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Best Outplacement Services: Ten Questions to Find the Right Outplacement Partner

Top Ten Questions to Choose the Best Outplacement Services


Finding the best outplacement services for departing employees is a critical challenge for HR leaders and procurement managers. If organizations fail to find the best outplacement partner to manage employee exits, they open themselves up to a host of risks. Severe and long-lasting damage can occur to outgoing employees and the organization itself.

For exiting employees, layoffs and RIFs often lead to monetary concerns. In fact, those experiencing layoffs tend to lose financial ground, with many seeing a 20% decrease in salary relative to retained staff.

Money troubles are only half the concern. Research shows job loss increases the likelihood of a health condition in the first 18 months after a layoff. It’s no wonder that psychological and other health issues develop after job loss; for many, jobs provide purpose and create a built-in community, making them a key part of one’s identity. With employees’ financial, physical and emotional well-being on the line, organizations must partner with a top-quality outplacement provider to ensure smooth transitions for outgoing employees.

As for organizations, people leaders agree that layoffs and RIFs can hurt employee morale and heighten anxiety among retained staff if not handled well. These issues, in turn, often lead to retention troubles and lowered productivity and engagement.

Perhaps even more concerning, layoffs and RIFs can tarnish organizational reputations. That is why 82% of organizations surveyed agreed that outplacement services are critical to protecting a company’s brand during transitions and economic uncertainty.

With the stakes so high, choosing the best-fit outplacement partner is crucial for mitigating the human and organizational risks associated with layoffs. After all, not all outplacement providers are equal. As a procurement manager or HR leader, you need to ask the right questions to find proven outplacement services. Here are ten essential questions to guide you through your selection process.

1. What Is Your Experience and Track Record in the Industry?

Start by evaluating the provider’s experience. How long have they been in the industry, and what is their success rate? Ask for case studies and aggregate-level statistics on the effectiveness of their outplacement programs. For example, how fast do they transition employees? A well-established provider with an exceptional track record indicates reliability and expertise.

2. What Kind of Support Do You Offer Transitioning Employees?

Outplacement services should provide comprehensive support. Typically, this includes one-on-one coaching sessions, resume writing, interview coaching, social media branding and job search strategies. Ensure the provider offers a holistic approach to help employees land new jobs faster.

3. Can You Customize Outplacement Programs to Fit Organizational Needs?

Each organization is unique, so choosing a provider that offers customizable programs is important. HR and procurement leaders should inquire if they can customize their programs to match their company’s culture, size, organizational goals and specific requirements, thereby ensuring alignment between partners.

4. How Do You Support Individuals at Different Career Levels?

Outplacement needs also vary based on career levels. Ask if the provider has experience supporting employees at all levels, from entry-level to executive positions, and how they tailor their services accordingly.

5. Does Every Exiting Employee Receive an Experienced, Certified Career Coach?

One-on-one career coaching is a critical component of successful outplacement programs. When done well, a career coach can help transitioning employees clarify career goals, provide expert guidance and strategize their next moves, enabling smoother and faster transitions. Undoubtedly, quality coaches equal exceptional results. This is why coaches must be certified, have years of experience and remain up to date on best practices. Inquire about the provider’s average coach tenure and ask if coaches have ICF certifications (or equivalent) and regularly attend ICF-approved classes to stay current in the field.

6. Do You Have a Diverse Coaching Bench?

Outplacement services shouldn’t only be tailored to career levels, though that’s important. To create a high-impact, personalized experience that will fulfill the unique needs of today’s employees, outplacement providers must have a diverse bench of certified career coaches. Coaches with expertise in various industries and from demographic and cultural backgrounds that match the workforce will ensure a good fit between coach and coachee, thereby yielding optimal results.

7. What Technology Do You Use to Support Job Seekers?

Inquire about the tools and resources available to departing employees. Cutting-edge technology should provide access to on-demand resources while enhancing the human connection between coaches and job seekers. Ask if their technology platforms offer virtual interview simulations, career guidance assessments, a resumé builder, upskilling courses and webinars, as well as enable one-on-one coaching and job searching.

8. Do You Have Global Capabilities and to What Extent?

So many of today’s organizations are truly global, with operations and employees dispersed worldwide. For this reason, many organizations may require an outplacement partner with global support capabilities. A strong global provider should match the organization’s footprint, maintain local coaches in the client’s markets and have a technology platform accessible in many languages. This way, organizations will ensure success for themselves and their people.

9. What Third-Party Awards and Recognitions Have You Received?

Top-quality outplacement providers have received major third-party accolades for their exceptional value, innovations, services and thought leadership. Important recognitions often include Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Company, Forbes America’s Best Management Consulting Firms and Everest Group’s Peak Matrix Leader and Star Performer. Winners of these awards have proven themselves as standouts in the outplacement industry.

10. What is a Good NPS Score, and Where Do You Fall on the NPS Scale?

Measured on a scale from -100 to 100, NPS assesses customer loyalty, satisfaction and enthusiasm. This information helps outplacement firms and other companies evaluate their success and achieve continuous improvement. Typically, organizations with the highest scores—those in the World-Class category (70 to 100)—are in an elite group, demonstrating they are proven to deliver results and customer satisfaction every time. Ask potential providers where they fall on the NPS scale to ensure you partner with the right provider.

With many outplacement providers in the market, evaluating the best outplacement services for today’s organizations can be difficult. With so much at stake, however, HR and procurement leaders must make the right decision. Asking these ten questions to potential outplacement partners is a good place to start. If you’d like to learn how Right Management would answer them, please contact us.


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