Outplacement as a vocational service

Before I start this article I want to be really clear. I am not comparing what we do with doctors, nurses, charity volunteers, aid workers etc. We are clearly not Medecins San Frontieres, but from our perspective at Connor, outplacement IS a vocation, and we make a positive difference to people’s lives. Let me explain.

For three decades now Connor have provided outplacement support services to individuals of all levels in every sector you can care to name. Doing this gives you a unique insight into people’s aspirations, dreams, personal circumstances and ultimately what is riding on this for them. This glimpse into what success means for them really brings home just how important your role is in helping them to achieve their successful outcome. It is so much more than just finding them a job – any job!

When you know what is riding on the successful outcome, you never want to sit in front of someone you know that needs your help and say, ‘I am sorry your time is up, you’ve used your allocated time.’ That’s why we like to do things differently. We are proud that for over 30 years we have offered a service where we work shoulder to shoulder with the people we support for as long as it takes for them to achieve a successful outcome. This means that we never need to say to someone who still needs our help that they no longer able to receive it. People find it reassuring and we would not have been able to run a successful business for as long as we have by offering a ‘for as long as it takes service’ unless we know it really works.

Offering a service where you work with someone on an ‘until success’ basis does not make sense commercially. You definitely get more commercial certainty with a time bound or credit-based service, but for us, being able to be on the whole journey with the person we are supporting is more important than the commercial elements of the service. All of our delivery experts are wired in the same way. We look at the individual person and not at the fee or hourly rate. No one we work with will ever feel ‘processed’ and like just a number.

I have been fortunate in my career to have delivered all sorts of services across the entire employment lifecycle, but there is nothing like outplacement when it comes to the warm feeling and sense of achievement you get when someone you have been supporting tells you, ‘I couldn’t have done this without you,’ and you know how much was riding on it for them. Working with people who come to you, often with their confidence bruised and with a healthy dollop of scepticism about what outplacement can do for them, and taking them to a position where they say, ‘this is the best thing I have ever done in my career,” is an honour and a privilege. It allows you to see the real impact the service and you have made and gives you a sense of a job really well done.

I’d like to share an email I received just yesterday from the HRD of a charity (whose wife we supported) that I think illustrates this,

“Fraser, I just wanted to say that the coaching that she received with Connor was a huge life changing moment – her coach, worked wonders to help my wife, who had been out of her career field for a few years with our kids, find her confidence and land an awesome job. She has just passed her probationary period with a really cool Canadian HR / wellbeing service company and is loving her job. Our family finances, my wife’s confidence and career satisfaction owe A LOT to Connor.” 

Clearly, with a view of how important a successful outcome is for the person, also comes a commitment professionally, to be the best you can be to support that person and to ensure that you keep your knowledge of the market bang up to date. All of our consultants ‘buddy’ with a colleague to bounce ideas off, share experiences with, as well as being connected to the wider delivery team of 100+ colleagues. This means that each consultant can tap into a considerable pool of expertise and if they haven’t come across an issue before, someone in the wider team can help provide experience on how to navigate it.

In our role, being privy to everything that is going on for the person with whom we are working is important. Sometimes these issues are personal, financial, emotional and mental health related. We are experts at career transition and not trained counsellors, however we want to support the people we work with in every area, and so we can provide them with an holistic service. We partnered with an employee assistance company (EAP) who can support each person entirely confidentially with a counselling service on any issue they are encountering, whether that be financial, emotional, family, mental health etc. That way Connor can look after their careers, and the EAP can look after everything else.

Matching the person receiving the service with a right consultant for them is not the easy option, but is the right thing to do in our opinion. We place the same amount of time and emphasis on matching the person with the right consultant based on style, experience, and chemistry fit as we would do if this were this a coaching engagement. This is far too important to be left to chance. We have people in Connor whose exclusive role it is to match people going through the service with the right consultant. They understand what you want to get out of the service, what style and approach really resonates with you and share with you the bios of the consultants that meet your criteria for you to select the right consultant for you, based on a proven process – not chance.

Hopefully, in this short article I have shown that when you treat outplacement as a vocation you don’t take the easy option, you don’t take the commercially savvy option, you take the right option.  I will leave you with the words of my colleague Tim Kemp who heads up our Executive Practice,

“Of all of the things I have done in my career, outplacement is the thing I love the best. It is an honour for someone to take you into their confidence and share with you all of their hope and fears and then work shoulder to shoulder with them to bring about success. It is an absolute privilege; I am proud of what we have delivered together and made friends for life.”

To find out more about our outplacement services and how we can support your leavers, visit our Outplacement Services page. Alternatively you can call us on 01491 414010, or complete the form below.


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