How to gracefully end cooperation with your employee – what is outplacement?

Employee turnover is a natural process in companies. Termination of cooperation is connected either with the decision of the employee or the employer. Regardless of who decides to leave, it always involves strong emotions. However, there is a way to minimize them – this is an outplacement program. Here, we will tell you exactly what it is, where it came from, when and why it is useful and more importantly: how to organize it.

What is outplacement?

The most relevant Polish translation of this term would be controlled dismissals, but it has not been particularly popular among employers. In practice, outplacement is a programme offered to employees who have lost their jobs as a result of both group and individual layoffs. It is about supporting the pink-slipped on the labour market and helping them to find a new place of employment. HR specialist, Martha A. Redstrom-Plourd, called outplacement “teaching professionals how to deal with losing a job”.

Where did outplacement come from?

The first outplacement processes began after the Second World War, when demobilized soldiers, looking for civilian employment at that time, were supported in determining what universal skills they had and then they were helped to match them to the labour market. Companies dealing with this programme developed mainly in the United States, where in the 1980s the Association of Career Firms focusing on outplacement companies was established.

In Poland, it is associated with the reprivatization of factories and appeared for the first time in the 1990s.

When is it worth to implement outplacement?

It is advisable to implement outplacement when we want to maintain proper relations with dismissed employees. Layoffs are not always caused by lack of competence or personal issues, they can also result from, for example, budget cuts. A thoroughly and effectively organized outplacement helps to maintain a positive image of the company.

How to conduct outplacement?

It can be implemented both for individual employees and entire groups. As part of such a process, trainings, psychological counseling as well as assistance in opening your own business are organized.

Examples of elements that can be included in an individual outplacement are:

  • refining the employee’s CV,
  • preparing a list of potential employers,
  • setting career goals.

Whereas as a part of the group outplacement process, you can organize:

  • trainings,
  • coachings,
  • networking meetings, which focus on creating professional contacts.

It also includes providing information on current job offers. It is important that these offers are specific and tailored to the skills of the dismissed workers (if offers go beyond the skills, those who are interested should be additionally trained or familiarized with knowledge bases that will help to prepare for a new job). Assistance under the outplacement programme should have tangible effects, it cannot be just a phantom operation that only creates the illusion of support.

Therefore, many companies decide to outplacement carried out by external entities, such as SmartWays, and not outplacement performed by HR teams employed permanently in the dismissing company.

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