Outplacement services – a new tool in the age of layoffs

Reported by: |Updated: January 16, 2020

Joel Paul

Outplacement is comparatively a new concept in India. With companies, especially those in the banking and financial services sector, resorting to lay-offs of staff, this concept is bound to gain credence. Randstad RiseSmart is a leading provider of contemporary career transition services for organizations in more than 40 industries and 80 countries. It partners with HR teams and provides onsite support, jobs to laid off employees, specialized training and secure reporting in a results-oriented approach. RiseSmart’s General Manager (India) Joel Paul provides how the concept can be a helpful tool to both the employers and employees:

N.Mohan: Do you think Indian enterprises, especially those in the financial services sector, are ready to avail the services of outplacement service providers like RiseSmart?

Yes. Outplacement services providers enable companies to gain expert advice prior to any impact and help train their managers and HR departments with best practices for handling the separation with empathy and respect. Unlike in the past, when only multinationals offered outplacement services, an increasing number of Indian companies are also now calling in career transition experts to help their employees deal with these tough times, as well as manage their brands’ goodwill. Restructuring is of a cyclical nature and as those cycles change, companies would want to hire top talent back again. Offering outplacement as a service resonates with employees letting them know that the organization will take care of them even when they have to exit. This leaves them with a favorable opinion about their superiors, subordinates and the organization as a whole promoting a great place to work image.

Can you outline the various services that outplacement companies provide in developed markets? Especially in the financial services sector?

Outplacement is a key element of talent mobility. Where there may not be an opportunity to redeploy, outplacement is the next natural progression. Layoffs or restructuring are usually cyclical and organizations who focus on helping and supporting their employees, enjoy better brand protection and ensures future hiring success once the company / economy turns around. RiseSmart’s unique 3:1 support model along with our award winning technology ensures each participating employee receives dedicated support and guidance in their career transition. Our RiseSmart Insight – the only one of its kind in the world – allows HR leaders to gauge instant insights from the employee population that has been impacted, impacted employee landing rates, and employee engagement metrics, all in real time.

How can outplacement service providers make a difference in a scenario where there are large scale exits? Do companies engage the services of outplacement companies to lessen the impact? How it is done exactly?

Career Transition firms will assist and work closely with the HR team to help manage the redeployment or exit process. This will involve prepping managers and other stakeholders such as legal and finance, deploying technology and ensuring on day coordination sometimes across several cities. The outplacement provider will most likely recommend manager notification training for those managers who will be delivering layoff notices. This training is very important and critical because the managers need to be clear on their role, the messaging and in terms of being respectable and empathetic towards the impacted employees. The outplacement provider will help the firm guide impacted employees in registering for services and getting started immediately with coaching and career advice.

What is the role of outplacement agencies in mergers and acquisitions of the nature that are happening in the Indian banking sector?

Mergers and acquisitions occur over a period of time. Organizations risk loss of productivity, revenue and damage to the employer brand when the human element of a merger and acquisition are not considered. HR leaders need to plan redeployment or outplacement, enhanced communication, employee feedback, and specialized training in addition to designing salary and compensation packages. In order to help teams maintain productivity despite interruptions to the normal course of doing business it is important to provide resiliency training before, during, and after a consolidation. These types of trainings are provided by contemporary outplacement providers, who have the knowledge and experience of working with organizations and their employees during times of change.

Along with the above mentioned trainings, there are three things that companies often overlook when planning a layoff and outplacement providers help them manage the same:

  1. Logistics – Where will your managers meet with impacted employees to deliver notifications? While this sounds like an unimportant detail, how comfortable your employees feel during notification will have a huge impact on how they perceive the company and its handling of the layoff once they leave. Allowing employees the privacy to have emotional reactions and then compose themselves to face their colleagues is a critical factor of their overall satisfaction.
  2. Messaging – When crafting the communications that will be shared with impacted and remaining employees, it is critical that you include a clear reason behind the reduction. People will be more likely to feel they have been treated fairly if you treat them with clarity and transparency. Avoid the temptation to be too generic in your messaging.
  3. Transition assistance – Hearing the news that you’ve lost your job is extremely difficult. Beginning the process of a job search is equally daunting. Getting support through an outplacement provider and landing a new job more than twice as fast as you could on your own, makes the process a little easier to deal with.
  1. How do outplacement agencies help the laid-off employees in resettling themselves, in finding other job avenues? Do you have tie-ups with recruiting/HR firms?

Transitioning is never easy, especially when it is not planned. However, we make it easier for transitioning employees with a contemporary touch and tech approach to getting people back to work. Also, we are a Randstad company, the global leader in the HR services industry. We work along with them to provide the impacted employees with the right job avenues.

We begin by matching every program participant with 3 experts:

Personal Career Coach

With an average of 15+ years of industry experience, each of RiseSmart’s career coaches are experienced HR and recruiting professionals who understand the unique circumstances of each hiring situation. Our career coaches create a personalized experience relevant to the unique needs of each participant. Career coaches provide information on our live expert-led webinar series, guide participants through our award-winning online career portal, and offer other resources for managing the overall job search together.

Professional Branding Expert

Simply providing impacted participants with a template to build a resume is not enough. Our branding experts will meet with the participant to gain an understanding of their skills, experience, and aspirations, and tailor a professional resume that not only incorporates those details but is also ATS-optimized and eye-catching for recruiters. They also provide online reputation assessments and write LinkedIn profiles for participants.

Dedicated Job Concierge

Assigned to every participant, this person not only sources jobs, but matches open positions based on the job seeker’s ability, experience, and personal preferences. Our job lead sourcing has shown to shorten the time from exit to a new beginning because job seekers don’t have to spend hours sorting through jobs. This helps the participant expend their time working with their career coaches and networking.

Do outplacement services firms make use of technology on a large scale? What about use of analytics and tolls like AI and machine learning?

RiseSmart has taken the market lead in India because of our ability to enhance the career transition experience at each juncture with award-winning technology for both the participant and HR, including real-time reporting and analytics. We provide AI-fueled semantic job-matching, 24/7 digital chatbot to augment and respond to real-time needs, and what’s next in adjacent skill learning to help people stay relevant and future-proof their careers.

Our unique hi touch model supported by the latest technology allows us to reach our program participants where they are, thereby increasing their engagement with us and – most importantly accelerating results. For ease of use, every participant can access their service through our app ensuring on demand service on the go from any part of the country.

An intuitive, visual dashboard gives job searchers the ability to see their individual journey at a glance, and quickly and easily access the tools and resources that match their individual needs. The ability to schedule an appointment with a career coach at any time and from anywhere ensures greater accessibility and responsiveness for transitioning employees. We make investments in innovations that matter and create contemporary solutions to meet today’s workforce challenges. Our blended delivery model provides better results and experiences for our customers and their employees.

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