Opinion: Top five advantages of outplacement services

It’s a story you may know too well: An employee isn’t performing well or you’re facing budget cuts -- and you decide to cut your losses and say goodbye to certain workers. Val Matta explains the necessity of outplacement services.

It’s a story you may know too well: An employee isn’t performing well or you’re facing budget cuts -- and you decide to cut your losses and say goodbye to certain workers. Unfortunately, this decision can put your former employees in a tough spot: A recent CareerBuilder study indicates that long-term unemployment can result in skills depreciation, home loss, and unresponsive employers. Outplacement services can be the key to solving these problems.
If you don’t have outplacement solutions in your HR back pocket, you need to give them a shot. Outplacement is a service that’s supplied by companies specializing in assisting an individual's job search following a layoff or job loss, usually contracted by the employer. Outplacement services are particularly helpful in our wavering economy: The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there were 4.3 million total separations as of November 2013, which includes layoffs and discharges.
If you don’t think outplacement solutions beat traditional severance pay packages, it’s time to change your views. Here are some advantages to consider:
Maintain healthy relationships
No matter the outcome, displaced workers likely contributed to the success of your organization at one point or another. Outplacement services help to maintain healthy relationships with displaced employees during a time when they may have a positive mindset. For example, providing relocation assistance or partnering them with alumni services are both ways to preserve your relationship and show that you care about their futures.  
Reduce unemployment
Severance pay alone is not enough to create new opportunities. While severance pay is often warranted, your displaced workers may have other needs. In fact, 45 percent of those who have faced long-term unemployment report skills depreciation. Outplacement solutions offering diverse options can fix this issue, such as resume assistance, career management, and networking advice, all of which can help them to secure a new job. In the end, this reduces that scary unemployment number and gets workers back on their feet faster than just a payout alone.
Liability protection
You have a corporate responsibility to your employees. That said, outplacement solutions can serve as a liability protection against possible disgruntled displaced employees. While you are no longer their employer, you are taking the necessary steps to ensure a smoother transition, avoiding any possible legal action. This includes job search assistance, interview preparation tools, and career assessments.
Increased productivity from current employees
Sometimes business is tough. But the following message is important to communicate to your employees: If things get too heavy -- whether business is bad or you need a fresh start -- the company will be there to help. Outplacement solutions show your dedication to your team, no matter how bad things may get. In turn, this can increase productivity and engagement from your current staff since they are aware of your commitment to them, displaced or otherwise.
Better brand
These days, image is everything. Outplacement solutions promote a great company reputation, demonstrate your commitment to current and former staff, and showcase your ability to provide the solutions modern professionals need, such as access to job boards, networking connections, or transfer options. Plus, when you have a better brand, you attract great people, innovative ideas, and more business for your organization. If you look at outplacement services from this overarching perspective, you’ll find that it does a whole lot of good during a difficult time.
Displaced employees need more than just a pink slip with severance pay attached to it. They need real solutions that can help them to find a new opportunities. Outplacement solutions are a great way to transition employees to a new future, show that you care about your staff, all while maintaining your reputation and image.
What do you think? Apart from severance pay, what are you offering to displaced employees?

Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.

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