Using Outplacement Services

Outplacement services are designed to assist both employees and organizations when an employee is terminated for reasons such as performance, layoff, downsizing or restructuring.

Given the legal and financial consequences of terminating an employee, this process should never be taken lightly and outplacement services are usually welcome and offer many advantages in this type of stressful situation.

Who are outplacement services provided to?

Outplacement services are provided to a terminated employee by an outplacement firm, and the services are typically paid for by the organization. This benefit is provided over and above any termination and/or severance pay that would be given to an employee upon termination.

A description of the outplacement package that the employee is going to receive (e.g., outplacement firm used, contact person, timing, etc.) is typically included in the employee’s termination letter.

Not all terminated employees receive outplacement services − need may vary depending on seniority, experience or other circumstances. Older employees and those with seniority are more likely to be offered outplacement services.

What are the advantages for the employer?

You may wonder why an organization might want to provide outplacement services and spend money on terminated employees, especially if the initial reason for the layoff was to save the organization money.

There may be a number of benefits for the employer to use these services.

Outplacement services may reduce stress for all parties involved, minimize the risk of a lawsuit against the organization, and possibly eliminate negative publicity towards the organization.

An outplacement services representative can also help coach the manager(s) ahead of time on what to say and not to say during the employee termination meeting. A representative from outside the company is more likely to be objective. The rep can help run a smooth meeting by focusing on the facts and steering away from the emotional aspects of the termination.

An employer may also benefit when an outplacement firm provides the following to the employer:

•  Employment Standards Act information
•  Tips on how to effectively terminate
•  Referral(s) to a qualified employment lawyer(s) to ensure the termination is handled properly from a legal perspective
•  Comfort with the knowledge that your employee will be treated professionally
•  Workshops on group transition for remaining employees

What are the advantages for the employee?


Terminated employees frequently feel a sense of loss and fear about the future. They are unsure what the next steps are in their professional lives and benefit by having some assistance. If they are caught off guard by the termination and/or have been out of the job market for many years, outplacement services provided can help with these issues.

Typically, outplacement services provide the following services:

•  Resume review and revision
•  Cover letter review and revision
•  Interviewing techniques
•  Interview role plays
•  Personality test
•  Career evaluation and guidance
•  Job Search skills
•  One-on-one and/or group coaching
•  Customized packages at multiple levels to serve a diverse group of employees
•  A high quality of training and support materials
•  Referrals to experienced financial advisors to ensure their financial well-being

An outplacement service can ease the transition process by providing a displaced employee with a career management plan and the job search tools needed to successfully pursue a new position. The service can also help alleviate feelings of displacement and frustration often experienced as a result of the termination.

Are there any disadvantages?

The only potential disadvantage might be that the organization pays for an outplacement package for the terminated employee and the employee doesn’t use what’s offered.

Can anyone purchase outplacement services?

Typically outplacement services are sold to organizations and not to individuals.  However, someone could approach an outplacement firm directly to ask if that could be arranged.

What is the cost?

Outplacement packages will vary in price, duration and services provided depending on what is required and what services are provided by the outplacement firm. Ask questions to make sure you know what you and the terminated employee(s) are receiving. You can work with the outplacement firm to come up with a tailored package that meets your requirements and budget.

How do I choose which outplacement firm to work with?

There are several considerations you should look at when it comes to selecting an outplacement firm such as location of firm relative to your office or the employee’s residence as well as the firm’s reputation, integrity, and expertise in their field. It’s important to do your homework and get references if you’ve not used the outplacement firm previously.

Like any service-based organization, there are good ones and bad ones. Make sure your expectations are met when you select an outplacement services firm to work with.


Outplacement services have become more popular for organizations terminating employees. For a reasonable cost, there can be tremendous advantages to an organization and its terminated employees by using outplacement services.

Note: This article is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be used as such. Please consult a lawyer if there is any clarification required on the above.

Marc Belaiche

is a 1990 C.A. and is President of, an Internet recruitment business and recruiting firm located in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. Marc has been in the recruitment industry since 1995. allows companies to post their positions online, search a resume database to find candidates, publishes a monthly Toronto Jobs Career Magazine, provides outplacement services and full temporary and permanent recruitment services. It also allows candidates to search and apply to positions directly online and get career, interviewing and resume tips all at no charge. Marc is also President of TorontoEntrepreneurs Magazine, a publication geared towards helping existing or new Entrepreneurs with their businesses (see You can reach Marc at and check out at