• Outplacement wanted: let’s prepare.

    by  • July 28, 2012 • Outplacement • 0 Comments

    preparing for outplacement: what ingredients do we need to make sure things go smoothly?

    preparing for outplacement: what ingredients do we need to make sure things go smoothly?

    Just because outplacement is a service that you provide to people who are leaving the organisation, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare yourself and the business for it. After all, you will be dedicating some resources to making this service work. Some of you will find these steps a matter of best practice you already possess.

    So what preparation is needed before starting an outplacement or career coaching/transition service?

     

    Needs analysis for outplacement

    Before you set out to launch your own services, make sure you know what your audience is after. Although this sounds almost redundant, many employers assume the majority of their workforce will want or need another job. So they only provide employability courses. You may, for example, find that half your staff is interested in retraining. Because they don’t want a CV, they won’t come to the workshops you paid for. That money could have been spent on a 30 minute career transition 1:1 session. Just like any other service you are about to offer your employees, you need to know what they want in order to get best value for your investment.

    This is particularly important if operations are still running during the redundancy. Involving operational stakeholders in the outplacement planning phase would help you and them build in KPIs that will let you do run outplacement, and them run the company.

    Opted for an e-learning solution?

    Outplacement on e-Learning is possible! The market has great variety to offer: from resource centres (text-based), through to fully interactive games and self-coaching programmes. Make sure you peg the capability and cultural preference of your audience. This solution could involve great investment, so be sure it will be used.

     

    Risk assessment for outplacement

    The risks involved with running outplacement are mostly operational. So, if your organisation will still need to function during the redundancies, you will need to make sure that your employees are still delivering output.

    From the pure operational perspective, we’ve mentioned that talking to operational stakeholders will help you and them gauge what outputs or KPIs would be appropriate during the redundancy period.

    From a joint operational and service delivery perspective, you need to assess the practicalities of delivering the service. Meaning, what would to operations if you were to remove 12 people for 3 hours to do a workshop? We ran an outplacement project at a brewery some years ago and it fast became apparent that we cannot run workshops to more than 6 people at the time – one from every part of the brewing process. Otherwise, the whole operation would have ground to a halt.

    Lastly, from a pure service delivery perspective, you need to mark who are likely to be your “barriers” and “trouble makers” (as well as your supporters). They could be employees or senior management and everything in between. These will help you plan the next stage more effectively.

    Opted for an e-learning solution?

    Does your staff have ready, on-demand access to computers at work? How about at home? Are the adept to using on-demand programmes? Are they even comfortable using a computer? Much like earlier – it is about making sure the solution will be used.

     

    Resourcing Outplacement

    This is a tricky element because you can do it yourself (and I can write a separate post on this), or you can bring someone in to do it for you, and you can find a list of expectations in my previous post about what to expect from dedicated outplacement services.

    Assuming you have the demands of your audience right and the kinds of interventions they would be signing up for, you can plan how many days of workshops, 1:1 career transition or coaching will be needed, etc. There is no exact science for this. It would also vary greatly on your in-house capability to deliver (if you are doing DIY Outplacement) or the SLA/capability of the company you are hiring (some will only do 5 x 1:1 sessions per day, others more, others less. Some will allow 15 people per groups, others 8, etc.).

    Opted for an e-learning solution?

    As mentioned, the market has a lot to offer. Do extensive market research so you get what you want. Don’t let “extras” lead you down a false track of buying services you don’t need or won’t be used.

     

    Engagement

    This is the key to success. Remember you found your trouble makers and your supporters? Pit them against each other! I’m of course half kidding there… there is some stakeholder management that you will need to do yourself, but using your supporters and having them blow your trumpet is a great thing.

    Treat this like any other initiative you are offering in the business. Communication to the potential service users is paramount. In a different project we ran, Ellie and I posted signs across the site, used the local intranet, sent emails to individuals and line managers. We were shamelessly marketing so that every person knew where we were and that the door was always open. We worked with 98% of the 340-strong workforce on site, when management expected less than 70%.

    Taking this back to the operational standpoint, engaging with operational stakeholders on an on-going basis critical to making that service an overall success.

    Engagement, though, is not just putting a tick in the box next to “I spoke to the Union Rep” or “I had an update meeting with the shift leader”. It’s about listening to what they say is and isn’t working for them. This will help you tweak and adapt the service so everyone involved with it are pleased.

    Lastly, remember that your quality and on-going success are tools that engage as well. People who walk out of service feeling good, will tell their friends. Similarly, managers who walk away from having worked with you, knowing they are listened to and taken into account are more likely to help you with other managers and with their teams as well.

    Opted for an e-learning solution?

    Sometimes even a “pull” mechanism (on demand, controlled by the user) needs a little “push”. You may find that promoting through assigning courses or – again – shamelessly marketing the service will do the trick.

     

    Quality

    Last but not least. It is probably the most subjective of all the suggestions so far. For some “quality” means value for money. For others it’s about the value the people who go through the outplacement programme get from it. For some it’s about engagement numbers.

    However you define it, be sure to track it and manage it throughout the outplacement programme.

    When it’s all over, don’t hesitate to use your quality measurements to show how successful the programme was – just like any other initiative or intervention.

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