Outplacement as an Opportunity

Original Spanish version published in America Economia (Latam) on August 21, 2015 

Until a few years ago, many people thought that being out of work was a sign of personal failing: “Hmmm, I wonder what he did? I wonder what happened?” Now being in a state of job transition is normal. We often have work, but at other times we are in transition between jobs, and we need to find a new one. In this context, the concept of outplacement has become more important. It is a service hired by a growing number of companies to benefit terminated employees and help them find new jobs.

Accordingly, outplacement focuses first on the respectful management of people’s exit from an organization. Often, organizations must let go employees for a number of reasons, and managing these processes is crucial not only to care for the person’s dignity, self-esteem, and reputation in the market, but also to put those staying in the organization at ease: “If it is my turn one day, they will do it respectfully as well.”

In addition, this process helps employees who have been let go to reposition themselves in the market with great care for their personal brand. First, it helps them to get back on their feet emotionally in a more effective way, minimizing the possibility of making typical mistakes made by those who find themselves unemployed. It then helps them to learn the current challenges and demands of the job market, and raise their level of employability in order to allow them to reposition themselves quickly, or start their own business if they wish to do so. This way, what was once a disruption in one’s professional career is now an opportunity to analyze one’s professional life and rethink one’s objectives. Being unemployed without support or help not only is difficult and lonely, but also leaves room for making many costly mistakes.

We all have to understand that companies are constantly letting personnel go. We must stop thinking that every dismissal is due to the employee’s lack of efficiency. That is no longer the case! Nor is it true that more dismissals take place in lean years. On the contrary, growth brings many changes within companies.

Fortunately, many companies are now carrying out dismissals at all levels in a respectful manner. How? By hiring companies that provide formal outplacement services, which help to manage the process very carefully and professionally, minimizing the impact of job exits on employees’ morale. Above all, these companies benefit terminated employees –managers, executives, and employees in general– by helping them to increase their level of employability to make an effective career plan to find a new job or start their own business successfully and as quickly as possible. It is even often used to help those already at an age to actively retire.

How do companies benefit by using outplacement services? In several ways. By thanking the people who worked loyally for them and had to be dismissed for any number of reasons. In addition, it virtually “cleans” the dismissed employee’s name and personal brand by communicating to the market that the person has done nothing wrong, is valuable; by showing that the company is grateful for the employee’s support, and therefore is investing and helping him or her to continue with their career. It also sends a positive and reassuring message to the people who remain with the organization: “These people treat employees well when they are let go as part of their Human Resources strategy, and represents a seal of approval of the dismissed employee for the market”. This is very useful for retaining and attracting talent.

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