HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Virtual Outplacement 101

Remember Blockbuster? I have a little nostalgia for the bygone days of browsing the video rental company’s aisles for a movie to watch, but I don’t think any of us are ready to give up our Netflix or Hulu to go back to the “good old days.” Driving back and forth from the store, choosing from limited options, paying late fees—these already seem like curious problems from a quaint past.

Source: Mathias Rosenthal / shutterstock

Just like our movie-watching habits have evolved from Blockbuster to Netflix, outplacement is going through a transformation in the digital age. Outplacement, a benefit given by a company to employees who have been laid off or terminated to help them find new jobs, used to be a service offered only in a physical office.

Back when outplacement emerged in the 1960s, terminated executives and senior-level employees would be given an office and an assistant to support their employment search. But today, employees expect convenient services, available when and where they are.

Virtual outplacement can help meet those expectations by delivering career development services—such as career coaching, résumé review, and job interview prep—through an online platform.

An Improvement on Physical Outplacement

Virtual outplacement and traditional outplacement are similar in that they both offer career transition services to laid-off or terminated employees. But only virtual outplacement offers these services online, which presents a number of key advantages, like:

  • Readily available services that are more user-friendly
  • Services that are accessible through phone, tablet, or computer
  • The ability to begin outplacement immediately

Additionally, virtual outplacement can offer significant cost savings over traditional in-person services. This can allow companies to provide the service to a larger percentage of their affected employees. This, in turn, helps the company maintain more positive relationships with departing employees—the hallmark of a successful employment branding effort.

How Does Virtual Outplacement Work?

Virtual outplacement programs vary widely, but a good solution offers employees features like:

  • Clear instructions on how to use the tool
  • Flexibility in how employees can search for jobs
  • Guidance during the job search process
  • Digital access to career coaches
  • Résumé services
  • Job alerts

How Can Employers Explore Virtual Outplacement?

As with many tech solutions, getting started with a virtual outplacement program does require the organization’s needs to be successfully matched with the features of a potential solution. You would want to consider the scale of what you need, the ease of use, and a suite of features that are affordable and offer a useful service to your former employees.

Make sure you do your research to find which solution works best for your organization.

Yair Riemer is the President, Career Transition Services at CareerArc.

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