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What is Outplacement? Meaning.

Outplacement (OUTP) is the process from work to work. More precisely it is in Human Resources Management the process in which support services are offered by (profit/non-profit) employers to help employees who are leaving the organization, or are dismissed, fired, or threatened with dismissal to find a new job or start an activity as a self-employed person.

Normally a specialized HR/outplacement firm is providing the services which are paid for by the (former) employer. The services typically include a mix of coaching, practical tips and advices, training materials, workshops and psychological support.

OUTP can be delivered individually or in groups. It is important to emphasize that OUTP also requires self-motivation and own initiative/action - in addition to the guidance of an advisor - to successfully find a new job.

OUTP can be provided on a voluntary or legal basis. In some countries, OUTP or dismissal counseling is required by law.

Those who have to leave involuntarily often also have the option of choosing between a sum of money or OUTP.


Reasons for Outplacement

OUTP can be offered in various circumstances:

  • Difference of opinion WRT the strategy or course of the company.
  • A reorganization / change in organizational structure (Restructuring).
  • Downsizing of a company.
  • A merger or acquisition.
  • People stuck in their career development.
  • Market developments that make certain work unnecessary.
  • An insoluble labor conflict.

History of Outplacement

The term "outplacement" was used for the first time by James E. Challenger, founder of a Chicago-based career consultancy firm.

Subjects of Outplacement. Topics

Typical OUTP subjects and skills being taught can include:

  • Shelter and psychological support
  • Competences evaluation
  • Career evaluation
  • Career guidance
  • Exploring the job market
  • Searching for a job
  • Techniques for applying for a job
  • Resume writing
  • Developing networks
  • Interview preparation
  • Negotiating a new contract
  • Follow-up at the start of the new job

Phases in an outplacement process

A number of phases can be distinguished during a typical OUTP trajectory:

  1. INTAKE INTERVIEW. The employee examines with the OUTP agency the circumstances, goals, requirements and options. An OUTP plan is drawn up.
  2. PROCESSING OF EMOTIONS (disbelief, regret, anger). Getting fired is involuntary and very annoying for most people. What happened must first be processed.
    • WHO AM I? The person gains insight into his/her personality, talents, strengths and weaknesses.
    • WHAT COMPETENCIES DO I HAVE? It is important to be able to tell briefly and concisely about your work experience, results achieved and expertise.
    • WHAT DO I WANT? What is your career path, what work are you passionate about, what results have you achieved in previous jobs, in which things are you an expert, which branches suit you best?
    • CV AND LINKEDIN. Write a powerful and distinctive CV, letter of application, and a professional LinkedIn profile.
    • PERSONAL PRESENTATION. Create an "elevator pitch", a 30 seconds presentation of yourself to use in your networking and job interviews.
    • NETWORKING. Expand your network physically (by talking to a lot of people about what you are looking for) and digitally (via social media, etc.)
    • VACANCIES. How to find and target available jobs.
  5. APPLYING FOR A JOB. Learn to present yourself properly and give accurate answers.
  6. NEGOTIATING your salary and working conditions.
  7. AFTERCARE. Follow-up at the start of the new job and completion of the outsourcing service.

Benefits of Outplacement. Advantages

  • For the employees: Provides structure and guidance towards their new career option.
  • For the employer:
    • Improved morale/commitment/loyalty of remaining employees.
    • Attracting and retaining quality talent.
    • Maintains a good reputation of the organization.
    • Decreases potential lawsuit claims.
    • Cost Savings.
    • Decision making is made a little "easier".

Books on Outplacement.

Special Interest Group

Outplacement Special Interest Group.

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Expert Tips

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Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Outplacement. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Managing Employee Separation (Layoffs) and Employee Retention

Employee Turnover, Employee Retention, Employee Separation, Discipline, Layoffs, Dismissing, Employee Termination
Presentation about the retention and separation of employees, including the following sections: 1. Learning Objectives ...

Assess your Personality Type to Plan your Career

Career Management, Career Planning, Personality Types
This presentation elaborates on how to define your personality and the career that suits best to you. The presentation i...

The Employee Commitment Pyramid

Employee Commitment, Employee Motivation
Stum (2013) developed the so-called Performance Pyramid. His model is clearly based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But ...

Introduction to Employability and International Employability

Employability, Skills, Personal Development
Presentation that introduces the concept of employability, including the following sections: 1. Increasing Demand for I...

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Compare with: Employee Development  |  Employability  |  Career Management  |  Management Development  |  Management Succession Planning  |  Talent Management  |  Coaching  |  Attrition  |  Downsizing  |  Workers Compensation Insurance  |  Skeleton Staff

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