Outplacement Counseling: Why You Need It & 6 Keys to Choosing a Provider

Outplacement counseling today isn’t “your father’s outplacement.” The industry emerged years ago when many people needed access to an office-like setting and services to help create a resume, print copies, and get job hunting advice.

Outplacement Helps People Succeed Despite Technological & Emotional Complexity

Today’s outplacement has evolved to help people navigate a technologically complex job search process. Now outplacement providers offer great content and user-friendly apps. The apps are great, but what’s even more critical is the outplacement counseling clients receive. These counselors have a keen understanding of the technology employers use to find candidates. Just because you can use an app to view content and apply for jobs online doesn’t mean you will succeed in cracking the code to be considered for many jobs that aren’t posted.

What else is different? While outplacement counseling has always provided emotional support, today more than ever, outplacement counselors need to be acutely focused on the wellbeing of their clients.

What is outplacement counseling?

An outplacement counselor, also known as an outplacement or career transition coach, is someone with training and professional experience who advises people on how to transition after job loss. The goal is a successful transition – whether that’s a replacement job, new career after upskilling, part-time consulting, starting a business, or active retirement. Coaching focuses on the practical side of the transition as well as the emotional aspects of change, including loss, separation, fear, and anger. Outplacement counseling helps the person rebuild confidence and a sense of empowerment. The coach guides the coachee in how to market oneself, network, interview, and negotiate.

Here are 6 key points to understand before you choose an outplacement counseling provider.

1. Today’s Outplaced Job Seekers Need More Emotional Support.

In 2022, people in the US who reported recent symptoms of anxiety disorder hovered between about 28% to 32%, according to Statista. Generally speaking, many are dealing with anxiety even before they are notified their job has been eliminated. Online content and coaching apps are valuable. But so is the all-important human connection with an outplacement counselor. Success heavily depends on the job seeker’s state of mind. Anxiety can immobilize the job seeker. That’s why it’s important to choose a firm for the quality of its coaching over its technology. Many job seekers won’t engage in the program without the urging of an outplacement counselor.

2. Outplacement Counseling Needs to Address Branding for Job Seekers.

Today, job seekers need to be able to brand themselves and get found online. LinkedIn profiles need copious and precise keywords that align with the role the job seeker is after. Many jobs are awarded to “passive job seekers.” Passive job seekers are those who aren’t actively looking for a change, but they are recruited by other employers because their LinkedIn profile matches a recruiter’s search. This is one of the many reasons your outplacement counseling provider needs to be highly competent in leveraging today’s technology-driven talent acquisition processes.

3. Unlimited Coaching is a Marketing Tactic.

Some outplacement counseling firms will heavily promote the concept of “unlimited coaching.” It sounds appealing. But most expert HR professionals are focused on the goals of the separated employees – and that’s to transition soon and with dignity, not receive counseling forever. An outplacement counselor is not a lifelong therapist.

By definition, effective career transition (aka outplacement counseling) should not last forever. In other words, the goal is to transition, not stay stuck. Experienced counselors cost money. If a firm is advertising unlimited coaching, is that really a sustainable business model? If firms are offering unlimited access to coaching, it’s often access to a live chat or extended access to a content platform. Unlimited coaching with a highly experienced, well-compensated coach would come at a steep cost. Would you select a law firm offering unlimited access to an attorney?

4. “Just-Any” Job is Easy to Find; “Great-Fit” Jobs Are Not.

Boomers are retiring, and employers are experiencing a talent shortage. At the same time, employers are laying off talent in high volumes. The bottom line: outplacement counseling couldn’t be more important right now. Finding a job might be easy; but a successful transition – a job that will provide financial security and career fulfillment – is rarely something a client can find without counseling and expert preparation.

5. Outplacement can be Purchased for One or Many.

Some people may associate this service as suitable for large-scale layoffs. But even if you need outplacement for one person, the investment is worth it – to that exiting employee and to those who remain.

6. Outplacement Boosts Engagement for Those Who Remain.

After an employee separation, your remaining talent will typically disengage as they experience anger, fear, and anxiety. What makes people the most fearful is their lack of control. Most of employees are employees at will. That means their employer can sack them at any time. However, when your workforce sees that their former colleagues have transitioned successfully, they become more confident that they, too, could survive a layoff. This is why providing outplacement counseling, severance, and upskilling opportunities to all employees is critical in maintaining a strong and engaged workforce. Find a firm that focuses on results.

About IMPACT Group

The quality of the counselor matters most.

At IMPACT Group, we call our outplacement counselors coaches. And they are all experienced and certified. The most important part of the program is the talent that provides the counseling. Period. That’s our guidepost at IMPACT Group. Hire the best and retain the best. We continuously monitor coach performance using the ratings each client gives their coach.

We also offer outplacement services for every budget, and every need.

Whether it’s one employee or one thousand. We deliver. Discover how we can partner together today.