If you asked human resources professionals to name their least favorite responsibility, many would probably say terminating employees. Even under the best of circumstances, it is an awkward experience. And under the worst, a termination can be downright contentious.
But we will discuss the best, or at least better, circumstances. Perhaps your organization decides to downsize its workforce. Or you encounter a situation in which an employee has made an honest effort but is simply better suited to another occupation or pursuit. In such cases, offering outplacement services can make the termination process less painful and enhance your reputation as a good employer.
Counseling & support
In a nutshell, outplacement services help employees cope with the loss of a job and assist them in finding a new one. The services are generally centered on counseling, which may include:
- Support, both intellectual and emotional, in accepting the employment status change
- Assessment of professional personality, interest, and work style
- Advice and counsel regarding finding new employment
- Guidance in developing a job-search plan that considers functional area and discipline, financial requirements, and interests and aspirations
- Education regarding the job-search process and locating job sources, such as employment agencies and websites
More specifically, outplacement counseling helps ex-employees develop a complete, concise, marketable, accomplishments-oriented resume. It also can teach them to write correspondence that best attracts potential employers’ attention.
When their resumes and correspondence elicit responses, counselors can coach ex-employees on the interview process, stressing the importance of preparation and attention to detail. Last, when job offers start rolling in, outplacement counseling can help applicants negotiate equitable starting salaries.
A competitive move
Small to midsize employers typically do not have the resources to provide outplacement services themselves. Most outsource the task to specialists. Naturally, cost and effort will be required to choose a vendor and maintain the relationship.
Incurring these expenses may not make sense for every organization. However, in today’s highly competitive job market — especially in certain industries — it is worth considering. Remember, your company’s reputation is its calling card. Establishing yourself as a conscientious and compassionate employer can facilitate future hiring efforts.
Also, just as many people know not to burn bridges when leaving a job, the same holds true for employers. In the case of layoffs or employees who just need to figure things out, you may want to rehire certain individuals in the future.
A little bit ironic
It is perhaps ironic that outplacement services often help employers with their hiring efforts, but this indeed can be the case. Let us know if you would like more information or other ideas.