how HR can choose the best executive outplacement service for senior leaders

Is your company facing challenges when transitioning executives? Senior leaders of an organization are valuable assets, and when it is time for them to transition out, most companies ensure they are cared for well. Whether the senior executive resigned or was laid off due to redundancy, the executive transition brings unique challenges for the company and individual. For instance, visibility is much higher, and the HR department needs to plan and manage communication flow well. Unlike other redundancies, executive career transition has many audiences, and if it isn't handled sensitively, it can damage the company's employer brand and the executive’s reputation.

As an HR leader, it is important to consider your approach to senior leaders' outplacement. These valued leaders have dedicated their time to the company's growth and have significant influence. While the outplacement process seems like a no-brainer, finding the best executive outplacement with a robust package is tricky. Not to mention, the experience of senior leaders during the separation reflects on your company. That's why you need a holistic approach to the current demands of the job market through an executive outplacement program. In this guide, we go over what you, as the HR leader, can do to improve the outcomes of outplacement services.

unique challenges of executive redundancy

Aside from the public nature of the resignation, a senior leader has limited job prospects compared to middle-level management and other workers. This creates a unique problem for HR managers since they have to help the executives find new jobs at the same or higher level.

Unfortunately, senior-level jobs are not listed on job boards, making the process network-driven. Hence, you are left with the challenge of looking for jobs hidden from the public view and matching the opportunities with the executive's career objectives.

With the challenges facing HR in senior leaders' outplacement, it is crucial that they understand the unique needs of executives. Outplacement services shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all proposition for senior leaders. It should be customized to individual needs due to the difference in career experience and personal goals. For instance, executives may need to work with a career coach to jump-start their career exploration.

For most executives, the next step isn't always clear, and they may need help identifying personal career goals. For instance, some may wish to open private ventures. When an executive is considering a new job, your outplacement service should provide networking training since 60% of jobs online are found through networking. Senior leaders may also need assistance connecting to recruiters, and executive outplacement services help them discern if the recruiter is looking for a track record, experience, or soft skills. That's why you need an outplacement service that provides whole-rounded support.

reasons for offering executive outplacement

Is it essential for you to offer executive outplacement to your senior leaders? Outplacement allows your existing staff to get back to work after restructures, downsizing, mergers, or layoffs. When you provide executive outplacement, you are assured that your senior leaders are in good hands and will easily exit the organization. The best part is that you reduce the stress on the company.

A good outplacement service will negate redundancies' negative impacts on your corporate brand. The last thing you want is an unhappy employee to tarnish your reputation and affect your talent acquisition process. Hence, executive outplacement helps employees while acting as a protective measure for the company.

benefits of outplacement to executives

While it seems counterintuitive to refuse free help, some senior leaders fail to utilize executive outplacement services. Executives leave feeling confident about their next career. Hence, it is always a shock to them when they realize the effort and time it can take to receive calls and start a new job.

Since senior leaders leave on a high note, they imagine the calls will start coming in from their existing networks. When reality kicks in, they realize searching for a job requires more work and patience. Besides, they often encounter obstacles as soon as the job search commences.

Aside from the minimal viable opportunities, they face unexpected challenges working with recruiters and the mismatch between the job requirements and their skills or experience. Executives are also unaware of the trends in job search technologies and lack experience with social media networking and personal branding.

As an HR executive, you must convey to outgoing senior leaders the benefits they receive from the outplacement services. For instance, an outplacement service helps them tackle the above issues and make the career transition seamless. The benefit of outplacement services for executives is the highly personalized assistance based on their career experience and goals. Executives receive one-on-one career coaching to help them explore career development options.

Many outplacement providers offer useful assessment tools and interactive resources. The career development coaches also assist with job search by helping executives create targeted resumes and improve or develop a personal brand and social media marketing strategies.

Outplacement services also train senior leaders on effective networking and help them fine-tune their documents for the applicant tracking systems. After working for some time, their interview skills may be slightly rusty. Luckily, executives receive interview coaching during outplacement. The skills help them present their strengths and negotiate with recruiters. When your executives understand the importance of outplacement services, they will likely participate in the process and transition faster.

a typical executive outplacement process

How the executive outplacement process runs usually depends on the individual and can take varied durations and include different options. An appointed outplacement firm should adapt the program and the process to the needs of an individual and provide support until placement. Some outplacement providers have term limits for providing support. For instance, some have a 90-day limit for the executive to receive support. If your executives don't secure employment within the time frame, they must continue the search without support. This doesn't work well with senior employees since executives take six months to a year to find a new position.

Typically, executive outplacement providers start their process with an initial meeting between a senior executive and the outplacement consultant. The first meeting is used to discuss the situation and establish expectations. After assessing the needs of the executive, the consultant brings in a career coach to assist the executive in formulating a personal marketing strategy to increase the participant’s employment prospects. That includes developing a personal brand to help the executive articulate their value and purpose. Most outplacement services will also fine-tune the executive's resume and LinkedIn profile to makixmize their visibility should online opportunities arise.

After developing the executive's personal brand strategy, a career consultant should build job opportunities through referrals, communicating with recruiters, and referrals. When the executive lacks good networking skills, the career coach trains them and prepares them for various interviews. Sometimes, the career development coach assists in negotiating job offers and provides ongoing support until the senior leader is employed.

how to choose outplacement services

A successful executive outplacement process should provide a positive experience and quickly find a new role for the participant. But it isn’t always that simple, in fact, it is incredibly challenging, even in a buoyant labor market. Here are some considerations when evaluating executive outplacement services:

  • expertise: the best outplacement service provider should be an expert in providing executive support. Before engaging any service provider, ensure they can provide the support you are looking for.
  • coach expertise: the most beneficial aspect of executive outplacement is one-to-one interactions between a career coach and the senior leader. Career and leadership coaching quality depends on the career coach's expertise. If the coach is an expert in executive coaching, they have in-depth knowledge of the emotional issues involved in the transitioning process. The coach should also know the current job market for that industry. Check out the coaching qualifications, for example, are the coaches recognized by the ICF (International Coaching Federation).
  • personalized services: executives have different drivers and goals during the transition period. Some may be rushing to secure the financial security they had in the previous role, while others are reviewing their experience and looking for self-employment or portfolio career opportunities. Hence, the executive outplacement you pick should provide highly customized services to suit individual plans. An adaptable solution that addresses individual ambitions creates a positive experience for senior leaders.
  • dedicated support team: the average tenure for executives is 4.9 years and they may not understand the nuances of job search when exiting the role. Hence, your outplacement program should provide a dedicated support team to assist the executives with CV writing and personal branding. A dedicated job concierge in the team will also search for networking contacts and research target organizations for employment opportunities.

Check out Randstad RiseSmart’s industry-leading suite of career transition services, including executive outplacement services. Aside from coaching sessions with expert leadership and career coaches, executives receive support from a dedicated team to ensure the transition of senior leaders is seamless.

10 August 2022
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