Is Your Outplacement Provider Ready for You?
Unfortunately for many Americans, COVID-19 has taken a toll on employment. What started as furloughs are now becoming permanent layoffs. While many employers “do right” by offering outplacement services to departing employees, employers must ask themselves if their current provider has the bandwidth to service them. This is a topmost concern with the avalanche of service requests that many established outplacement firms are receiving.
Of course, the answer you often hear from these vendors is “we’re ready”. But how can you be sure?
The Two-Vendor Approach
One of the best ways to ensure your outplacement services provider can support you is by using a two-vendor approach. The benefits are at least twofold. First, using two providers ensures a healthy competition for both pricing and quality of service. Secondly, it can help mitigate the issue of the ability to provide timely and adequate services by spreading the work to more than one provider. Otherwise, you face longer delays in reaching out to affected workers, which leads to more stress in an already difficult time.
When looking for an alternative outplacement partner, make sure to find a group that is large enough to support your needs, but small enough to be nimble. You want a partner who can respond quickly and adapt to your specific needs. You want a partner that can reach your impacted employees without delay; one who will help your impacted team to manage through the stress and uncertainty by working with accessible coaches and on-line services.
What to Consider When Selecting an Outplacement Partner
When you go online, you will find all kinds of fancy marketing. Let’s face it, just about anyone can slap content online and make it look compelling. But is it really?
Here’s what to look for: Personal Touch with Latest, Most-Effective Tech
There are three global firms with the most volume of business and support significant numbers of impacted employees. They are Lee Hetch Harrison or LHH (the largest), Right Management (about half the size of LHH) and a bit smaller than Right comes Career Partners International (CPI), of which Newland Associates (Newland/CPI) is the partner in Florida and the Caribbean.
All three firms have extensive track records. They all have capable coaches, great technology, and a solid client base. There are, however, differences amongst them, so it becomes a matter of what you want as a partner.
For example, LHH has the highest participant to coach ratio, with Right being a close second. What this means to you is that each coach has a heavier case load thus limiting attention per participant; are less able to establish meaningful coaching relationships; and are less flexible in scheduling coaching sessions to fit the time demands of the participant.
Newland/CPI has a boutique feel, with much lower participant to coach ratios. We make it ideal for senior leaders who prefer a more personalized approach and for middle market organizations that have a higher focus on service outcomes.
Both Right and LHH are owned by global staffing firms. They can rightly tout the value of these relationships. Newland/CPI and all other partners in CPI are independently owned. They know each other well and interact often. This camaraderie allows Newland/CPI to connect with local leadership in every major and mid-sized city to facilitate warm introductions for outplacement candidates.
Make A Commitment To Choice
Whichever firm you decide to use, I recommend you have at least two providers. In addition to the benefits already discussed, it is important to provide departing employees with options. You need more than just multiple coach and program options within a firm. You need to choose amongst multiple providers that represent different philosophies of service so you can decide what is best for you and your impacted employees. That is the ultimate empowerment.