Economics/Business

What is outplacement/professional outplacement/benefits/importance

Outplacement is the process by which the company helps its former employees to relocate themselves in the job market, reducing the impacts of dismissal and positioning the company in a humane way.

The world would be a lot better if, after firing an employee, it was possible to help him/her get back into the job market, wouldn’t it? 

The good news is that this is possible through the outplacement process .

In this article, we will discuss what the outplacement process is and what the main benefits it represents for both the company and the employee.

Want to understand what outplacement is and how it can benefit your company? Just keep reading this text!

what is outplacement

Who said that the moment of dismissal needs to be traumatic or even awaken enmities that will last a lifetime?

Outplacement is a process designed precisely to conduct with maximum dignity and respect the moment of termination of the employment contract .

If you like this more humane way of managing, you will certainly enjoy our content on the People First management model . Just click on the link after finishing this text.

Returning to the main subject, outplacement is, in a nutshell, a job-replacement program for employees who have been laid off.

It is a kind of mentoring that helps this individual to find a new job. 

In addition, it helps to better understand the feasibility of your professional expectations for that particular moment.

This idea arrived in Brazil imported from countries considered developed at the time in order to make the dismissal process more friendly.

Of course, one of the great incentives for this practice to spread in this way is the numerous benefits it brings to companies . We will discuss this aspect of the outplacement program later.

Now, we will delve deeper into the concept. 

How did the term outplacement come about?

Here the terrain is a little uncertain, as several authors differ on the origin of the practice.

However, Alan J. Pickman, in his book The Complete Guide to Outplacement Counseling, sheds light on the matter.

According to the author, the practice arose from Humble Oil, an oil company that, upon dismissing part of its executive body, hired a consultancy to provide professional assistance and put them back on the market .

Even though it was not really the first outplacement project, it was certainly one of the pioneers, and this story is borne out in other academic texts .

These professionals had to face several stigmas imposed by the working class, one of them being “fire extinguishers”.

Despite this appearance, the outplacement process has been refined over the years.

Today, it is a planning that takes place even before the employee receives the prior notice and only ends when he achieves his own professional goals.

Difference between outplacement and professional outplacement

A word that can be used to differentiate outplacement from outplacement is support .

Professional outplacement is an advice contracted by the individual himself . 

The assigned team usually works by guiding him and looking for positions that best fit his profile.

When relocating, it is common to conduct interview training, adapt the resume and Linkedin to the professional goals of the interested party, offer behavioral tips, etc.

The outplacement process, on the other hand, aims to provide much greater support , ranging from technical issues to the emotional realm — after all, it’s never easy to get fired from a job.

Not only that, this is a service completely developed or contracted by the company that terminated the employee. In other words: the costs of outplacement are borne by the firing company.

This is a much more humane technique, and we can say that professional relocation is contained within the outplacement process .

In this way, we see that it is a much more complete method on how we should deal with this delicate situation, offering a much more empathic approach.

Now that you have understood the difference between these terms, it is not worth confusing the two, as it is very easy to notice that they are very different concepts from each other.

What are the benefits of outplacement for the company?

Well, you already understand what outplacement is and its purpose for existing. We also differentiate it from professional outplacement in order to avoid confusion with concepts.

Now, let’s talk about why this way of dealing with layoffs has become so popular and what benefits it brings to companies. Follow up!

Work on a good corporate image

Social responsibility is something that customers and future employees will be looking at closely at your company.

Customers do so due to the development of the internet and the emergence of new consumption habits. Because of this, they don’t want to consume or be associated with brands that don’t respect their employees .

In addition, the talent available in the market will also look for companies that offer the most advantages, and a good outplacement program is a great differentiator.

Decreases labor processes

As we have stated several times in this text, the dismissal process is not pleasant and animosities can arise.

Through proper guidance, the employee will understand the motivations behind their dismissal and, with a relocation program, the will to guarantee their rights by initiating a lawsuit may be less .

Improves the organizational climate

At this point, we can infer that showing a real concern for the professional’s future can improve his relationship with the company in light years .

The most immediate consequence is an improvement in the organizational climate which, in itself, will also bring several other benefits to the company.

Reaffirms organizational culture

It’s beautiful to find business documents that speak to how your employees are the true soul of the company.

However, writing is much easier than making those words count in everyday life. In this way, implementing programs that really demonstrate management focused on people positively impacts the organizational culture .

In an ideal scenario, because they feel valued, the dismissal process does not even have an impact on motivation and competence. 

After all, there is a program to take care of the ex-employee who didn’t fit perfectly into the company.

The importance of outplacement for laid-off employees

Shortly after the covid-19 pandemic came a series of layoffs, causing Brazil to hit a record unemployment with 13.1 million people without a formal contract , representing a rate of 13.8%.

Being played empty-handed in this scenario is not anyone’s desire for life, on the contrary, it can take anyone off their axis.

Therefore, offering better conditions to face this or any other situation in the job market is an immeasurable differential and a way of valuing the former employee.

Offers emotional support and counseling

Getting fired is not a cool experience, it doesn’t go on people’s Instagram feeds. It is usually a process viewed quite negatively.

It is precisely in this “despair” scenario that outplacement offers a much more hopeful alternative for the ex-employee to be relocated in order to continue their professional goals .

Therefore, the impacts of dismissal are greatly minimized, since the company will provide professional and emotional support, treating you as a non-replaceable human being.

Some of the main support that the company can offer at this time through the program are:

  • psychological assistance so that the dismissal does not affect self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • professional outplacement advice;
  • support to not encourage the development of negative feelings;
  • offer professional improvement courses.

How does the outplacement process work?

We talk a lot about the concepts and benefits surrounding outplacement. Now, it’s time to understand how it works.

Usually the process is divided into three steps — as you will see below. However, it is not limited to that, we only believe that this is one of the most efficient ways to answer the question “how to best execute outplacement?”.

1. The planning

The process begins even before delivery of the letter of resignation . The company hires a specialist or a company in the field and begins the study of the employee’s profile .

Here , the professional works by evaluating the reasons why the termination will occur , transforming it into arguments that can be used as feedback , not as accusations.

In this way, HR has an important role in planning the dismissal of the individual, also taking into account factors related to the socioeconomic conditions in which he is inserted.

A tip that can help to plan the dismissal in a more humane way is to consider the time of year to carry out the termination of the contract . Avoiding birthdays and anniversaries are good precepts.

2. The advertisement

With everything planned down to the last detail, it is now enough to announce it to the employee and pull off the bandage at once.

At this point, the manager formally announces the termination, how it will take place, the relevant dates and presents the outplacement program.

Here it is important to offer a document informing all the labor rights owed to the former employee. These are FGTS, proportional vacations, hour banks, etc.

3. Professional guidance

This is where outplacement professionals work directly with the former employee. 

The program involves a series of analyzes and workshops to help the interested person improve their CV, calibrate their market vision and point to the right opportunities (aligned with their goals).

Here the following requirements are evaluated (but not limited to this only):

  • curriculum preparation and dissemination;
  • creation of network in the market;
  • profile analysis;
  • negotiation training;
  • self-knowledge workshops;
  • adapt professional vision to possible realities, etc.

It is common to involve professionals such as psychologists in this moment, as their insights can be decisive in making this moment a very fruitful experience for the former employee.

It is also common that, when faced with the reality of the market that they previously wanted, this individual gives up on being relocated and prefers to undertake . In such cases, the company can also offer some type of assistance.

Difference between individual and collective outplacement

Up until this point, in this text, we were talking about individual outplacement cases , in which only one former employee receives the benefit at a time .

This alternative is a little more common in relation to the solution we will talk about next: collective outplacement.

As you can imagine, collective outplacement involves mass layoffs or cost cuts, that is, several people will participate in the follow-up.

The large number of employees makes the process a little more complex, compromising the quality of the activity.

Here it is important to emphasize the possibility of exchanging experiences and also the companionship in this stage of change in their professional lives.

The actions taken by the collective outplacement team tend to be less personal. However, in the cases mentioned above, it would be a logistical nightmare to organize individual counseling sessions.

Thus, some of the main points worked on are: market update, development of contacts in other companies and professional qualification.

The role of HR in outplacement

A poorly conducted dismissal can have severe health impacts on employees . 

So doing it lightly is a recipe for lawsuits and other problems.

This is precisely where HR comes in to help transform what could once be a turbulent situation into something calmer and more rational.

Even though the outplacement process is often outsourced, the human resources sector plays a key role when planning the dismissal .

That’s why performing data-based management is so important for companies. Only through clear performance indicators is it possible to argue with clarity and transparency.

Therefore, the main role of HR in a company will be to plan and communicate the dismissal.

If your company has the need to create an internal outplacement team, it may be an indication that the turnover rate is at unhealthy levels. The reasons for this need to be addressed as soon as possible.

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