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Outplacement Services

#1 Outplacement Services
06/01/2009 11:39


Anyone have any experience of outplacement services offered by companies when they make redundancies? EDS will be using them, I'm sure others will.

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#2 RE: Outplacement Services
06/01/2009 12:29

Cynic to anon (#1)

I once used one - "Fairplace". It was paid for by my ex-employer. They provided a quiet place to work with access to various newspapers and job ad journals. I found it helpful to be surrounded by people in similar situations, particularly those who had also been counselled out from the same employer as to some extent we were in the same boat. The value of a sympathetic ear is not to be underestimated in these situations. The counselling was good but tended to focus on the "why are my skills mis-matched with my (old) job and how should I re-train" question rather than "OK, so I got done over and shoved out on performance grounds when in fact my performance is fine and it's obvious the company is cutting headcount owing to a huge bench list, so what do I do now" issue. They also had various materials for CV advice and interview tips etc which were helpful.

I find them useful overall, however it was a shame that my employer didn't pay for my travel expenses, as this was a major period of financial uncertainty for me. I was also hoping they could have actually made some introductions for me rather than just helping me re-consider my career and apply to ads.

Overall, I found it a good way of keeping my sanity during a stressful period. Now that internet access is better at home and phone calls are cheaper than they used to be, I'm not sure I would be as likely to use it again in the future as I did in the past? I think my employer only funded use of the service for a month by the way, which was wholly inadequate - as it happened, I did find a job fairly quickly, but I do think they should have made the service available to us for at least 6 months, possibly a year.

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#3 RE: Outplacement Services
23/02/2013 12:55

ChameleonG to Cynic (#2)

I've used Fairplace too - I agree with Cynic, the environment is very helpful, however it is a sweeping generalisation to say all redundancies/easing out of employees is strategic. I felt I was genuinely mis-matched with my old job long before I even took it but was in the classic situation of having little choice but to take it or try a fruitless career change. I've had redundancies before where I didn't have to worry because I was leaving a job where I had done well, so I know the difference.

The thing I learnt, no thanks to Fairplace, was that I actually wasn't the right match for the lateral move I planned and that the reasons for my last redundancy weren't idiosyncrasies of my employer but industry specific and that there is little lateral movement in my industry. This took 6 months, which is a brutally inefficient process and my finances are under threat as, even tho I feel I'm finding my way, it is very difficult.

I'm not going to go any further as I know people will still not get it no matter how graphic I am, but I do need to warn people that are in similar situations. If you are in an industry or situation where transferable skills aren't valued and where it's difficult to get out of then even the better firms like Fairplace won't really be able to help. If your employer pays, it's worth trying but please take what they say with a pinch of salt, as there's a lot of clichés. For instance one seminar the presenter wittered on about all CVs being the same in a typical application process and the clichéd urban myth of a line manger using a random selection process by tossing all CVs against a basket, when I know from being on the other side of the process in my market that the issue is that usually 3-5 of the 100 applicants stand a chance. From my experience, this means that the issue isn't so much approach but finding the right career and role where you consistently find yourself in those 3-5. The process of finding that career and getting that CV in front of the right people largely self driven BUT outplacement firms do not play their part.

The one issue in that respect that many firms of this type can't seem to address at all is networking - seminars are all and well, but it is a bit like trying to search for terrorists using Google if you leave clients too much to their own devices. I.e. not impossible, but unreasonable and generally there aren't any specialist firms out there that will have the right contacts for you to return your career back on track. That is generally only because there are one or two that have the right contacts, but largely speaking you are better of consulting people that have left your current career. Think about it 1-10% of your network will be the ones that can maybe help you change career, the rest will help you get your old job back - all and well if that's what suits but if not you're in a pretty sticky situation.

In terms of people looking for jobs they do have mixed results. The consultants at Fairplace aren't too bad as there is effort put into specialism e.g. banking related clients will go with one, IT with another, based on consultant's experience. That has worked for many of the individuals I met that were simply let go, as opposed to eased out but because of the market they're not as effective as they once were.

To sum - use them if your employer pays and take what they say with a pinch of salt, but for career change best thing is to find someone that understands your situation thoroughly.

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