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Everything Employers Need to Know about Outplacement Services

Certified Resume Writers | What Small Businesses Need to Know About Outplacement Services


A downturn has reduced new orders to a trickle and made standing orders a lot smaller. You hate to think about it, but know you must lay off several people. How you handle a significant downturn in business says a lot about your company and reflects on who you are as a person. You want to do right by your employees while meeting business goals.

To help your employees out in the best way possible, you need to give them something that will relieve their worst fears and concerns to rest. Something that will soften the news for everyone. You already have a severance package for employees who have been with you for at least a year. You want to do more, but aren’t sure what to do.

If you’re a skimmer or you’re looking for specific information in this blog post, just click on the link below to go right to the section you want to read.



What is an Outplacement Service and What Does It Do?

What Outplacement Services Don’t Do

Who Contracts Outplacement Services?

How Does My Business Benefit from Outplacement Services?

Choosing the Right Outplacement Service for Your Organization

How to Plan Workforce Reduction and Outplacement

What Can Employees in Transition Expect from Outplacement?

How Do I Know if an Outplacement Service is Any Good?

Smart Strategy: Promote Outplacement as an Employee Benefit


One of your best options is to offer professional career outplacement for the employees you are about to lay off. What is outplacement is and why you should look into it?


What Is an Outplacement Service and What Does It Do?

An outplacement service provides employees in transition with what they need to take the next step in their careers. Outplacement services typically provide some or all of the following:

  • Interview employee
  • Educational Background
  • Skills Assessment
  • Career Coaching
  • Professionally Written Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Interview Coaching
  • Job search training


Interview Employee

At this stage, the outplacement service learns about the employee’s work history. The interview may take place in person or on the phone. In some cases, the employee may also need to fill out a questionnaire that asks for the details of their work experience and educational background. During the interview process, the career coach asks what the employee would like to do next in his career. This sets the general direction for all of the steps to follow.

Educational Background

The employee’s educational background is important. This helps to determine what kinds of jobs the employee may qualify for, based on their level of education. Some of the jobs the employee might consider may require an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s, or even a Master’s degree. The career coach uses this knowledge to help the employee look at jobs with qualifications and educational or training requirements that might be a good fit.

Certifiable Skills and Training

Specialty licenses and certifications are vitally important to include on a resume. There is a huge difference between a pipefitter apprentice and a journeyman. In some industries, specific certifications are required, such as working with hazardous materials for the petroleum industry or handling chemicals in a laboratory. This information helps the career coach suggest jobs to the employee that require the same or similar certifications.

Skills and Aptitude Assessment

The skills assessment test is an objective measure of the skills and aptitudes the employee already possesses. Skills assessment tests are valuable because they help to highlight the skills the employee is strong identifying skills that may need further development.

Technical skills and soft skills are the two fundamental types of skills assessed. Technical skills are the skills that the employee uses every day on the job. For example, the employee may run CNC machinery or use Microsoft Office 365. Perhaps they develop software using a NODE stack or maintain complex medical devices.

‘Soft’ skills are the employee’s people skills. To help assess these, an employee may undergo a Meyers Brigg test and/or answer a series of questions about how they interact and communicate with others in the workplace. The soft skills assessment helps to identify the ideal working conditions for the employee. Some work best as part of a team while others do better working alone with little supervision. Questions about work culture are also addressed during this part of the assessment to help guide job choices later on.


Certified Resume Writers | Skills and Aptitudes Assessment


This part of the assessment has to do with what kinds of abilities the employee has, but may not have developed. For example, an employee may have worked in HR writing reports for the last five years, but has an aptitude for computer science. This may open doors to new opportunities with the right kind of additional education and training, opportunities that person may not have thought about before. Employees looking to change direction in their careers benefit from learning about aptitudes they didn’t know they had.

Career Coaching

The employee has the opportunity to explore the different options based on what that person wants to do next and the results of skills assessment scores. If an employee is set on pursuing a particular job that requires additional training, that employee will be advised to speak with you or your HR department to learn what can be done along those lines.

Some employees may consider wildly different career paths and talk them over with the career coach. The job of the career coach is to reflect what the employee is sharing and offer guidance that is rooted in the aptitudes and skills of the employee.
Professionally Written Resume
Writing a resume that meets all of today’s criteria is also a lot harder than it used to be. A professionally written resume is organized with a structure that puts the most important information a hiring manager needs to know near the top. Professionally written resumes also communicate the employee’s skills and accomplishments with language the hiring manager understands and relates to. That’s not all, however.

Today’s resumes need to be formatted and optimized for online search, too. The best resume in the world isn’t worth much if it isn’t searchable online. Hiring managers routinely use job-based keywords to search through resumes submitted online to find and prioritize resumes that use those same keywords to describe job duties, skills, and qualifications.

Certified resume writers are genuine professionals. They apply best practices to writing resumes that highlight your employee’s qualifications and make them highly searchable. This greatly improves the chances of your employee getting a job interview with a potential employer. Even better, a professionally written resume can help shorten your employee’s job search by a substantial amount of time. This gives you peace of mind knowing your employee made it through the transition and it saves your business money.


What Do Employers Look for in a Resume?


Cover Letter

A professionally written cover letter highlights the technical skills and accomplishments of the employee. The single goal of the cover letter is to compel a reading of the resume. A well-written cover letter communicates the most important information a hiring manager needs to know before reading the resume. Well-written cover letters increase the number of times a resume gets read.

LinkedIn Profile

In the digital age, a LinkedIn profile makes it easy for employers to find candidates with the skills they are looking for. The quality of an employee’s LinkedIn profile can either help or hurt their chances of an employer contacting them to set up an interview. Poorly written LinkedIn profiles lack the searchability they need and fail to place the most important information at the top where it belongs. Even something as simple as a poor job title choice can cause a potential employer to miss a perfectly qualified candidate during a search.

A professionally written LinkedIn profile organizes the employee’s information so that it is highly readable and searchable by Google, Bing, and other search engines. It’s organized with the most important qualifications at the top, with less important details placed further down. A LinkedIn profile functions as a digitally published version of the employee’s resume. As such, it is critically important for all of the information to match exactly with what’s on an employee’s resume. Employers quickly abandon LinkedIn profiles that don’t match precisely with an employee’s published resume.


Certified Resume Writers | Interview Coaching

Interview Coaching

When done right, interview coaching can really boost an employee’s interview skills. The goal of interview coaching is to provide the employee with the skills needed to fully engage the interview process.

There are a lot of misconceptions about interviews and what they are about. Fundamentally, a job interview is about finding the right person for the job or at least the best fit from the current pool of candidates.

Some interview coaching uses a role-playing approach that the job coach believes will help the interviewer. This may help boost confidence for the moment, but rarely translates to the confidence and skills needed to genuinely engage and ace an interview.

But, isn’t an interview about answering employer questions? Yes, but that’s only part of the answer. The employee in transition also needs to know how to respond appropriately to those questions and how to ask specific, relevant questions as well.

A highly skilled interview coach won’t engage the role-playing model so much. Instead, the interview coach will teach the employee how to think about and respond to the types of questions typically asked during an interview, questions that include: What’s your availability? And How well do you know Microsoft Excel? That same interview coach will also teach the employee how to ask the right questions of the employer, questions that help the employee decide if the job is a good fit.


Job Interview Questions You Should Ask


Job Search Training

Everybody knows how to do a job search, right? Well, not as many as you might think. Most job searches are done online now and that requires a different approach. Even savvy internet users may not know how to perform an effective online job search. Job search training addresses this issue. Employees are shown how to conduct a job search online, using methods and techniques that yield better results right from the start. Thousands of new jobs are posted to popular job boards such as Monster, Indeed, and Career Builder. Employees learn how to search using keywords derived from job titles and descriptions, how to search by location, and how to target jobs by industry or profession

The Goal of Outplacement

You want your employees to transition as smoothly as possible into the next phase of their career. Outplacement does more than just help an employee find a job that fits current skills — outplacement works hard to help that person find a job with a work culture and style that fits. It does little good to invest a lot of money and time in a process that ultimately helps an employee get a job that employee will leave in six months.

While outplacement services provide a lot for your employees in transition, they don’t do everything. Nor should they.



Certified Resume Writers | What Outplacement Doesn't Do


What Outplacement Services Don’t Do

Reputable Outplacement Services Never Guarantee Job Placement

Everyone loves a guarantee, especially when it comes to job placement. Professional outplacement services do not guarantee job placement. That is up to the employee. Some employees have outstanding backgrounds while others, not so much. Because of this, employability varies widely from one employee to the next. Reputable, professional outplacement services will not guarantee job placement for your employees. What they will guarantee is that they will do everything they can to help each of your employees prepare for the next step in their careers.

An Outplacement Program Cannot Force Employees to Participate

You may want every one of the employees you plan to lay off to participate in outplacement. However, it is ultimately up to each employee if they want to participate or not. You may try offering incentives to encourage their participation or even mandate it as their employer. An outplacement service, however, has no authority or right to force an employee to participate in an outplacement program, nor can they legally or ethically offer any guarantee of participation by your employees.

Job Training and Support is Never Part of the Program

Outplacement services do not provide job training or job training support. When job training is offered, it must be offered by you as the employer. If your employees in transition need job training, talk with local community colleges and other educational institutions to learn what your options are and what you need to do. Learn what your obligations for job training and support may be under the law. Providing the training your employees will need for other types of work reflects well upon your organization and its commitment to doing what’s best for your employees. This sends a strong, clear message to other employees and the new talent you’ll look to hire that your organization takes care of its employees, even when the going gets tough.


Who Contracts Outplacement Services?

Organizations of all sizes and types use outplacement to help transition employees into new jobs. Here is a list of just a few of the types of organizations that use outplacement:

  • Government
  • Educational Institutions
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Businesses of all sizes
  • Non-Profits
  • Religious Organizations
  • Charities



Outplacement can be contracted at most levels of government, from the local city council all the way up to senior positions in federal agencies. This includes employees that work within secure organizations with a classified or higher security rating. Outplacement can be used for field agents, law enforcement, administration, or virtually any other position in a government entity.

Educational Institutions

Independent schools, private schools, and public school districts can take advantage of outplacement services. Community colleges, universities, and other educational institutions are also eligible to contract outplacement firms to help place employees in new positions.



Certified Resume Writers | Which Organizations Use Outplacement?

Healthcare Providers

Healthcare service providers of all sizes can benefit from providing outsource services to their employees as part of a severance package. This includes hospitals, mental health facilities, primary and urgent care clinics, and health insurance providers.

Businesses of All Sizes

Small businesses with as few as one or two employees are eligible to use outplacement services to help place employees in new jobs. Business types span every imaginable kind from food processing and manufacturing to software development and IT services. Virtually any business can benefit from using outplacement services for its employees.

Non-Profit, Religious, and Charitable Organizations

Outplacement is available to non-profits of all sizes. When you need to close the local chapter of your non-profit, outplacement can help by providing a smooth transition for employees into new jobs that are a good fit for them.

Churches and other religious organizations can reap major benefits from contracting outplacement services. Clergy and other employees of the organization are more likely to stay if they know they won’t be left on their own if they have to be let go due to changes in religious organizational needs.

When downsizing, charities can benefit from outplacement services. Employees will be encouraged by your efforts to make a difficult transition as smooth as possible for them.

Is My Organization Big Enough to Contract an Outplacement Service?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that outplacement services are only for large companies. The truth is, outplacement services can be for as few as one employee, with the sky being the limit for a maximum number of employees. Having said that, outplacement services tend to fall along a dividing line based on the number of employees they can handle. Smaller outplacement firms generally provide services for up to a hundred or so employees in transition, while larger firms tend to work with employers who may send them several hundred employees at one time.

If you need to place a hundred employees or less, a smaller outplacement firm will be able to provide the services your employees need. If you have more than one hundred employees who need placement, consider working with a larger firm that has the capacity to help your employees in a timely manner.


How Does My Business Benefit from Outplacement Services?

There are multiple benefits to using an outplacement service to transition employees into new jobs, such as:

  • Reduced unemployment insurance costs
  • Lower turnover rate (Unaffected employees are more likely to stay at their jobs knowing you’re going to help them find a job if you have to layoff more people)
  • Maintain high employee morale (employees have peace of mind knowing you won’t abandon them when the going gets tough)
  • Improved business reputation and image in the eyes of the employees you must let go
  • More likely to attract new talent (they’ll see that you look out for your employees)
  • Positive image in community because you are seen as taking care of your employees


Reduced Unemployment Insurance Costs

One of the greatest benefits of outplacement services to business is the reduction in the cost of unemployment insurance and payments to unemployed workers. When an employer provides career outplacement for employees who are about to be laid off, those employees often find work much quicker than if they would if they were to seek a new job without participation in an outplacement program. For example, it might take a former employee four months to find a new job. During that time, the former employee draws unemployment. Participation in an outplacement program may help cut that time roughly in half by providing the former employee the tools and skills to find and secure a new job.



Certified Resume Writers | Benefits of Outplacement Services

Lower Employee Turnover

Whenever layoffs are announced, employees get anxious. Many start looking for work in their spare time, hoping to get a new job before they get laid off, too. This can create additional turmoil when you’re already trying to navigate your business through a difficult period. Providing outplacement as part of the severance package you offer employees sends a clear message that you won’t abandon them during this trying time. They will likely continue to see your business in a positive light and tell others that you’re looking out for them. The other employees will hear this and feel relieved to know you won’t summarily give them the boot if further layoffs come.

Maintain High Employee Morale

Looking for work is tough, even for people with many years of experience and highly developed skills. By communicating that you’re offering outplacement to employees that are about to be laid off, you keep employee morale high among those who aren’t about to be laid off. This translates to your employees feeling good about your business as an employer and you as a human being.

High Regard from Employees Who Will be Laid Off

Nobody wants to lay off employees. When you have no other choice, the offer of career outplacement assistance will soften that blow. Your soon to be laid off employees will appreciate that you’re doing everything you can for them instead of turning them loose with little more than a few months of unemployment to scrape by on.

Positive Public Image in Local Communities

Most of your employees live nearby. When you offer outplacement services to your employees, communicate that with a press release, you send a clear message to the community and surrounding area that you really do care about your employees. This bolsters your public image and reputation in the eyes of others who may not work for you, but live in the area.


Certified Resume Writers | Outplacement Reduces Legal Liability


Reduced Legal Exposure and Liability

A properly designed outplacement program for your employees will comply with 4 key labor laws that are the source of most litigation when employees are laid off.

The 4 Laws:

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  2. Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  3. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  4. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This federal law provides protection against discrimination against people based on sex, color, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Employees who fit one or more of these categories are part of a protected class. When a layoff is planned, this law must be considered. It’s also vitally important when planning outplacement for employees who will be laid off.


Learn more about the Civil Rights Act


Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

This act, also known as the ADA, provides protection to people who have disabilities. When this act was legislated into law, it created a new protected class. Like the Civil Rights Act, your organization must make sure to plan layoffs and outplacement in compliance with the ADA.


Learn more about the ADA


The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

Similar to the first two acts, this act creates another protected class of people based on age. Like the first two acts, it is critically important to ensure that layoff planning and outplacement comply with this act.


Learn more about the Age Discrimination law


The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

Commonly known as the WARN act, it defines how and when an organization must give notice of layoffs to its employees. While this applies mostly to large companies that plan to lay off hundreds of workers, it also affects smaller organizations if the layoff constitutes a third or more of the entire workforce.


Learn more about WARN



Certified Resume Writers | Choosing the Right Outplacement Service


Choosing the Right Outplacement Service for Your Organization

Earlier, we talked about the importance of choosing an outplacement service that is right-sized for your needs. That’s just the beginning, however. There are several more things to consider before signing a contract for outplacement:

  • Number of employees you need outplacement for
  • Your industry and its current state (or the industries your business serves)
  • Your business type/what your business does
  • How long you expect it to take for them to find new jobs


Number of Employees You Need Outplacement Services For

Knowing ahead of time how many employees you need outplacement for will make the process much easier for you and the outplacement firm. This also makes it easier to choose a service that can meet your outplacement needs without breaking the bank.

Current State of Your Industry or the Industries Your Business Serves

This is critically important to consider during a workforce reduction. Larger organizations are likely to be aware of this, but smaller businesses may overlook it. If you provide parts to the automotive industry and the entire industry is shrinking, your employees may need to be placed in similar positions in other industries. Otherwise, they could have some real difficulty finding work at another automotive manufacturer. Awareness of the state of the industry you work in also helps to set a realistic expectation for getting your laid-off employees hired. If they need training to work in a different industry, you will need to plan for that. Outplacement planning may need to factor in any training the employee must complete and how long it will take before the employee is ready to get a job in his new career.

Business Type or What Your Business Does

When you’re looking at layoffs, it’s important to reflect on what your business is doing and how that aligns with industry needs. If you make steel horseshoes, but a new, clip-on high impact plastic horseshoe that shapes itself to the hoof is all the rage, you may need to think about more than just finding jobs for a few dozen employees.

How Long Does it to Take for Laid-Off Workers to Find New Jobs?

This is a tough one. Finding a new job, on average, can take up to 18 weeks or longer. If employees have to retrain and find work in a different industry, it can take much longer than that. Set realistic expectations for how long it will take your former employees to find new jobs, based on the current job market for your industry. If training is necessary, factor in the amount of time that training will take.

Without additional training, many employers provide hourly workers with up to six months of outplacement services and management up to a year. Top-level executives may need even longer to find a new position. Whatever you decide upon, make sure to allow adequate time for most of your employees to find work. This helps reduce legal liability in the event a laid-off employee brings litigation as a result of continued unemployment after the outplacement program has concluded.



Certified Resume Writers | How Long Does It Take Laid Off Workers to Find New Jobs?


How to Plan Workforce Reduction and Outplacement for Employees

Even if you own a small business with 15 or fewer employees, it’s ethical practice to ensure that your layoff and outplacement plans are compliant with applicable federal and state laws. Here is a list of detailed steps to help you plan effectively:

1. Document a clear reason why a reduction in workforce is necessary. In this statement, include:

  • Who the decision makers are that have agreed why a workforce reduction is necessary
  • Why the reduction it is necessary
  • When the workforce reduction is scheduled to take place
  • How the reduction will be implemented
  • Where the reduction will occur (if at multiple locations)
  • What business goals the reduction is expected to achieve
  • Which alternatives were considered before deciding on a workforce reduction
  • Why was each alternative rejected?
  • Who will be laid off
  • Will the organization be restructured after the reduction?
  • If so, what will that restructuring look like?


Be as specific as possible when answering these questions. A well-thought-out statement will not only provide the above details, it will also lay out the benefits and drawbacks of the workforce reduction. Documentation of your workforce reduction also reduces legal liability with transparency should any litigation be brought against your business.

2. Consider Alternatives to Workforce Reduction
This merits its own step. Take the time to research alternatives to learn if one or more of them will help meet business goals. A few examples of alternatives include:

  • Reduction in work hours
  • Postponement of raises
  • Hiring freeze
  • Wage freeze
  • Terminations
  • Voluntary workforce reduction


Voluntary Workforce Reduction

Before considering this alternative, seek legal counsel with expertise in this area. When a voluntary reduction is implemented, it must comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Your benefit programs will also likely be affected for the employees who voluntarily surrender their jobs. Make sure you fully understand the ways in which a voluntary reduction in workforce will affect your organization before committing to this alternative. If you decide to pursue this, make sure your benefits program is adapted to accommodate the employees affected by the reduction.

3. Create Selection Criteria for Employees to be Transitioned
Conduct research on your workforce, gather the data, and record employee statistics. Bring in legal counsel early to help you select who will be transitioned into new jobs outside of your organization. Be sure to record statistics throughout the workforce reduction planning process to identify potential legal liability exposure as discussed earlier in Reduced Legal Exposure and Liability.

You may think that selection is as simple as identifying your worst performing employees and adding them to the list. This is precisely what leads many organizations into a nightmare of expensive litigation from employees and regulators. Selection of employees for workforce reduction is a legal minefield. Before you decide to use performance as your selection criteria, ask the following questions:

  • What are your performance criteria?
  • How do you measure each criterion?
  • Are your performance metrics objective or subjective?
  • Are your performance criteria well documented?
  • Are they compliant with applicable laws?


If you already have clearly defined performance criteria and you have communicated them to your workforce, you are already ahead of the game. However, this isn’t enough to help you safely navigate selection criteria. Consider the nature of your performance criteria and how you measure them. Is each performance criterion tied to something you can objectively measure, such as the number of pieces produced per hour, number of days missed from work, or some other easily measured metric? If not, you may have subjective performance measures which have more to do with how much you like or dislike an employee rather than how well they meet your objective performance criteria. That’s understandable — we tend to like people we resonate with on some level. However, when it comes to laying off workers, you need objective measures of performance that are directly tied to the work each employee performs.

The best way to avoid legal troubles with your selection process is to create and communicate objective performance criteria that are directly related to each job type in your organization. Document the performance criteria in your employee handbook and make sure all employees, supervisors, foremen, and managers know the criteria and regularly conduct employee performance evaluations based on that criteria. If you already have all this in place, you should be able to conduct a selection process that largely steers clear of any legal liability.



Certified Resume Writers | How To Plan a Workforce Reduction and Outplacement


4. Be Transparent with Your Workforce
Create a clear workforce message to be communicated to your workforce and select the managers you need to communicate the message. Include important details taken from your workforce reduction report and train your managers to effectively communicate this to your employees. Tell your workforce that a reduction will take place, when it will take place, and how it will be implemented. Be sure to tell all employees how you plan to help the employees who will be affected by the reduction. Share details on outplacement and any other efforts you’re making, such as education and training to help affected employees find new jobs.

As soon as you have everything in place, your CEO or senior management should make an organization-wide announcement that covers the most important details of why the reduction happening and what your business hopes to achieve through it.

After this announcement has been made, the managers who were tasked with communicating this to employees need to follow up with employees to answer questions they may have and to let employees affected by the reduction know as soon as possible.

5. Release Agreements and Severance Packages
While not as touchy a legal area as discrimination, care still needs to be taken when creating release agreements and severance packages. It is best to bring in counsel with expertise in this area to ensure that all agreements and severance packages are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

What a Release Agreement needs to meet the standard “knowingly voluntary”:

  • Language of agreement must be in plain English
  • Must refer directly to ADEA employee rights
  • May not included any waiver to rights or claims
  • Waiver may only be in exchange for additional consideration


Learn more about ADEA


Examples of Severance Packages that DO NOT comply with applicable laws, such as WARN:

  • Salary instead of the provisions set forth in WARN
  • Severance pay that’s part of a pre-existing contract or policy
  • Continuation of COBRA


The examples above cover only the basics of what is and is not allowed. Legal counsel with expertise in these areas should be directly involved in the creation of your release agreements and your severance packages to ensure legal compliance and greatest reduction of legal liability.

The biggest takeaway in all this is to get legal counsel involved at the earliest point possible when planning a workforce reduction to reduce your legal exposure. This will save expensive surprises later on.



Certified Resume Writers | What Can Employees in Transition Expect?


What Can Employees in Transition Expect from Outplacement?

The more your employees know ahead of time about outplacement and its benefits, the more likely they will participate in the outplacement program you choose. First, it’s important to set employee expectations on what the outplacement services will provide. Second, the employee must be educated about how to participate in the outplacement process and why it’s important. Third, the employee must understand that ultimately, finding a new job is that employee’s responsibility. The outplacement service helps the employee to prepare for the job search, but the outplaced employee must make a personal effort find the new job.

What Outplacement Will Do for an Employee

A career coach will interview the employee to learn about the employee’s work history, qualifications, and educational background. To help things along, the employee may be asked to fill out a questionnaire that covers this information in detail.

After the initial interview is complete, a skills assessment test is administered to determine the skills and aptitudes the employee has. This provides a basis from which to work with the employee to begin thinking about what kind of jobs to consider and what additional education and training will be needed.

Once the kind of work has been determined, the career coach will see to it that a professional cover letter and resume is written. If it’s part of the package, the LinkedIn profile of the employee may also be updated or created by a professional with LinkedIn expertise.

The creation of the cover letter and resume may take a few days. Resume writers carefully review the employee’s work history and qualifications before the first draft of the resume is written. The draft is then refined to its final version, the one that will be presented to the employee.

While the employee’s resume, etc., is in preparation, the employee will be given job search coaching based on current trends and best practices. Most job searches are conducted online and it can be a bewildering experience for an employee that hasn’t had to look for a job in several years. The aim here is to ensure that all outplaced employees can conduct their own effective job searches based on the criteria selected during job coaching.

The employee will also participate in interview coaching. Some outplacement services take a role-playing approach which is somewhat effective. Better outplacement services take a different approach, one that teaches employees how to respond to questions during an interview. Answering tough interview questions is only half the game, however.

To ace the interview, the employee must also learn how to ask the right questions. Not only is the interviewer asking questions to see if your employee would be a good fit, but the employee should also interview the prospective employer to see if the job will be a good fit, too. The best interviews are a two-way street where both parties are meaningfully engaged.

When the cover letter and resume are finished, they are presented for the employee’s review. The employee should be able to request a revision or two if the information isn’t correct or if there are other issues with the resume.

With cover letter and resume in hand, it’s up to the employee to find the next job and get the interview. Depending on the arrangement you have made with the outplacement service, the employee may have access to additional interview and job search coaching for up to six months or longer. This helps ensure the highest likelihood of success for the employee transitioning to a new job.


Certified Resume Writers | The Employee's Role in Outplacement

The Employee’s Role in Outplacement

For outplacement to provide the best services possible, the employee must actively participate in every step of the process. This includes providing accurate employment history, educational background, accomplishments, certifications, and other important details.

When participating in job search coaching, the employee needs to demonstrate a practical understanding of how to conduct an effective job search using keywords found in job titles and job descriptions, along with industry-specific keywords. Employees who decline job search coaching may find it much more difficult to search for the right kinds of jobs. This will lead to a much longer period of job search as the employee struggles to find the right kinds of jobs to apply to.

An employee who actively participates in interview coaching will get the most out of it. Interview coaching teaches an employee how to respond to interview questions and ask meaningful questions to help that person decide if the job is a good fit or not. Employees who engage job interviews with confidence and poise are much more likely to get hired.

Overall, to get the most out of outplacement, the employee needs to show up for all appointments and give full attention to the work at hand. Employees who do this will likely find jobs much more quickly than those who fail to show up on time and participate fully in the program.


How Do I Know If an Outplacement Service is Any Good?

Look for reviews left by job seeker clients who used their services. A reputable, professional outplacement firm will have plenty of positive reviews on the outplacement services website, or one of the many review websites such as BirdEye or Google Business. If you’re unable to find any reviews, contact the outplacement service. Ask if you can talk with one or two previous clients about their outplacement experience with you.


Smart Strategy: Promote Outplacement as an Employee Benefit

When you promote outplacement as an employee benefit, you have to first come up with an outplacement strategy and document it. From the business side, it may look like you’re planning for a difficult business scenario that might never materialize. However, by having a clearly defined outplacement strategy in place, you can communicate it to the talent you’re trying to attract.

Having an outplacement strategy also spreads goodwill among your employees. Knowing you have their backs can give employee morale a huge boost and keep it high when a difficult time such as a layoff arrives. As employees demand more from their employers, it’s smart to offer something like outplacement up front to show them that your organization really does care about them and is thinking of their well-being, even when things get tough.



It’s tough to make the decision to reduce your workforce. Once that decision has been made, it’s critically important to have a clearly defined selection process in place and an outplacement program for the employees you select to transition into new jobs at other employers. The best course of action is to get legal counsel involved as early as possible in the workforce reduction planning phase to limit legal liability and prevent ugly surprises later.

Create a business case for the reduction and tie it directly to business goals. Create and document your selection process and base it on objective measurements of performance that are compliant with applicable discrimination laws. Your reduction plan must include the number of employees affected and detail when, how, and where the workforce reduction will take place.

Finally, you need to communicate the plan to your entire workforce at the earliest date possible. This announcement should come from the CEO or other senior management. Finally, train your managers to notify affected employees as soon as possible. Provide those employees with high-quality outplacement services to help them transition into a new job as quickly as possible.


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