Challenging Outplacement Taboos: Insights from Career Coaches

Companies often allocate a lot of resources to recruiting and onboarding new employees yet frequently overlook the importance of a structured offboarding process, which is a shame because even a laid-off employee can continue being an ambassador for your company.

Moreover, there exists a stigma surrounding redundancy, which in turn influences perceptions around outplacement.

To puncture this taboo, our initial approach was to invite terminated employees to share their experiences and demonstrate how they successfully redirected their careers post-dismissal. However, the reluctance of individuals to come forward for such testimonials speaks volumes about the lingering taboo in our Western society.

To address this issue, we have chosen to let career coaches Lore and Marc, who work closely with transitioning employees, share their experiences and insights gleaned from their day-to-day interactions.

Why is outplacement a taboo?

Marc Spaey emphasizes the significance of avoiding hasty generalizations in this context. He notes that younger generations experience these setbacks differently than their older counterparts, such as the baby boomers.

For the latter group, the traditional career trajectory often involved the expectation of long-term employment with a single company, spanning a decade or even several decades.

Consequently, it understandably feels like a more profound blow when faced with a layoff under such circumstances. In contrast, younger generations tend to adopt the Anglo-Saxon approach, where they anticipate working for multiple employers throughout their professional journey.

What is transparency's role in this story?

It is often very difficult to admit that you've been fired by those around you. It can erode your self-esteem.

Marc addresses this issue with the following insight: "When individuals who have been laid off communicate openly about it with their peers, they frequently discover that more people than expected have experienced a layoff themselves."

And this shows that sharing those experiences can be enriching. However, the first step is having the courage to communicate openly about it.

Uncertainty due to lack of knowledge about outplacement

Geert Volders mentioned in the previous podcast, "Next Generation Outplacement", that outplacement is often an unfamiliar concept. However, outplacement can transform your dismissal into an opportunity. Therefore, we want to provide more insights into the outplacement process to address the uncertainty surrounding outplacement.

In the next part of this article, we answer the following frequently asked questions about outplacement to help you better understand why it matters.

  • How does the outplacement process work?
  • Is it individual or collective?
  • What makes an outplacement proces successful?

How does the outplacement process work?

Outplacement isn't just about finding a new job. It's like starting your career fresh and discovering what kind of work you enjoy.

Sometimes, when people lose their jobs, they know little about how outplacement works. This can make them miss out on its advantages.

But don't worry! In the video below, career coaches Lore and Marc explain it all.

Is it individual or collective?

Outplacement involves a combination of both collective and individual sessions. This combination makes it valuable.

So highlights Marc the significance of workshops for the following reasons: "Firstly, workshops create a holistic framework. Secondly, they offer the opportunity to connect with others who are also experiencing a lay off. This enables the sharing of experiences and information, which is enriching."

However, it's crucial to look at individual sessions as equally important, as they allow for a deeper focus, greater customization, and addressing each participant's specific needs and requirements.

In short, Marc sums it up nicely: 'It's actually not our outplacement, but each participant's outplacement journey.'

Marc Spaey explains outplacement

What makes an outplacement process successful?

Earlier in this article, we provided additional context regarding the course of the outplacement process. The initial step involves assessing whether the participant and the career coach have a foundation of trust. If this trust exists, the foundation is laid for a successful outplacement process.

With this trust established, a framework emerges in which both the candidate and our coaches can communicate openly and transparently. This element is crucial as it enables our coaches to provide candid advice, including playing the role of devil's advocate when necessary. Individuals going through a job loss require a coach who is willing to question their choices, whether positive or negative.

Beyond the trust and transparent communication, the framework surrounding the process is of immense value. The combination of individual and collective sessions allows the candidate to manage their trajectory with the much needed flexibility to meet their unique expectations. The role of our PowersuiteTMNext platform isn’t to be underestimated.

Lastly, it's crucial that the candidate takes ownership of its own outplacement journey and actively participates rather than simply adhering to it.

What do you think the future of outplacement looks like?

Marc emphasizes the need for a broader discussion by looking at career counselling, with outplacement as one component. He believes that considering career counselling is essential for the future. This perspective involves all stakeholders, including employers, employees, governments, and unions, fostering a scenario where employees can openly discuss their careers with employers.

With this approach, dismissals don’t need to surprise employees, who are empowered to navigate their career paths.

Marc further suggests that this approach fosters a dynamic environment where employees are motivated to re-skilling and upskilling to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of work.

Lastly, Lore emphasizes the importance of maintaining individualized, digitized, and optimized outplacement processes to offer the most effective guidance to candidates.