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Outplacement: The rising new role in HR

Yojana Sharma | May 26, 2017, 10.00 AM

Engineers, and particularly software engineers, have been the blue eyed boys in the Indian society for long. However, volatile business scenarios and automation have forced tech firms to rethink their people strategy. Hence instead of 'hiring', 'firing' is the new buzzword in this sector and even others.

On one hand the HR teams are quietly completing the formalities of the employees exiting the company. To make it smoother, many firms are now appointing 'outplacement' consultants to help the exiting employees find work elsewhere. "Outplacement is a trend usually followed by companies that are looking to downsize, and hence, reach out to their exiting employees to help them get placement in other jobs," explains Kavita Nigam, GM - HR and publicity & promotions, Karam Industries.

"Outplacement is a process to save the reputation of the company as a good employer and as a courtesy they want to help the employees who could not find a slot in the new structure for a fresh new job in the industry with other organisations," shares Sunil Goel, MD GlobalHunt.

Outplacement throws new light on the role of HR, especially in the tough business scenarios. "Outplacement services are an established mature product in the talent management space," says Sudeshna Basu Roy, Co-founder and CEO of training and consulting firm Marg. "Outplacement serves the need of employers to humanely as well as constructively let-go of employees. With outplacement services, employees who are leaving an organisation are offered the support of placement consultants to find new jobs, at the company's cost," she adds.

Outplacement firms help in these aspects -
- Familiarise exiting employees with new job roles in their domain
- Help facilitate interviews for jobs
- Provide references for these employees in advance
- Help with basic interview tasks like rewrite CVs, prepare exiting employee with mock interviews
- Provide emotional support

In an Indian set-up where a 'break' from work even for child care or elderly care is not seen in positive light, the perception for an employee 'let go-off' from his firm is far more worse . How many time have you come across people who admit openly that they were asked to leave the company? Professionals generally cover it up as study leave, personal reasons or something else. It is this stigma that makes the exiting employee panic, not the job that he recently lost.

In such situations outplacement can be a great help. "It has also been observed wherein lot of people have a very little idea or information in the market as how to identify and crack a good job. Herein the agencies paid by company becomes a free consultation for the individual as an outplacement service," adds Sunil Goel.

There is another benefit which Kavita Nigam explains, "speeding up the exit process by closing the exit formalities on time, including timely paying off the rightful dues also goes a long way in establishing a healthy relationship with the outbound employee, and helps strengthen the brand image of our organisation".

"When outplacements work without hiccups, with the right, committed partners, companies are able to navigate sensitive and difficult conversations. Outplacements services are here to stay," says Sudeshna Basu Roy. Her words seem like the absolute reflection on the present times and a prediction for the future.