Traditional vs. Next-Gen Outplacement – What’s the Difference?

Technology has helped us be more effective and efficient in so many areas of our lives. We went from personal bankers to accessing our accounts online, and travel agents have largely been replaced by websites. The list of industries transformed by technology goes on and on, but until now outplacement hasn’t been one of them.

Many of the traditional outplacement firms have been unprepared in their responses to the needs of organizations and individuals who are expecting more from their providers. Companies in need of offboarding services want data on trends, best practices, individual services offered and, ultimately, the ability to land results – new jobs for their transitioning employees. Oftentimes what they get are more of the same outdated, cookie-cutter responses that support their inefficient, overpriced business model.

Slower searches, empty offices, lack of results
It started subtly about 10 years ago with more employee no-shows at the outplacement offices’ public workshops. Then it became increasingly difficult for outplacement participants to come in for their first visit with a transition consultant. They wanted to start their services immediately, but were told to wait for the next group workshop or consultant meeting, possibly weeks away.

And while some HR managers are under the mistaken impression that workers value outplacement solutions that offer office space to conduct a job search, the fact is only a small percentage of laid-off workers use the office space made available to them. Traditional firms cringe when they’re asked to show someone their outplacement offices. Why? Because in most cases the few people in those offices are employees, not program participants. In fact, there is often a highly coordinated internal effort to show scheduled visitors that there is a bustling office full of people involved in the office’s activities and their outplacement program. This is an illusion. Show up unannounced and be amazed at the lack of activity.

As the traditional firms’ slow-paced customer service bogged down the job search process, transitioning workers demanded a faster solution. They wanted to take advantage of their services virtually in order to get to their desired result – a new job – sooner.

The ultimate measuring stick: landing new jobs
At the end of the day, companies planning workforce reductions want to invest their time, money and effort in a company that is going to get them results. That’s the single most important driving force behind next-generation outplacement firms that work to get displaced individuals in new jobs fast. For example, RiseSmart’s placement rate is 59 percentage points faster than the national average.

So despite the details associated with employee engagement, utilization of outplacement services and total cost — all of which are helpful — the number that is most important to an employer is reported landings. On average, traditional firms say that for their overall client population, reported landings are less than 20 percent.

In the end, are they really hitting the mark in what is now a much more complex job search? The answer is no, not at all.

Sanjay Sathe

Sanjay Sathe
Sanjay Sathe is co-founder, president and CEO of RiseSmart. He can be reached at ssathe (at) risesmart (dot) com.

Sanjay Sathe

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