Knowing your outplace

Knowing your outplaceAs redundancy packages go, that offered by Nabarro to the 22 staff currently in consultation is on the good side of average.

The firm is offering the statutory minimum payout and the notice period pay – plus an extra month – and outplacement services.

Outplacement is increasingly trendy and a must-do for any self-respecting law firm manager. But it isn’t a good thing per se.

For those of you who need filling in, outplacement is a career counselling service. Those being made redundant get to develop their CVs with the mentoring of professionals and receive coaching on what to do next.

One member of staff who negotiated this service from his former firm told me that he was extremely glad to have done it, despite the fact that several months later he is still without work. The coaching gave him a mental boost at an otherwise depressing time, he said.

And with redundancy probably up there alongside divorce and moving house in terms of the stress it can cause, a positive nudge in the right direction shouldn’t be taken lightly.

But there will be some people reading this who are used to quantifying results, and as such may find an emphasis on positive thinking a little too reminiscent of self-help literature.

But in the universe of career coaching, there is a risk at going to the other extreme. Pseudo-technical attempts to quantify “inputs” such as “abilities” and “interests” via the computer-generated programmes sometimes favoured by coaches also miss the mark, grossly-oversimplifying a nuanced situation.

According to Nabarro managing partner Nicky Paradise, selecting the right company to work with can be a headache. Nabarro is using two different outfits, one for support staff and another one for the fee-earners. She wouldn’t disclose the methodology they use, only that they offer “individually-tailored” services.

Outplacement assistance is part of the investment in people that firms like to trumpet, and may help individuals prepare for the unknown. Employees that aren’t being offered it and want it should do their best to negotiate it as part of their redundancy packages.

But both firms and individuals should do their due diligence. No-one wants to be fobbed off with something that is either too fluffy or too pseudo-technical.