Executive Outlook: What is ‘Executive Outplacement’ and Why Do You Need It?

Executive Outlook: What is ‘Executive Outplacement’ and Why Do You Need It?

Filter tag: Change Management and Executive Outplacement, Strategies for Growth

It’s hard to believe that we are fast approaching the final quarter of 2021. As the ‘Out of Office’ replies dissipate and the summer lull picks up pace, expect to see more than just a busier workload and fewer team members on annual leave as autumn beckons.

Many organisations have been discussing the introduction of plans for new, hybrid working models for months now, but many have not truly put them into practice yet. With the entire UK adult population on track to be offered both vaccinations by the end of September, it is likely that people will begin to feel more comfortable returning to the office.

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been gradually winding down for months now but is currently scheduled to finish on 30 September. The furlough scheme helped businesses keep their staff on payroll during the challenging 18 months of the pandemic, and provided a safety net for many staff. Official figures show that around 3.4 million people were on furlough in July 2021, and the scheme has supported around 11.5 million jobs throughout the whole pandemic.

The development of new business models has required leadership teams to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their organisations together with the imperative to implement further digital transformation. There will have been serious discussions about culture and staff, and an evaluation of the skills and capabilities that will be necessary to drive the business’s plans forward within an environment of new operating practices and greater use of technologies. Other organisations may still be struggling to sustain pre-pandemic levels and will be dealt a blow by the loss of furlough grants. Both cases will unfortunately lead to redundancies.

No business leader wants to have to make staffing cuts and in many cases, it presents both a tough personal and leadership challenge. Cutbacks cause tension, anxiety, and hurt feelings not just with those leaving, but also for those who remain. Executive outplacement services can help mitigate this and enable exiting staff to transition smoothly to a new role. But what exactly is ‘executive outplacement,’ and why might you need it?


What is ‘Executive Outplacement’?

‘Executive outplacement’ is an umbrella term for a suite of services related to helping executives find and secure their next role. You may have also heard it referred to as ‘executive transition services.’ Within an executive outplacement programme, such as those offered by Rialto, you work with an expert or a team of experts who are well-versed in the demands of the rapidly changing senior level job market. The expert(s) will assist with everything related to a job search, such as the development of a compelling value proposition, helping draft your CV and other written materials, assisting with your presentation, interview skills and elevator pitch, understanding the different approaches to managing different campaign strategies and providing advice throughout the process. These are the bare minimum services you should expect from your programme, but the mark of a good programme is its understanding of the demands of the current market and the need for candidates to differentiate by the most effective means possible. These programmes will include services related to market/industry research, skills and capabilities benchmarking, personal branding and reputation building, and digital and real-world networking and influencing.

For example, on a Rialto executive outplacement programme, the executive job candidate will partner with a team of experts that cover different specialties in the outplacement process. The team will start by helping the executive determine their specific goals and by conducting research into the skills needed, the industry trends and conditions, and the competitive landscape for available opportunities. The executive would receive assistance with drafting a strong digital profile and CV to showcase their skills, as well as a compelling value proposition and other targeted personal statements. They would also work with an expert on their personal brand, which will include coaching on strengthening their online presence and generating valuable thought leadership to help them differentiate and get noticed t attract opportunities. A good outplacement will also help with high-level face-to-face or virtual networking, connecting the executive to the right networks and provide advice on the type of people with whom they should be connecting. When discussions are secured, the executive will practice with their expert in a mock format.

While outplacement work is always conducted one-to-one, it is usually offered on a wider scale by corporates for their departing staff, usually via a partnership with a third-party provider such as Rialto. Organisations who provide services that help staff find their next role normally experience good ROI in terms of the company’s reputation and remaining staff morale.


Why Corporates Need Executive Outplacement

Whatever job cuts are being made now, you will need to hire staff in the future and continue to attract customers.  If handled poorly, redundancy can leave employees with a poor perception of your brand. By contrast, executive outplacement enables them to leave on a better footing and builds your positive reputation as a supportive, caring employer, which is particularly important in today’s intensive social media spotlight. Employees who receive outplacement support are likely to feel more valued and appreciated by the organisation, and are therefore less inclined to share their negative thoughts on social media or on review aggregator sites like Glassdoor. Reviews like these don’t just look bad to your customers who may see them, they may also deter excellent candidates from applying for open positions in the future. The COVID-19 and corresponding social and economic issues have created a demand for more empathetic and compassionate leadership. Offering executive outplacement meets this demand.

Offering these services can also have a positive impact on the staff you are retaining by helping to enhance the “psychological contract” between the organisation and its people.  Even in situations when the economic case for making redundancies is clear, your people can still feel very let down and anxious during cutbacks, which will affect creativity, innovation, and productivity.  This will be a time of heightened emotions which need to be carefully managed by leaders in order to maintain morale and mitigate panic. The peace of mind that offering such support can provide should not be underestimated. Knowing that there is a safety net in place to help leavers move forward helps reassure staff that they will not be left hanging should their role be made redundant. Morale and productivity are maintained, or at least not as severely impacted, as remaining staff can find comfort in the fact that their employer cares and is doing whatever they can to help. This will go a long way to assist with retention.


Why Individuals Need Executive Outplacement

If the executive’s current or former company does not offer these services, that does not mean the individual cannot seek them out themselves. An executive can always go direct to a reputable provider such as Rialto. They will receive the same scope of services and personalised attention as corporate clients. The benefits and value these services can provide the executive more than justify the cost of such an investment given the accelerated results of job search and better-quality outcomes.

The executive job market is highly competitive and is likely to become even more so following the end of the furlough scheme. Working with an experienced executive outplacement partner can help you to gain a deep understanding of what you are up against and help you to put your best foot forward in the market. In the case of Rialto, we have successfully assisted more than 5,500 leaders and executives with making successful moves over the last 10 years.

All in all, executive outplacement is a great way for employers to support their people during difficult periods. These services help leavers move forward and successfully navigate the market that they are having to enter. The benefits to the individual are both professional and psychological, offering long term value to one’s career and ensuring that they don’t feel left behind or less valuable because of their redundancy.

If you are interested in partnering with Rialto for your organisation’s executive outplacement services or are interested in seeking these services for yourself, get in touch with our team.


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