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Which Is Better? In Person or Virtual Outplacement

A continuing trend in outplacement has been the increase of virtual delivery of career transition services.

Rather than provide outplacement consulting in person at an office many firms have moved partially or entirely to a virtual delivery model.

There are firms that claim that virtual delivery is better and that it represents a major technology advance or that it is disrupting the traditional outplacement model. From our analysis we can see that the facts do not really bear this out. 

First, the key elements for any great outplacement program are:

  • Knowledgeable consultants who have the experience to provide insights to their candidates
  • Content and education tools that can help the candidate put together a first rate job search
  • Strong reporting metrics to report back progress against objectives 

Virtual outplacement from our analysis seems to differ only in these areas:

  • Delivery – virtual outplacement is primarily done via phone although Skype/Facetime sessions can be added. The traditional outplacement approach was in person
  • Education – virtual delivery has both an online library of content (recorded webinars, e-learning modules) that can be accessed 24/7 along with an online calendar of live webinars delivered via sharing sites like GoToMeeting.
  • Scheduling – virtual delivery scheduling is much more flexible since it can be tailored to the candidate’s calendar. For example, an East Coast candidate who is only available in the evenings can be matched with a West Coast consultant who can deliver the services during office hours. 

Which then leaves us to ask is virtual delivery better than the traditional in person model? Please consider the following:

  • The basics of the candidate delivery are essentially the same. The only difference is the means of communication (phone vs. in person) and location from outplacement firm office space to candidate home office.
  • Engaging the candidate in a meaningful way is still all that matters and this can be done effectively in person or virtually. While it can be debated it really it really does not matter how a career transition consultant connects with their candidate but either way can work effectively. It only matters that the career transition consultant listen to the candidate’s needs and help them develop a career marketing plan that will get them re-employed in the right opportunity as soon as possible. 

The Frontier Group point of view is that the candidate experience can be optimized either in person, virtually or a combination of both. We have seen that any combination can work and that is why we like to offer candidates the options for both. The candidates can benefit from both the personal connection of an in person engagement with the convenience/time productivity of a virtual meeting.