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If you are reading this supplement then it’s a fair bet that outplacement services – and the challenges of procurement - are on your radar. The landscape – with often duplicated messages and sometimes meaningless promises - can be difficult to navigate.
The challenge at the heart of buying outplacement is that it’s notoriously difficult to understand which questions will allow you to pick the provider that is truly going to provide the service that best suits your organisation and delivers successful outcomes for departing employees.
With 26 years of experience, we’ve pitched for our fair share of business. We are often successful - and the majority of our valued clients choose to work with us repeatedly. But, on occasion, we lose out to competitors. When this happens, we take a close look at buying decisions to identify what we can do better next time.
We share our advice to help you make the right decision for your organisation:
Always compare apples with apples
Providers use a plethora of terminology to describe services and this can be confusing.
Provider A’s ‘24/7 helpline’ may represent a core element of their service – Provider B may offer it as an inclusive supporting service that they don’t clearly articulate.
Many providers offer ‘unlimited career coaching’ – what does this mean in practice? Online-only services present a very different proposition to face-to-face coaching. Both have a place in the modern outplacement market, but ensure that what you are getting suits your population.
Assess the things that matter
In any buying process, it’s right to evaluate all services on offer. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of giving every element equal weight, resulting in a decision that – although fair in principle – could result in the appointment of a provider who actually isn’t as strong in the areas that you need most.
Price is almost always a significant driver - but procuring a low-cost service that doesn’t deliver the results you want ultimately represents very poor value. Don’t place disproportionate weight on elements that may never be relevant to your project – for example volume discounts that you are unlikely to reach.
Tech v’s Human
Supporting technology is important and of benefit to departing employees. However, participant feedback shows very clearly that, whilst people value having access to online tools and resources, what makes the biggest difference to outcomes is human contact. Don’t choose whizzy technology over service aspects that your employees will get more out of.
Making a change after a long relationship with one supplier can feel risky. It’s difficult to truly know what you’ve bought until it’s being delivered. Few contracts prevent you from using another supplier and so, in the run-up to any competitive process, aim to give potential providers the opportunity to deliver a discreet project. This allows you to evaluate capability and creates a level playing field in the competitive process - the incumbent almost always has an advantage in being able to demonstrate prior results with you.
Recognise the importance of engagement
Negotiating a great deal and service proposition is entirely valueless if your departing employees fail to engage.
What processes and tools does the provider offer to allow participants to make an informed decision and benefit from the services on offer?
Who are we?
Working Transitions is one of the largest and most successful transition specialists in the UK. We drive successful organisational change by supporting its most important enabler – people – and over the last 26 years have supported over 750,000 individuals to achieve their career goals.
In a world of non-stop change, some things stay reassuringly constant. We work closely with our clients as a trusted adviser to provide specialist interventions, solutions and resources that alleviate their pain points. Our powerful interventions consistently deliver excellent results – helping organisations and individuals to develop, thrive and to manage the challenges and opportunities of change.