Choosing the right outplacement agency can be a daunting task and usually comes at a time when stress levels are running high. Also, many organizations often wait until the time that services are urgently needed, rather than researching and selecting them preemptively. The market is full of a wide range of service providers so it’s no surprise that HR teams can find themselves under significant pressure to choose the right firm.

When choosing an outplacement consultant to meet your specific needs, consider the depth of services offered, the quality of the care provided to your team and the level of customer service that you can consistently rely on.

Choosing the right care
It may seem obvious, but understanding exactly what services you need and what your budget is, can help you to quickly identify the top outplacement consultant candidates. For example, if you’re only offering services to upper management or executives, your requirements may be much different than if all employees are eligible for support.

If you’re not sure, an experienced outplacement consultant can help you to identify your needs and help choose the right services for your budget and for the needs of individual employees. The best firms offer customized levels of care and don’t try to fit each client into a one-size-fits-all approach.

Finding a professional provider
Simply offering the service or listing it as an employee benefit isn’t enough. Outplacement support comes with a cost and in order to justify the expense, employees have to actually use it and find success from it.

The signs of a quality outplacement consultant can be:
Number of clients served
Years in business
Professional certifications earned
Testimonials or success stories

A professional outplacement firm will generally support your former employees with personalized coaching, formal assessments, up-to-date tools, resources and proven job search methodologies. You may like to look for a provider who also provides financial counselling support and virtual outplacement options as well.

Partner with someone you trust
Building trust with your outplacement provider is paramount to the successful execution of difficult employment terminations. Knowing that your outplacement consultant will answer the phone or respond to your emailed requests for help is important when tensions and emotions are running high. Employment terminations can arise quickly and unexpectedly and not feeling confident that your provider will be there for you when you need them is not acceptable.

In the same light, if your outplacement consultant does not offer quality, meaningful and effective service to your former employees they will not be successful in their subsequent job searches. The job search process is a hugely personal and stressful activity that most people are used to handling alone. Your outplacement provider should be able to help them to combat feelings of shame and self-doubt, help them to open up about skill gaps and salary requirements etc. This is why your outplacement provider must be able to connect with your employees and earn their trust as well. A trusted outplacement consultant might:
Be local to your employees
Speak the same languages as your employees
Understand cultural, social, and economic factors facing your employees

Finally, the right outplacement firm will truly care about the success of your organization and your people. While there’s no degree or certification to prove this, if your provider is professional and responsive, demonstrates quality, meaningful services and personalized care at a price you can afford – you have likely found the right one.