What is outplacement?

Outplacement or outplacement consulting and – perhaps more positively associable – newplacement: All these terms stand for the professional support of departing employees (normally financed by the employer) for their professional reorientation. This service is offered by freelance outplacement consultants or specialised outplacement companies.

SMEs and large corporations as well as government institutions and associations use this service when they want to or have to part with employees. The forms are basically individual outplacement or group outplacement.

The idea behind this support is simple: the employer assumes social responsibility for the situation and wants to make the consequences for the employees as positive as possible in a “fair” separation situation. Both sides benefit from this:

“Outgoing employees are offered a new, attractive career perspective. The separation should be quick, amicable and fair.”

The employer avoids damage to his image as a bad employer, both internally and externally. Employees benefit from this because the employer pays a highly qualified coach for them. This coach leads you step by step to a new job, a new career or even to self-employment. There is no longer any reason to fear existencial problems or a break in your career.

Three reasons to use outplacement

In certain situations the separation of employees is an unavoidable company process. However, in times when companies have to reorganize or restructure themselves at ever shorter intervals, this process repeats itself more and more frequently. In these situations even in medium-sized companies not only individual employees, but increasingly entire departments or entire divisions are concerned.

In this event organizations and institutions from all sectors are increasingly choosing to use outplacement. And there are three central reasons for this:

  1. Positive working atmosphere – because the remaining employees observe closely with how much appreciation outgoing colleagues are treated.

  2. Good reputation – because external attention is growing, especially when larger numbers of employees are to leave. Local or national media report and customers, business partners or potential candidates for your company are watching.

  3. Duration and costs of the separation under control – by an amicable separation the separation situation can be organized in a positive way. The cost for a longer absence due to illness or a (possibly expensive) legal dispute can usually be avoided. The procedure and dates of the separation are agreed jointly. 

Overall, organizational change processes are facilitated and accelerated with the help of outplacement.

Typical outplacement situations

Outplacement provides organizations with a very versatile tool to manage more easily structural and personal changes with employee layoffs in any situation. For example:

  • change in business segements,
  • company takeovers and
  • mergers,
  • relocation of workplaces,
  • outsourcing,
  • staff reduction or
  • rationalisation measures and
  • lack of employee performance.

How does the outplacement process work?

You will find five typical basic outplacement steps.

  1. coping with separation and determining your current position: potential analysis and personal profile
  2. reorientation: development of a professional perspective
  3. self-marketing: application documents and strategy
  4. job search: the active application phase
  5. New job: conclusion of contract and integration

Individual or group outplacement differ only slightly in content and both follow this basic procedure.

Depending on the type of outplacement and the contract, the intensity and focus of the outplacement the consultation may vary. Below you will find a differentiated description of the process.

The outplacement process in 8 steps

1. Preparation of termination in cooperation with outplacement service provider

Ideally, the outplacement consultation begins immediately after the decision to terminate the contract.

The consultant is then actively involved by the employer in the practical termination process. In this difficult situation, the positive, supportive character of outplacement is best demonstrated to the employees from the outset. Qualified outplacement providers regard this support as part of their service.


2. Contact and meeting of the outplacement coach with the person concerned

Under this premise, the outplacement coach and employee get to know each other directly after the separation interview. The coach is then there as support or assistance and can help with the emotional coming to terms.

Very soon a second meeting then takes place. This meeting is then the start into a new future with a personal assessment of the situation as a starting point.


3. Psychological support and motivation

A dismissal hits everyone hard and quickly triggers many doubts or fears. A good outplacement coach therefore always provides psychological support. The person affected must first be stabilized in order to then work on the dismissal as well as its reasons and consequences.

Motivation already begins by pointing out the many opportunities that now arise. The coach provides motivation during the whole process – for example if the application phase is not instantly successful.


4. Positioning: the basis of reorientation

At the beginning of each outplacement there is a personal assessment of the situation together with the coach. Where are the successes, strengths, talents and interests? And of course: What are the weaknesses? And what qualifications and skills are available?

The goal is to draw a realistic personal and professional self-image. The result is a very sharp profile that can be used to optimally formulate realistic perspectives and goals for the professional reorientation.


5. Developing the self-marketing and application strategy

The evaluation of the personal situation reflects in form of the personal profile the offer of the candidate for the future employer. This is the basis for the self-marketing and the application strategy and is the entry into the application phase. Where short-term deficits exist, the consultant addresses them within the framework of coaching.

Subsequently, the application documents are prepared together by preparing or optimising the application dossier (curriculum vitae, certificates and application letter). These documents form an essential part of the self-marketing. They are based on the unique selling proposition (USP), which was elaborated in the analysis of the status quo (potential analysis). In the training of the interview, the presentation of oneself and the verbal self-portray of the candidates are optimized. Clients are also prepared for difficult questions and salary negotiations.


6. Job search and job selection launch – Job Search

The sharper the personal profile was formulated, the easier it is to find a suitable employer by analysing the advertised positions. The match between your own offer and the advertised job profile must be as congruent as possible. This increases the chances that the applications will be matched. Many jobs are found on the hidden (unpublished) job market. Here, networking and active application are important elements.

The simultaneous publication of an applicant profile on relevant job pages, career sites or business networks is also promising.


7. Advice on contract negotiations

Now you are is on the home straight. But he can still stumble here, too. That’s why the outplacement coach supports the client up to the signing of the contract and beyond.

He advises on contract negotiations, demonstrates successful negotiation tactics or informs on realistic demands for salary and other benefits in the new job.


8. Coaching during the onboarding or probationary period

Good outplacement consultations do not end once an employment contract has been signed. They accompany the new start even further.

The coaches discuss the new tasks and requirements with their clients. They prepare them for the new position and the still unknown organizational environment. Also in the first months of work they remain available for further advice and support.

Advantages for employers

Outplacement can offer the following advantages to your company:

  • keeping the duration and costs of the separation situation under control
  • more employee motivation and better employee retention for the remaining employees
  • increased attractiveness for new applicants (employer branding)
  • avoidance of damage to the image with interest groups (shareholders, customers, etc.) 
  • avoidance of litigation and its costs 
  • relief and exoneration of the operational human resources management
  • change processes can be planned better

But does outplacement have any disadvantages for you?

You do not have any guarantee for the cooperation or loyalty of an employee during the outplacement. In the case of a time-limited outplacement, there is no guarantee that you will find a new position.

The selection of the outplacement partner is important: there are a few black sheep in the industry who are not competent or committed. Here, the ACF Switzerland (Association of Career Firms) is an aid to decision-making whose members are all certified. These disadvantages show the limits. However, the advantages outweigh by far the disadvantages.

Advantages for employees

Outplacement also offers real advantages to employees compared to a job search on your own:

  • provides emotional stabilisation and support in a crisis situation by personal coaching

  • helps you better recognize your own potential and use it for the next career step

  • gives general support for self-esteem in a difficult phase of life

  • finding of a new job is mostly faster

  • reduces financial and social consequences of dismissal

  • thus more quality of life despite dismissal

  • possibly with guaranteed job (depending on outplacement contract)

  • professional and emotional support during job search

  • with a lot of help and personal coaching

  • equally qualified support in setting up a business

 

And basically the most important thing for every dismissed employee: He is not left alone with his dismissal, the possible financial and social consequences or just the thought of it.

What types of outplacement are there?

After taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of outplacement from an employer’s and employee’s point of view, we now proceed with a closer look at the concrete outplacement support.

You can organize an outplacement internally or buy it externally as a service. This decision is based on the size of the organization and the extent of outplacement needed.

Individual outplacement

In the past, the provision of individual advice and support to employees leaving the company was primarily reserved for managing directors and executives. This executive outplacement was increasingly supplemented by the advice of specialists, so that today a much larger group of people benefits from individual outplacement. 

Despite many offers, experienced specialists or managers often do not find a new employer quickly on their own. Although they have always been successful professionally, they often find it difficult to market themselves.

The job market today is more demanding. When filling vacancies today, a detailed job profile is drawn up for each position and only candidates who largely meet it are considered at all (few compromises). This makes it more difficult to find a job without professional help.

With the outplacement consultant you will then develop a clear positioning in the job market with your personal application strategy and in the coaching sessions you will have a personal training for successful job interviews.

However, individual outplacement also has another decisive advantage: in many cases, consultants or outplacement companies also have a very good network in the labour market with recruiting organisations and headhunters. Thus they open doors to new positions on the hidden job market which the individual job seeker would not find alone. 

Outplacement

Group Outplacement

Group outplacement becomes an instrument of positive separation management when a larger number of employees are to leave the organization at the same time. One or more outplacement consultants then support them as a group in seminars and workshops, but also in individual sessions to find personal solutions. Group outplacement is generally less expensive because of the type of consultation.

Group outplacement is used from the middle company levels downwards. More and more organisations have recently decided to extend the outplacement offer to all employees, including the lower levels.

Here, the number of terminations is usually higher. This results in many multipliers who can pass on their experiences from the separation process or make them public. Therefore, offering outplacement pays off in terms of corporate image or employer branding.

For a group outplacement, you can always calculate with lower costs than for an individual consultation (per person). The normally shorter time frame of the support will already provide for this. In actual fact there is no unlimited outplacement or outplacement with guarantee in group programs. The financial expense for this is too high.

e-Outplacement

e-Outplacement or digital Outplacement is a young area among outplacement services. It offers the individuality of an individual outplacement with low costs at a level similar to that of a group outplacement.

Your employees have no personal contact to their outplacement consultant. All communication takes place via digital channels, e.g. via e-mail or cloud solutions, or by telephone. Sometimes video chats are also used.

This is why this type of program has a more technical component. The support focuses on professional advice. Personal coaching and emotional coping with the situation are clearly in the background. For this reason, this form of outplacement has not yet gained a strong foothold in Switzerland.

Employees have always directly engaged an outplacement consultant for their professional development. However, the clients were very exclusive and ranked among the top earners. The inexpensive e-Outplacement now makes it possible for a larger circle of job seekers to afford a personal career coach.

Internal Outplacement 

The internal option is often chosen for cost reasons as the size of the organization increases. With growing needs for personnel changes, internal outplacement support can become a cost-effective alternative. 

This potential cost advantage is particularly evident when outplacement really takes place on an ongoing basis. Otherwise, there are also some disadvantages: Outgoing employees do not necessarily want to discuss and plan their future with representatives of the dismissing employer. This does not always provide the basis for open coaching discussions. Due to the activities of the employer, the experience of the internal outplacement consultants with regard to a professional reorientation or business start-up is normally limited. Irrespective of the suitability of the internal consultants, an external outplacement is always the better choice.

In addition to internal and external outplacement, a further distinction must be made between individual and group outplacement. And there is also a new variant: e-Outplacement.

Our outplacement competence

More than 20 years of experience & expertise

Our experienced consultants are employed by us on a permanent basis. This allows us to ensure that our consulting services deliver a consistently high standard of quality and success.

We place great importance on the fact that our consultants not only have a business and management background, but also have at their disposal a sound psychological methodology and wide-ranging coaching skills and experience.

These are the skills and areas of expertise of of our consultants:

  • An extensive professional network and advanced
  • knowledge of the labor market
    Extensive experience in the fields of career transition and self-marketing
  • An empathetic attitude
    This combination of expertise and important social skills is the basis for our highly successful consulting.

This combination of expertise and important social skills is the basis for our highly successful consulting.

Outplacement Services
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