Monday, 8 September 2008

Challenging the outplacement response to redundancy

How could outplacement services deliver more value to both employers & employees?

Outplacement success is traditionally measured by how quickly an individual gets back to work. While this is not an unreasonable aim, it often doesn't take into account the longer-term impact on the individual's career. Evidence also exists to show that long-term commercial & organisational opportunities from the employer's perspective are also being missed.

Getting an individual back into work is a necessary objective but the longer-term after-effects of redundancy - as well as the number of individuals who go through outplacement repeatedly -presents a challenge that providers of outplacement services have yet to respond to meaningfully.

So, is it reasonable to ask outplacement providers for something more strategic than short-term re-employment? In my view the answer is yes, and there are now practical as well as statistical means to support this.

Employees, employers and outplacement providers could all benefit from a revision of their aims and expectations. Providing individuals with a service that achieves short-term re-employment but also considers broader career factors - e.g. personal success, managing opportunity situations, decision making in context, etc. - can deliver value to the former employee well into the future and well beyond the initial redundancy event.

A service that considers the long-term aims of the former employee also creates advantages for the employer as well (employers are the fee-paying client after all!).  As discussed in a previous post, investment in an individual's future is one that repays both parties over time. As well as more meaningful management data from every intervention, employers can positively impact their organisational culture and employer brand. In-turn helping them to attract, motivate and retain the people they need in order to be successful.

Delivering value in outplacement situations is a challenge to employers and outplacement providers alike. Both sides should be looking to take their partnerships and the opportunities they create, to the next level. In the economic climate many commentators are now predicting, benefits to employers and employees facing redundancy situations play a pivotal role in business and career success for a growing number of people on both sides.

If you have an opinion or a personal experience relevant to this subject or any of the other subjects discussed on this blog, please comment or email me directly!

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