When an organization makes the tough economic decision to lay off employees, any assistance the company provides is appreciated. A severance package that covers two weeks, or more, of pay for each year that an employee worked and continuation of benefits for a period of time are the most common severance package components. Outplacement is a rapidly growing component of a severance agreement. Whether outplacement is effective in helping employees find jobs more quickly is up for debate. Experiences of former employees vary and employers appear to do very little vetting or measuring of the results of the outplacement firms they use.
Outplacement is a service that is supplied by companies that specialize in helping employees job search following a layoff or job loss. Outplacement services are contracted for by the employer who is laying off employees to help employees make a swift transition to a new job. People can pay for outplacement themselves but it is a bonus when provided by the employer as part of a severance agreement. Outplacement normally consists of individual or group career counseling and advising. Since many laid off employees are unfamiliar with current job searching techniques, training in job searching is provided. Outplacement firms help develop resumes and cover letters and even apply for jobs for individuals. Outplacement firms also provide job leads and follow-up counseling and advice.
Outplacement firms supply offices for job searching employees in some agreements and group training in all aspects of job searching and career transition. Increasingly, interactive outplacement services are becoming available online, so an employee does not need to travel to see his or her career coach. Additional outplacement services are provided over the phone, by instant message (IM) and even texting. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2009, "More than two-thirds of 265 U.S. employers with layoffs during the past two years offered outplacement, at an average cost of $3,589 an employee, according to a June survey for The Wall Street Journal by the American Management Association and Institute for Corporate Productivity."
The WSJ, in the cited article, says that 58.5% of laid off professionals receive…