provided, it matters far more that the person going through the program land a new role because a company’s reputation can be smashed if they don’t.
Outplacement is meant to get your staff back to work, allowing everyone involved to carry less stress. If an outplacement provider is not up to the task of finding a role for a modern job seeker, they should be dropped because they are going to be more problematic than they are helpful.
A Note About Term Limits and Retainer Fees
If the idea of your staffers not landing a new role isn’t enough for you to reevaluate your current outplacement provider, maybe saving money is.
Right now, many traditional firms still charge retainer fees. These fees can seriously get out of hand if you don’t use your outplacement provider all of the time, which you probably aren’t.
Outplacement as a service is largely dependent on a layoff event, which means that you will only use them when you truly need them. Unlike a lawyer, who will also charge a retainer, outplacement services are not leaned on in everyday business.
Despite this fact, retainer fees are still charged by many outplacement providers. Basically, this means you are paying for the luxury of not using their service. Then, when you need to use it, you have to pay again. This doesn’t make any sense.
Modern outplacement providers, who operate online and truly understand their role with the companies they work for, do not charge a retainer fee.
This is true as well when it comes to term limits.
Many traditional providers still use term limits, meaning that if your staff member doesn’t land a job in a specific amount of time, they are cut loose from the program.
Typically, these term limits are about 3 months, though some can be longer and some can be as short as a few weeks.
The problem here is that if a traditional provider is still using antiquated approaches to the outplacement process, they will likely not find your staff member a new job in that time-frame, leaving them to go it alone, which can then impact your organization.
Also, who wants to a pay for a service that doesn’t work? Who wants to throw their money at something less than a sure thing, especially if you’ve also been paying a retainer this whole time?
It’s Time to Look at Your Provider
All of this points to the fact that outplacement services shouldn’t be forgotten once they’ve been purchased. Every couple of years or even every time you have an event, it makes sense to look at your provider to see if they are doing everything they can get your staffer back to work without causing you even more financial hardship and unneeded stress from programs that don’t work.
How do you do this, though?
Well, the first is to read articles around the internet. We recommend you make a list of questions that you have about outplacement and researching those specifically.
To help with this process, here is a list of common questions that we’ve answered:
- 4 Things You Need to Know About Outplacement Assistance
- Examining the Top 10 Outplacement Firms: What We Learned
- [Outplacement Process]: 10 Important Items To Consider
- Why is Outplacement Important?
- Outplacement: 5 Ways to Evaluate Your Current Provider
- 6 Tips To Help You Choose The Right Outplacement Agency
- How Much Does Outplacement Cost?
Once you take a look around and gauge what others have to say, we recommend making a shortlist of providers that you can dig into further.
Of course, if you are pressed for time and need to judge your provider quickly, there is no easier way than by requesting a demo from providers you like to see what they really offer. Make sure they have these qualities:
- No Retainer Fees
- No Term Limits
- Support Until Placement
- Internet-Driven Approach
- Expert Coaching Staff
- Anywhere Support
- Knowledge of Today’s Job Market
- No Required Brick-and-Mortar Visits (Unless the client wants it)
- If you look for a provider with these qualities, you’ll be well on your way to having the best support possible.
- Now, the big question:
Is It Really Easy to Switch Providers?
Switching outplacement providers is as easy as signing a new contract.
You just need to sign a contract and then provide information to your outbound staff. If you are already in a contract, many times these do not keep you from cancelling them.
If you do happen to be on a contract for a certain limit of time, make sure you check back before resigning so you can see how the market has changed. (Hint: it’s always changing! Even if you aren’t paying attention.)
Switching outplacement providers doesn’t require much action from you, the HR or business leader who handles the account. Really, it’s just a matter of paperwork and then when someone comes through the program, everything is handled by the provider.
For example, when someone gets signed on to the program after a layoff or RIF, they will get an email asking them to participate. If they agree to participate, coaches will reach out to them to start the process.
The best outplacement providers only charge when someone uses the program instead of charging retainer fees and other upfront costs. That way, you only pay what you need to pay and your staff are better off for it.
Want to learn more? Check out our outplacement pricing guide to start finding the right provider for you: