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Downsizing, layoffs, mergers, reorganization, restructuring, right-sizing... whatever the name, whatever the reason, the loss of a job is a painful, emotional, and often a devastating experience. Whether you are a company executive looking to implement Outplacement services or the employee losing your job, Career Transition and Outplacement can be difficult to navigate. 

 

Outplacement 101

ARE CAREER TRANSITION AND OUTPLACEMENT THE SAME THING? 
Career Transition and Outplacement are often terms that are inter-changed and can mean the same thing. Technically the difference between the two is if the counseling focuses on just a change in employers or a more complex change to involve industry/position focus change which is more complex and in depth support. Essentially, it is a support service provided by an organization, to support individuals who are exiting the business in order to help these former employees transition to new jobs and help them re-orient themselves in the job market.
 
THE VALUE OF OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES
Outplacement services are typically provided to employees following a lay off or loss of job. The employer may contract a company that specializes in helping employees job search following termination. Regardless of the reason for job loss, these situations are accompanied by feelings of loss, anger, betrayal, and fear in addition to the struggle with finances and self-confidence. Having Career Transition and Outplacement services available to the individual during this time of transition can help them work through these emotions and strategize a plan of action to obtain future employment.   
 
WHAT SERVICES ARE TYPICALLY OFFERED BY OUTPLACEMENT FIRMS?
Outplacement programs are designed to meet the needs of both the employer and the displaced employee. Depending on the Outplacement firm, services can include assistance in termination planning and execution to transition career counseling, resume and LinkedIn profile development, and interview management. Each program is tailored specifically to the organization and individual employee to provide a unique and personalized experience.
 
WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF CAREER TRANSITION SERVICE & OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?
Career Transition services  offer numerous benefits to both the employer and the employee.
  1. Increases morale of those employees remaining with the company as they see that each employee is important and is cared for.
  2. Provides displaced employees with invaluable counsel easing the stress and emotions accompanied with the loss of a job.  
  3. Helps the laid off employee to find work quicker.
  4. Reduces lawsuit claims.
  5. Maintains company reputation.
WHAT IS A SEVERANCE PACKAGE? 
A severance package usually is a “two way” legal document that protects the employer from any adverse legal action by the ex-employee and in turn provides a financial incentive to the ex-employee such as “XX” weeks of paid salary, medical insurance, and other company benefits after termination. This can differ within each organization and with no legal obligation, and some organizations may not offer any type of severance package. Career Transition is a common factor included in a severance package at multiple levels and other specifics can be added to this signed contractual agreement depending on state laws. 
"Since many times a person's employment is terminated through circumstances external to their work, the provision of severance pay is a positive and supportive gesture. The payment of severance pay is also viewed positively by the employees who remain who judge their employer by his or her actions." - Susan M. Heathfield, HR Expert - thebalance.com
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON SEVERANCE PACKAGE OFFERINGS?
If a severance package is offered (which the employing organization is not required to by law) it may vary in its offerings by state and even by local employment law. The key variables tend to be “weeks of paid salary” and benefits coverage extension. Common segments include...
  • a defined payment of money usually described as weeks of salary
  • medical and insurance coverage’s and COBRA benefits
  • payout of unused earned paid time off (ex. 4 weeks or 8 weeks, etc. up to one year or even two years at the senior levels).
  • return of company property
  • legal commitments about confidentiality and company business
  • agreement not to bring legal charges against the company
  • potential restrictions and or non-compete language
  • agreement to assist the company if professional advice in your respective area is required because of legal issues
  • Career Transition/ Outplacement services to be included (if any) and defined. These services may range from a basic program to an extended, full year, in-person/one-on-one support with a career counselor.

 
 
 

The Employer Guide

When faced with the reality of layoffs for your employees, providing Career Transition services may not be what you think of first. You may even think of it as an unnecessary expense, but the decision as to whether to offer Career Transition & Outplacement services is noted by the separated employees, remaining employees, and the community at large. In an ever-changing business environment such as the one the United States is currently experiencing, the fear of finding a new position is very real. Easing those fears and offering guidance and a helping hand goes a long way in maintaining a company's good reputation among employees, customers, and key stakeholders.

Choosing the right Outplacement firm is essential. The right firm is your partner, working with and advising you from the beginning of the process through completion.

 
WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF CAREER TRANSITION SERVICES?
There are many benefits to using Career Transition Services for your displaced employees. Here are just a few....
  1. Helps the terminated employee find work quicker helping to ease their stress and worry. 
  2. Priceless counseling to assist the employee in their new search.
  3. Increase loyalty, satisfaction and morale from the employees remaining at the company.  
  4. Keeps remaining employees engaged and productive.
  5. Maintains the company's reputation among workers and the community.  
  6. Decrease the risk of lawsuit claims.
  7. Cost savings.
  8. Attract and retain top talent.
WHAT IS THE GENERAL PROCESS IN SETTING UP OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES? 
The business organization usually has consulted with their legal counsel to establish a written separation agreement document that specifies the information in a potential severance package if one will be offered.  At that time, the business hires (if they are offering Outplacement support) a firm to administer the services to the impacted ex-employees.  The Outplacement firm meets with senior leadership to establish service offerings and what support the company would need for implementing the notifications. This is different for each business but generally includes…
  1. Preparation of the terminating day activities
  2. On-site to meet with adversely impacted employees
  3. Assistance in employee physical departure from the work
  4. Immediate grief counseling
  5. New career counseling activities over an extended period of time
  6. Receiving an offer(s)
  7. Negotiating to an employment agreement
  8. Closing their career campaign down.
 
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN SEEKING OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?
  1. Personalization - A one-size-fits-all approach to Outplacement services just won't cut in this new world of work. It is essential that your service provider is willing to tailor their solution and offerings not only to your business model, but to the individual employee as well. It is also important that the Outplacement provider offer a human component to their services in addition to their technology offerings. Nothing can beat one-on-one personal services of a career coach working directly with your employee.
  2. Technology Before choosing an Outplacement service provider, ask about the technology piece provided as part of the solution. Find out how their technology component is utilized within the services provided to the transitioning employee, is it best in class and up to date, and are they using best practices to maximize the employees' return such as social media, videos, personalization?
  3. Accessibility & Flexibility - Everyone has something that works for them. More often than not an online program is a popular request. Does the provider offer traditional and modern coaching programs that can be tailored to the needs of the employee? Does the provider offer flexible hours throughout the Outplacement process including nights and weekends? Does the terminated employee have to meet their coach in person? If so, is there a convenient local meeting place? Will the coach hold video conferences if they are not able to meet in person?
  4. Service Focus - Does this provider specialize in Outplacement? You may find that consulting firms that specialize in Outplacement have a more enthusiastic approach than those where Outplacement is secondary service offering. 
  5. Do they offer services beyond the basics? When choosing an Outplacement provider, look for one that offers services and programs that go beyond standard Outplacement services, such as
    1. On-site notification support
    2. Strategic management services
    3. Retirement solutions
    4. Resiliency training
    5. Spousal/family program offering
    6. Redeployment solutions
    7. Programs for employees seeking non-traditional career avenues 
    8. A combination of high tech for efficiency and high touch for empathy 

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD EMPLOYERS ASK THEIR OUTPLACEMENT SERVICE PROVIDER? 

Here are the top questions we suggest you ask a potential Outplacement Service Provider.
  1. Can you please describe your firm's service offerings and do you have client satisfaction data to share?
  2. What is your approach to service delivery at the various levels?
  3. What are your consultant's qualifications?
  4. Do you offer online support and a technology package?
  5. What career focused profiles do you utilize at the middle and upper levels?
  6. Do you offer the same program for each displaced employee or a customized approach? 
  7. Will a consultant be available to support me on notification day and in what capacity?
  8. How much of the career transition consulting is delivered in person?
  9. How do you service clients that are outside of this region?
  10. What are the total services included in the fee and how are fees calculated?
  11. What are your invoice policies? These should be based on actual engagement and not hypothetical project numbers.
ON AVERAGE, WHAT IS THE COST FOR OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?
It varies from approximately $1,000 to $5,000 per person for limited basic programs; $5,000 to $10,000 per person for limited professional programs; $10,000 to $35,000 per person for structured Executive services and then $35,000+ per person for extended support and customized programs at the senior levels. However, some self-direct programs can run as little as $500 - $2,500 per person. 

WILL WE BE CHARGED IF A DISPLACED EMPLOYEE ELECTS NOT TO USE THE OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?
There is no charge to your company for those employees that decline Outplacement services offered to them. 

HOW WILL I KNOW HOW MY FORMER EMPLOYEES ARE ADVANCING?  
When investing in Career Transition services it can be beneficial to track each employee's progress to determine whether the investment is profitable for both the employer and the employee. Status reports can be discussed and reviewed with your Outplacement firm on a timely basis. However, it is important to note that counseling confidentiality is critical between the counselor and the participant. 

WHAT TYPES OF SUPPORT WILL THE OUTPLACEMENT FIRM BE PROVIDING MY FORMER EMPLOYEES?  
The level of support can vary between Outplacement firms. Some may only offer the basic tools and training to obtain an interview, while others will extend their services beyond the interview including interview management and negotiation. Here at Miles LeHane we take each participant through a 14-step process along with profiling at certain levels, career strategy planning, emotional support and confidant on career choices. We educate as well as assist in finding new career opportunities.  Outplacement is not the job search, but rather we assist them in how to interact with search professionals. Developing strategy and interview management are absolute keys to success.
 
CAN CAREER TRANSITION AND OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES HELP ACHIEVE MORE SUCCESSFUL ON-BOARDING AND RETENTION RESULTS? 
Career Transition focuses on effective job/person fit. With this, more effective interviewing and offer acceptance, the on-boarding process becomes LESS DIFFICULT because many potential issues have been discussed. It converts it to a learning environment versus a trial and error process.
 
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY FORMER EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO SECURE A NEW POSITION WITHIN THE TIME PEROID PROMISED BY THE OUTPLACEMENT FIRM?

As long as the candidate is actively looking and working to find a position Miles LeHane is always available to take candidate-initiated calls to answer specific questions.

If the engaged candidate needs to take a break for a family emergency or for medical reasons we will work with that candidate and can put their particular program on “hold” for an extended period of time once there is agreement from the former employer and the participant.

 

 

Let's Talk. Schedule an appointment!

 

 

The Employee Guide

I've just been notified that the organization is restructuring and my position has been eliminated.... Now what? Meeting with a Career Transition Counselor may not be the first thing you think of, but it should be. Contrary to the name, getting career transition counseling isn't necessarily about changing careers or industries, although it can be. Taking the time to do a thorough evaluation of you, your life and your work can be the ticket to re-emerging into the world with confidence.
 
WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS AFTER A LAYOFF?
After hearing such undesirable news you're likely to be experiencing a wide range of emotion from fear and anxiety to anger. However, the best thing you can do in this moment is to keep your head up and be pro-active. Being resilient will enhance your adaptability to this unwelcomed development along your career path and ultimately you will prevail. If your employer is offering a severance package with Outplacement services, great! Get in contact with your career coach as soon as possible. If no severance package is offered, there is no harm in trying to negotiate this into the terms of your displacement.  
 
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?
Ultimately, a more rapid reemployment and hopefully a new and better opportunity that is more suited to your individual strengths. You can expect to have someone on your side with a high level of support and counseling throughout this stressful time. With a career coach they will help you develop a structured career campaign strategy to help you get into your next position faster. The service offerings may include helping you to build your resume and other marketing materials, help you to explore and define personal interests, skills and abilities, help you manage your personal network, practice interview skills, help you manage your search campaign and teach you negotiating strategies for salary and compensation.
 
WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF CAREER TRANSITION & OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?

It's a competitive job market today and more people are chasing fewer jobs than ever before. So, it's important to have your genius shine in all aspects of your job search.  Most people are not experienced in changing careers, so understanding and successfully navigating today's new world of work is of utmost importance. Through Outplacement services you can: 

  1. Develop a strategy for your career, using self-assessments and career exploration tools
  2. Create your marketing materials, such as your resume and LinkedIn profile
  3. Grow your personal brand so that your value proposition stands out
  4. Define your ideal position criteria/ideal job
  5. Integrate a networking strategy that enhances your search
  6. Learn to handle interviews effectively
  7. Prepare to negotiate and evaluate job offers
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK MY EMPLOYER REGARDING CAREER TRANSITION SERVICES? 

After receiving notice, it's expected that you're flooded with emotion and questions. Here are some of the basic questions you should be asking your employer about your Outplacement services.

  1. What is the duration of my program?
  2. Are the Outplacement services included in my severance package and is there any out-of-pocket costs to me?
  3. What services are included? An example may be 24/7 online career support and research access.
  4. Will I be assigned my own career coach? How do I get in-touch with them?
HOW DO I BEGIN USING MY CAREER TRANSITION SERVICES?
Typically, the business will turn over the list of approved displaced employees to the Outplacement firm with extremely limited contact information for each person impacted. At that point the participant contacts the Outplacement firm, or the Outplacement firm reaches out to the participant depending on the sponsoring organization. Once the participant has accepted Outplacement services, they will then be set-up with a career coach who will help the employee create a structured career campaign strategy to re-enter the workforce. Note all severance agreements must have a period of rescission by law.  Many companies will allow Outplacement services immediately, but some will require the wait of the contract recession period.
 
WILL MY SEVERANCE PACKAGE REMAIN IN PLACE UNTIL I HAVE OBTAINED A NEW POSITION WITH THE HELP OF THE OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?

Severance packages and agreements are legal documents that are carefully drawn up by attorneys to comply with local, state and Federal laws. They are contract law documents and remain in effect based on the parameters of the contract descriptions.  There is no “one” severance agreement format. Within that each of the areas has definitions about what and how long they apply.  By law they are defined in scope and applicability. Both employer and employee have defined penalties if the contract is violated. 

However, that being said, there are a variety of situations that may occur so be sure to read your severance agreement carefully and clarify any questions you have with your employer. Some companies may terminate the severance package upon the displaced employee finding employment. Other companies may establish time frames meaning you could have started your new role while still receiving your severance package benefits or you could be unfortunate with your severance benefits expired and still job searching.
 
WILL I BE ALLOWED PAID TIME OFF FOR TRAINING COURSES OR INTERVIEWS?
This varies by company and by the layoff parameters and if the layoff qualifies under the WARN Act - if more than 49 people are impacted the WARN Act requires 60 days' notice with full pay or 60 days of paid severance in lieu of 60-day notice in addition to any other severance benefits. Allowing these activities is becoming more acceptable at the level of the former employer and is supported by Outplacement firms only if the people impacted have had some initial Outplacement counseling to enhance their chances of getting hired.  This combination of early Outplacement services and time off for interviewing is becoming the new gold standard of companies focused on their reputations a great place to work.
 
WHAT IF I WANT TO CHANGE MY CAREER PATH?
This is common in today's business environment.  This typically is the technical difference between Outplacement and Career Transition Counseling.  Usually additional coaching, testing and guidance is needed to coach the individual on how to be successful without stepping back if possible.
 
WILL I SECURE A ROLE WITH OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES?
Outplacement services make a candidate better at securing the best position at the best compensation and how-to best market the value they bring to a company and therefore +usually get selected over multiple candidates.  In other words—the better you interview and present you as an asset to the hiring company, the better your odds of landing the ideal position.
 
HOW WILL MY CAREER COACH HELP ME?
You will have an assigned Career Coach who will work with you one-on-one. They will partner with you to reach your personal goals for this transition. You and your coach will begin by assessing your needs and evaluating your current options, based on the results of this assessment. Your first consultation should define what success looks like. Everything flows from there & your resume, companies to consider, positions to consider, even interview techniques.
 
 
Don't leave your next step to chance! Learn more about OI Solutions. 
 
 

Additional Resources

 
   

Building Block Essentials is a tactical 14-step process that every job hunter should complete before launching their job search. A companion piece to The Four Pillars of Employable Talent, Building Block Essentials is a review of important tactics that are now required when implementing the Four Pillars. Both strategy and tactics must come together to help you stand out from other candidates and be considered for key positions in your field. Once you have integrated both principles, you can truly be considered “employable talent.” 

In this book Dr. David Miles shares how job seekers can stand out from other candidates applying for the same position and optimize their chances at landing the next opportunity. He covers the basics—like building a resume, biography and cover letter—as well as more advanced tactics, such as managing the interview and responding to critical questions. He even discusses the art of negotiating the job offer. 

How to Bounce Back from a Layoff
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The Ultimate Guide to Recruiting & Retaining Top Talent
10 Ways to Show Continuous Career Development

“Dr. Miles is that rare top-level executive who combines subject matter expertise, a keen and curious intellect, a sense of history, and management science in the pursuit of excellence in all matters related to Human Capital Management and Performance!”

 

Hector Velez

Hector Velez, COO Vector Talent Resources

“It’s rare to find an expert whose insights are revolutionary and whose counsel is practical.  But Dr. Miles is admirably and thankfully up to the task.”

Bill Crigger

Bill Crigger, President Association of Career Firms, North America

Download the FREE e-Book!

Career-Trinsition-Pillar-Cover-on-BookDownsizing, layoffs, mergers, reorganization, restructuring, right-sizing... whatever the name, whatever the reason, the loss of a job is a painful, emotional, and often a devastating experience. Whether you are a company executive looking to implement Outplacement services or the employee loosing your job, Career Transition and Outplacement can be difficult to navigate. 

 

In this e-book you will learn:

-  What Career Transition and Outplacement services are.
How Outplacement services fit into a severance package.
-  The benefits of Outplacement services for both the Employer and the Employee. 
-  The services an Outplacement firm can offer.
-  What to look for when seeking outplacement services.
Key questions to ask when going through a organizational restructure or career transition.
-  The steps to take after a layoff to get into a new position that is the best fit for you and as quickly as possible.
-  How a career coach can help you to navigate the modern day job market to secure a new position successfully.

 

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