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Common Outplacement Process

The outplacement is usually offered to employees in the close cooperation with the external provider of services. The outplacement is not the internal HR service. Most HR functions have no sufficient resources and knowledge of the job market as the offered services would be sufficient for leaving employees. HR should not spend too much time designing the outplacement process. It is rarely used, and the outplacement vendor usually brings the project, which fits all needs.

The outplacement process is not the regular HR process; it runs just in case of the major downsizing in the organization. HR is not the expert, and it should not design the internal outplacement processes. It should use services of specialized companies, which design and enrich their best practice. They understand the needs and feelings of terminated employees and have techniques how to engage terminated employees again. HR needs to create the high level requirements, necessary steps for the vendor and desired outcomes.

Each outplacement vendor has the proposal of the ideal outplacement process, but the organization needs to design the high-level process. The vendor needs to introduce changes into the process as it suits the requirements of the organization. The vendor should advise the organization, but all requirements of the company should be met.

HR has to split the outplacement process into two separate processes. HR has to arrange the agreement with the vendor, and it has to define the basic requirements. This is the high-level process. HR can select the right vendor after the design of high level processes. In close cooperation with the selected vendor, the organization has to design a detailed operational process, which follows the individual employees in the process.

This split is extremely valuable for the company as it captures all relevant, high level elements, which drive the satisfaction of the top management. The low level process is the main driver for the satisfaction of terminated employees and their colleagues, who stay in the organization.

The high level outplacement process described by HR should consist from the following steps:

  • The analysis of the downsizing decision
  • Outplacement provider selection criteria
  • General Terms and Conditions Criteria
  • Reporting and Payment Conditions

The individual outplacement should consist from the following steps (in line with the agreement between the organization and the vendor):

  • Outplacement Package Content Design
  • Termination Discussion and Contact Handover
  • Termination Discussions
  • Initial Meeting
  • Reporting

The high level process brings the security that all necessary items are captured. The analysis of the decision has to be made as the structure of employees, experiences and skills are captured. The employees with the long term employment usually require higher and more complex attention than employees with shorter career path in the organization.  They should be served separately.

The results of the analysis drive the other strategic process steps. HR has to define the criteria for the outplacement vendor including the number of terminated employees, their structure, age structure, locations and the mix of skills and competencies.

The organization has to defined the desired level of services, and it has to cluster terminated employees as the vendor understands who will receive which service. The scope of the services has the enormous impact on the total cost of the project. HR should ask for several options to be included in the proposal.

Operational outplacement processes deal with the terminated employees. The organization needs to set proper deadlines for steps in the process. It has to set up the friendly and open environment; it has to create the positive environment for the outplacement consultant.

The operational processes should be kept as easy as possible. The employee should be the client of the processes. HR orders the outplacement services for leaving employees. It offers them guidance and help. HR does not order the outplacement to make the top management happy.