Virtual outplacement: how Careerminds blends people with technology

May 10, 2024 by Elizabeth Openshaw

With so much upheaval in the UK job market, and a lot of companies streamlining or going through restructures, it’s hard for employees to know where they stand half the time. Any career transition or change can affect both employees and employers. If you find yourself in this position, and aren’t sure where to turn, you’ll want to know all about outplacement services.

This feature will look at how the outplacement industry has evolved and adapted over the years, examining the future of work, the shifting to a new virtual outplacement model, and what new opportunities and technology are available, along with the many challenges, and how to overcome them.

How virtual outplacement has increased in popularity

Outplacement providers work closely with an organisation and any of their employees who are impacted by redundancy or being “let go”. The aim is to make sure it’s as smooth a transition as possible for all involved. The outplacement providers help departing members of staff find new positions through reorientation, by offering up services including career guidance, assistance with CVs, career evaluations, interview prep, networking help, and support throughout the job search.

Outplacement also has the advantage of helping companies retain their top talent, while developing new leaders, by helping remaining employees, especially if they’re being asked to take on further responsibilities. The service focuses on staff retention and any career development worries those employees might have, in order to ensure they remain engaged with the organisation and enjoy a stress-free period following on from the transition.

In days gone by, before Zoom and Teams were a thing, all of these services were delivered in-person, in group settings, and in an office environment. But we all know how technology has advanced, particularly over the last few years with the pandemic, and this has transformed the way we all work, including HR and outplacement service providers.

Due to this recent upsurge in technology usage, everything that could go online, or virtual, pretty much has. Whereas before, most UK jobs were performed in an office or at a work location, now the trend is moving increasingly towards remote work, or working from home. This boost in demand for remote work, and for remote service such as outplacement, has really taken off. It’s why virtual outplacement has become more and more popular.

How virtual outplacement is shaking up the industry

This current trend of flexible work spaces and work habits of staff translates easily to the virtual outplacement model. Innovative technology is continually changing the outplacement process, and how it can be handled. If you’re an outplacement provider doggedly sticking to a traditional outplacement process and not embracing all of these technological innovations, then you won’t be able to provide the level or quality of service required for today’s employees during their career

Previously, with traditional outplacement services, a participant would meet with whichever coach happened to be available at the time, whether they had the skill set to help or not. It doesn’t have to be like that nowadays. Job seekers today can demand more flexibility and more updated support. As they’re already knowledgeable about adaptable and virtual work environments, they can operate comfortably within the virtual world, accepting the virtual outplacement model more readily, where bespoke coaching is carried out either online or over the phone, rather than face-to-face.

This virtual outplacement process is modern, flexible, easy to grasp, and is adapted to be able to work around each and every client’s own schedule. So there’s no need to travel to Bristol when you’re based in Leeds, giving up your precious time and money sitting on a train or in a traffic jam, when you can log on anytime from anywhere in the UK, or even the world.
Blending outplacement services with technology is certainly the way forward, as it makes the overall provision more affordable, and certainly more convenient than before, making it an all-round more attractive option for both employers and departing employees.

At Careerminds, we understand the need for quick responses, flexible options, and accessibility to our services at all times of day and night. That’s why our virtual outplacement services, and the way we approach this, has mushroomed into a must-have for all businesses.

The right approach to supplying virtual outplacement

There are numerous ways that a firm can take when supplying virtual outplacement services to get clients back into meaningful and fulfilling work quickly and easily.

Let’s take a look at the most important methods, what they were, and how they’ve changed over the years, developing into a perfect outplacement services approach that suits the workforce of today.

Group sessions

A traditional outplacement service provider approach was the group session. This was a popular method, before the magic of the internet truly kicked in, as it was where everyone was gathered together to receive the same sort of information.
Basically, group sessions consisted of the company who were getting rid of staff, to hold a seminar for participants, and normally held at the head office. This often meant that employees had to trek all the way to the session in order to get some support.

While the commute for these sessions might have been a pain, the real disadvantage of these group sessions were that they were a one-size-fits-all approach.With participants being all in one room, with one coach, there was never any leeway for receiving personalised support. Every person’s job search is different, and they all take different amounts of time and planning to get it right.

For that very reason, this sort of approach is no longer favoured by outplacement service providers, or seen as particularly viable or helpful in any way. For one, participants might struggle to get to the head office for the sessions, because they live so far away, they’re going to an interview, or they’ve had to take on a second role to fill the financial gap left by their previous job loss.

This group approach takes up too much time and just isn’t flexible enough, especially when it’s compared to nowadays, when the search for jobs mainly takes place online.

The self-guided approach

The opposite approach to the group sessions is the self-guided virtual outplacement one.
This way of providing outplacement services allows those taking part to take ownership of when and where they can access the programme by providing them with the necessary tools through an online platform, saving time and money from the participant’s perspective. While this does have its advantages, it can be quite impersonal, even more than the group sessions, where at least you had human contact with a career expert as well as with peers going through the same challenges as yourself.

One of the primary reasons for outplacement providers adopting the self-guided approach is the relative cheapness of setting this up, which appeals to procurement specialists scouting around for an outplacement provider while keeping within budget. While it might be better value, that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for those who actually have to go through the process.

The blended approach

It won’t come as a big shock to reveal that the best approach is blending the best of these, so combining the people-based side along with the cutting-edge technology offerings, granting the participant the best of both worlds. Outplacement services need to be personal, otherwise participants just won’t engage with it fully. So having either group sessions or self-guided approaches aren’t going to cut it on their own.

Combining the two, however, means participants can look forward to dedicated, personalised coaching that is truly targeted, so they receive the support that they themselves require, regardless of what level they are within a company. Instead of a group setting, where there is a more general feel, this blended option offers up a customised approach that looks to fully understand the exact requirements of every individual, tailoring the process so it meets the needs of the client, and not the outplacement provider.

The use of technology over the internet is a great way of connecting people too. It removes the need for people having to travel miles for meetings, whilst simultaneously enabling clients to access valuable elearning tools, social networking, and webinars hosted by careers experts.

This ideal way of working capitalises on the advantages of the internet by delivering one-to-one coaching, normally achieved through video calling, so you get the same personalised approach from the comfort of your sofa! It means the outplacement process is more human, hands over control to the participant, drastically reduces travel time, and keeps them safe.

Careerminds: our approach to virtual outplacement

Careerminds has been head of the queue during this virtual workplace takeover, constantly readjusting the outplacement process to stay ahead of the game and be part of a more technologically-driven future.
We offer a rounded virtual outplacement programme that is personalised to each participant. Taking the blended option mixes the advantages of the methods mentioned above, and enhances them with unique offerings and expertise, to virtually support clients and companies far longer than other outplacement providers.

Raising the standards of virtual outplacement

Careerminds started in 2008 as a contemporary provider of global outplacement services. Our CEO, Raymond Lee, had spotted a gap in the market 10 years before. As a HR executive he’d experienced the disadvantages of the traditional outplacement process from the client’s perspective, and set about disrupting the sector. This galvanised him to develop a technology-based process, which led Careerminds to emerge as one of the most innovative providers in the industry, shaking it up for the best.
Careerminds, and the industry, have come a long way since then, as an increase in demand for remote workplace support has meant the rest of the outplacement sector has come round to realise that adopting the same approach is the way to go. With that said, our virtual outplacement programmes continue to set the high standard across the industry.

How Careerminds unifies teams with innovative technology

We unify and combine innovative AI job search technology with a bespoke approach that offers personalised career coaching for all levels of roles – from individuals to top senior executives – across the world.
At Careerminds, we have expert career coaches, professional CV writers, and LinkedIn specialists who work closely with participants in order to gauge their needs and encourage them on their way to securing a new role. Participants use their coaches to attain goals and processes that will help them with their next career move.

Throughout the whole outplacement process, running alongside the coaching aspect, participants have full access to a digital platform stuffed full of resources to guide them through the job search of today, which looks very different from a few years ago when participants were perhaps last looking for a job. The resources and tools include online classes, elearning tools, webinars, and an existing network of like-minded professionals who are in the same boat.

This blended approach places people first, while using the technology available to prop up the process, making support easier to receive whenever, and wherever, the participant needs it.

Adopting a people-first approach

Let’s look in more detail at what is meant by this. Being called virtual outplacement often leads people to assume this means impersonal or a one-size-fits-all approach. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Offering a virtual outplacement service means that it should include the close assistance of expert career coaches.

That is exactly the reason why Careerminds provides a mix of accessible resources online with customised coaching. We match participants with a coach who knows their industry and level of seniority. A participant looking for a role in healthcare has very different needs to someone who is in IT, the construction industry, or financial services, for example.

One thing we also consider is assigning a coach that is a close to their client’s location as possible. This is because different locations around the UK mean differing ranges of salary, expectations, and industry standards. Someone working in London, for example, is going to expect to get a higher salary for the same role as someone working in Hull. The coach listens to their client, and guides them through the process and services of their bespoke programme, choosing the medium which suits the client, whether that is the phone, over email, chat, or web-based coaching.

Each coach is responsible for seeing each and every client through the outplacement process to the very end. Transitioning employees will present with very different needs, with a range of strengths and weaknesses. Each coach develops a unique career transition plan for each participant, working with them on a regular basis to create the optimum journey to placement.

At Careerminds, we know that, for virtual outplacement to be done well, it needs to mix the best of both worlds. That means the personal approach from a dedicated coach, along with the convenience and user-friendly functions of outplacement tools, resources, and technology.

Careerminds: the technology used

It’s time to take a closer look at the virtual outplacement tools and resources used at Careerminds, and how we use technology to provide impeccable support to our clients and participants.

Our virtual platform and elearning tools

The virtual platform is the foundation of any virtual outplacement programme. It’s the place that participants visit to discover about the process, meet other participants, and so much more. Our InMind portal at Careerminds is an invaluable tool, delivering a resilient experience for both the client and the participant.

For clients, the InMind Client Portal boasts features like:

  • Participant management: add individual or numerous participants at a time to get them going with the outplacement services.
  • Dashboard: easy-to-view metrics on participant status, insightful reports, and programme success.
    Survey reports: check out your employees’ responses to career consultation evaluations and exit surveys.
  • Job postings: post open roles or provide limited access to recruiters who can post positions that participants can view from their side.
  • Knowledge centre: access even more resources and FAQs at any time.

For participants, the elearning platform capitalises on using next-generation AI and machine learning techniques to boost the job search process, making it more user-friendly and accessible than ever. Users navigate the complexities of seeking out a new position, while gaining the knowledge of the transitioning period, and then having the confidence to move forward in their search.

The InMind Portal offers much more than just the training aspect. There is a networking platform linking all participants together, as well as ex-participants who benefitted from our services to land interesting new positions. They can pass on their experiences of the process to current participants, by connecting with thousands of alumni, recruiters, and career consultants.

The great thing about this is that those links formed within Careerminds can extend beyond our platform. That’s because all profiles are connected to LinkedIn, so users can carry over connections made through Careerminds into their personal networks.

Perfect Match and CV writing

Having unrivalled access to Perfect Match, a unique tool, allows participants to compare their CV to varying job descriptions. And there’s more…

Perfect Match is so innovative that it can prompt a user with suggested keywords to optimise a CV, increasing their chances of getting noticed when applying for a new role. These keywords and key phrases are vital as most organisations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter out any CVs which don’t meet essential criteria straightaway. The upshot of that is that many CVs are never actually seen by a human being.

Perfect Match helps to combat this problem. By incorporating the right keywords, helped by Perfect Match, and by customising your CV to each job advert, you increase the chances of your CV being given a higher score from the ATS, and thus getting through the system to land on the desk of the relevant person.

This advanced technology is additionally used when helping participants craft their CVs in the first place. We don’t just teach them how to write a CV, we show them. Perfect Match takes out the guesswork of compiling a CV, and empowers the user more. By taking advantage of this technology, participants can reduce the time spent in crafting a CV, and increase the time spent in applying for roles.

Personalised career coaching

Careerminds has always been ahead of the times. The virtual outplacement approach it took started way before the pandemic of 2020 and beyond. How we communicate as humans has evolved over the centuries, and virtual outplacement technology has redefined how we interact with others in the virtual space, and maybe in a better way than face-to-face.

While coaching is at the heart of all outplacement services, our approach at Careerminds puts the emphasis on the key relationship between the coach and the participant. Every user of our programme receives a dedicated coach who remains with them every step of the way, until they get a new job. Previously, coaches were often selected simply due to their availability at the time. This resulted in a lack of personalisation, trust, and ultimately reduced progress.

That’s not the way at Careerminds. We’ve been there at the start of virtual outplacement, so possess the knowledge and experience that underlies a need to provide career coaches that are the best in the industry, and remain crucial to the success of the users.

Our exceptional support

Any virtual outplacement coaching through Careerminds is done via familiar platforms such as Skype or Zoom. Ask any body language expert, and they’ll tell you that anywhere between 60% and 90% of communication is non-verbal. So it’s vital that most coaching sessions, especially the first one, is face-to-face.

This is sure to establish a relationship straight off. Then the coach and participant can come to an agreement about which is the best way to communicate going forward. It’s not always convenient to set up a Zoom meeting every other day, but answering a Skype message or email is certainly doable. You can share content easily through email messages, with the content always there should the participant need to refer back to anything previously mentioned.

Using all these different types of techniques and platforms also means that the participant will become more familiar with them, proving very useful during the interviewing process. This is another reason why we make sure the participants take advantage of our complete scope of support methods, online tools, and technology.

Our commitment to “until placement”

We make a promise to our clients right from the start. There is no time pressure. We are unique in this respect as most other outplacement providers set a limit of between one and six months of when their services are available. Knowing you only have a certain amount of time in which to secure a job can put massive pressure on participants, as they feel rushed into finding a new job. It will take some participants much longer than others. This is not the case at Careerminds. Results are based on outcome, not the time it takes to get to the end. This is our “until placement” promise.

“Until placement” means that we support and work with participants until they secure a new and meaningful role i.e. not the first one that comes along if it’s not a good fit. There are no time limits, as this could mean withdrawing support when the participant needs it the most. So our support is based on results and is outcome-focused. It’s certainly not about the time a person needs, it’s about guiding them towards landing a new role that suits them.

With all our experience of supporting clients over the years, we know that a universal approach simply doesn’t work. While there may be some elements that are similar, every single search for a job is unique, as are the people doing them. We’ve designed our virtual outplacement programme to mirror that, by delivering flexible support that caters to each individual’s needs. Offering support “until placement” is not only a promise, it’s a true commitment to users to give customised support to everyone, so our clients feel safe in the knowledge that their departing staff are getting the best possible treatment.

A customised experience for all

No other outplacement provider matches what we offer in terms of virtual outplacement technology. That covers CV help, networking, our elearning platform, and the Perfect Match tool. If you want to check these out for yourself, click on our product demonstration webinars for the full tour.

As we know, every job search is different, so a virtual outplacement service provider can’t be successful if it aims for a standardised approach. Our expert coaches have all our technology, resources, and career tools at their fingertips in order to provide bespoke solutions to each and every participant. Combine that with emotional support, training on how to overcome any technology gap, and guidance through each part of the job search process, and you know you’re onto a winner.

The benefits of virtual outplacement with Careerminds

Having gone over the unique technology and support tools we have as part of our virtual outplacement service, we can clearly see the advantages that these resources hold for both clients and participants. Whether you choose Careerminds as your virtual outplacement provider or another firm, remember that these are the basic tools required and to look out for when deciding.

Global access: anytime, anywhere

The world is getting increasingly smaller in terms of connectivity. With our cloud-based approach, it doesn’t matter where you are located in the world, you can receive career support when you like. There’s no travelling to a head office for a group session or a chat with your coach. That can take up so much of your valuable time. Instead, departing employees can use the same services from anywhere in the world, equalising access for all concerned.

This virtual access has the added benefit of allowing participants to search for jobs online easily. With the use on online platforms, users can link up with hiring managers, business leaders, and employees at organisations across the globe. Careerminds has a vast pool of knowledge and coaches from all over the world, so participants can make use of this when seeking out new job opportunities. This is really helpful when employees are aiming to transition to a new region or another country.

All of this adds up to a truly global support service, for staff located wherever, looking to work anywhere. Be on the lookout, when deciding which outplacement provider to use, that if they don’t offer online outplacement services then they probably aren’t up to scratch when it comes to tackling today’s ever-changing workplace.

Round the clock support

Some of our participants might work shifts, or have to contend with odd working hours, and therefore can’t access support during normal office hours. The beauty of our virtual outplacement services, being totally web-based, is they’re available 24/7. This provides complete flexibility and convenience to engage remotely whenever they want.

Our participants have the luxury of being able to log onto our platform from the comfort of their own sofa. They can work through the learning modules and attend webinars at whatever time of day or night they choose. They can delve into using our job searching tools and enhance their CVs with the help of Perfect Match while waiting for their dinner to cook. And their coaches can communicate with them via whichever medium is best, and whenever suits both parties.

The same can be said for our clients, as they have their own section and support with the InMind Portal, which can be accessed around the clock. By dovetailing modern tech with putting people first, we can deliver unrivalled flexibility, access, and support.

Virtual outplacement services at competitive prices

Like with most services, virtual outplacement ones become more cost-effective the more people use them. This means more people can benefit from them in the long run, and it saves more time as they do, which, in turn, saves money. When an employee is made redundant, this often comes with some sort of severance package, which includes a lump sum payment, outplacement support, and some other helpful benefits. But usually the lump sum offered has to last until the person secures a new role, as there is no other money coming in.

As opposed to traditional outplacement formats, virtual outplacement is faster, better, and more affordable. As well as the time and money saved from not having to travel, it does away with the cost of printing out materials and paying the overheads for an actual office. This is often the reason why a lot of outplacement services have to impose times limits to keep their costs down because they have to shell out for extras such as these.

As mentioned, all of our programmes run “until placement”, but still turn out to be cheaper, while providing a top quality service. The data says it all. Our virtual outplacement model transitions 95% of active participants within an average of 11.5 weeks, from beginning to landing a new role, along with an 80% engagement rate.

This flexibility and affordability of the virtual outplacement services at Careerminds means participants can get on with their lives and look for a job, without having to deal with the stress of money woes or finding the time to travel to places as part of the programme.

Increased privacy and integrity

We understand that confidentiality and privacy is of the utmost importance to a lot of participants. Many want to keep their coaching sessions private. Meeting in an office space traditionally would allow for appointments to take place in a quiet room with just the coach and participant present. Working from home can be somewhat problematic due to the many distractions it throws up.

That is why Careerminds coaches prioritise finding a private location where they won’t be distracted, and neither will the participant. Our expert coaches also realise that one medium for communication might need to be switched part-way through a session, so a phone call can transform into a video call in a just a few clicks.

This detail gives the participants the confidence to know they will receive the support they need, while allowing for the space to enable open and honest communication, where they can truly divulge what they need in order to move forward.

Robust virtual relations

Building that relationship is vital to the programme. Providing constructive feedback or guidance just doesn’t translate so well when there’s no rapport. The expert coaches we have take the time and effort to get to know the participants, and not just by covering the work aspect. They look at the whole person. This is achieved by asking in-depth questions, learning about their life outside of the working environment, and empathising with them during their search to mitigate anxieties and stress.

By cultivating these relationships, it helps our participants be more open and honest, and be their true selves. Communicating with a coach who hasn’t created a safe, welcoming, and understanding space can mean participants hold back, and this can interrupt and delay finding that ideal placement.

Finding a job is personal. Coaching to seal that end goal has to go beyond the obvious, and dig deeper to identify how the participant views their ideal life, their personal goals, and much more. Securing a job is one thing. Securing that perfect job, that ticks all the boxes, is another thing entirely, and is something we aim to achieve with every participant.

Bespoke training

Our virtual outplacement programme means participants can tailor their training to suit themselves and what they are looking to achieve. They’ll receive CV writing support, profile optimisation, job searching help, career and personality assessments, and customised coaching through different virtual methods.

The platform also offers up resources that allow users to delve into areas that pertain to their specific career. They can learn at their own pace as there is no time pressure to either go too quickly or hold back too long on the learning materials, affording the time that they individually need to understand how training and the new tools work.

Not only is all of this useful, but using an online platform should be engaging and interesting. Our virtual outplacement programme combines graphics, video, audio, interactive parts, and case studies to keep interest and meet the needs of a variety of learning styles.

Virtual outplacement: the takeaways

At the end of the day, there are numerous elements and approaches to consider when shopping around for virtual outplacement services. The best ones to consider are those that take the unique needs of your employees into account, while providing them with a tailored and accessible experience whatever their career needs may be.

Virtual outplacement should be personal and easily accessible. If it’s not personalised then users probably won’t receive the level of support they deserve or require, or worse, they might receive support that’s not relevant to them, which is a waste of time and resources. And if it’s not user-friendly, participants might lose heart, and not continue with the programme.

The blended approach that we use at Careerminds really is the best option for today’s job seeker. The ethos that people are our priority is backed up with modern technology that eliminates those obstacles that have plagued the outplacement area for so long.

If you want to learn more about our virtual outplacement services as Careerminds, do get in touch.

Do you require outplacement support?

People are our priority. That is why we have customised outplacement solutions at competitive prices that work at every level.

Connect with a career expert

Elizabeth Openshaw

Elizabeth Openshaw

Elizabeth Openshaw has over 12 years of experience in the job search sector, including extensive expertise in outplacement and CV reviews. Previously a Journalist on national publications, she is Director of her own company, OpenDoor CV Expertise Ltd. You can connect with her at Elizabeth Openshaw | LinkedIn.

Do you require outplacement support?

People are our priority. That is why we have customised talent management solutions at competitive prices that work across every level.

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