Outplacement refers to job placement activities, procured internally or externally, to assist staff that has been released due to downsizing, to find new jobs.

During corporate restructuring, companies often find that downsizing as one of the most effective ways to reduce costs and bring the business into more favorable territory in terms of the bottom line.

Because of public backlash against these activities, modern companies can often find it necessary to provide outplacement services to employees who have had their positions terminated.

On top of severance packages that vacating personnel would receive based on their contributions to the company, outplacement also helps match them to new positions within the company or in other companies.

The ultimate goal of outplacement is to match people to suitable jobs so that they can continue to earn a salary by working for other organisations.

Preferably enhancing their careers in the process.

But this is not as simple as matching a person’s resume with the job requirements of a position.

Outplacement these days can include activities such as:

  • Training to upgrade skills
  • Counseling for those who are emotionally and psychologically affect by these events
  • Appointing job agencies to prioritize helping people find new jobs
  • Identify open positions within the company suitable for someone who was let go
  • etc

While a lot of people see outplacement mostly as a public relations stunt to help a company minimize the negative impact on it’s public image, there’s really little else that a downsizing business can do.

If they don’t reduce manpower costs, the whole company might fail within a short period of time.

And since management has decided to go along with a workforce transition plan, the least that they can do is to alleviate the stress that people would suffer from by offering outplacement services.

And as older workers are often targeted in downsizing, helping them upgrade their qualifications by learning new skills or improving on existing skills can help them find new employment with new employers.

Existing staff

While the focus on outplacement is on helping staff who have had their contracts terminated, a benefit that is less talked about is that it shows existing staff, those that has been retained, that the company cares about it’s workforce enough to undertake these outplacement activities.

So outplacement actually plays a role in maintaining, or even improving, the moral of staff that remains in the offices.

Seeing their employer making an effort to help those who have been let go can show how much the company really values it’s staff, and that it really had no choice but to downsize or risk business failure.

For example, militaries make it a point to rescue soldiers in trouble so that existing soldiers can see that they would not be left behind should they be wounded or caught by the enemy. This give them more confidence to fight without fear in battles knowing that support is always on hand.

In a way, outplacement serves this role in keeping remaining employees motivated and do not feel that the company would terminate their employment as soon as things go bad.

The company has their backs.

Because of the intricate details and the sheer amount of work involved, outplacement are now often outsourced to third party human resource businesses.

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