Three years ago I started to learn about this industry I had never heard of – outplacement.
I hadn’t heard of it because the company that laid me off doesn’t do outplacement. When I got let go I got a very small severance and advice to go to a free resume clinic.
Outplacement, I learned, is a service provided by a company to help an employee who is being terminated to land on their feet. Outplacement services typically include some coaching (individual or group), learning opportunities (seminars, webinars, etc.), and sometimes office space. There are other perks of receiving outplacement, but those are at the core.
Outplacement packages typically start around $1,200 and commonly are more than $2,000. Executive outplacement packages can easily be five figures.
As I was learning about this industry I thought about how cool it would be to offer something to companies like mine – there is no way they would have spent $1,200 per termination, but perhaps they would spend a few hundred dollars on each of us. To that company, outplacement was too expensive.
Interestingly, traditional outplacement firms are not interested in going below a certain price point – there is a lot of overhead associated with traditional outplacement and they just can’t go that low.
My idea was to create an offering that could satisfy that price point.
Fast forward three years… I got an email from a recruiter a couple of months ago saying he was just let go and did I know of any opportunities. After not doing anything with my idea for three years because (a) I didn’t have the mental bandwidth, and (b) I’m not a sales professional, I thought I’d throw the idea at him.
And here we are today, with a new website called Affordable Outplacement. We’re definitely not going head-to-head with traditional outplacement, rather we are going where they have chosen not to go.
There’s more to the story, but I’ll leave it at this for now. I think it’s quite exciting, and I’m anxious to see how things unfold over the next 12 months!
Oh yeah, I should mention, YES, we are looking for talent to help us move this forward. Specifically (and only), right now we are looking for inside sales reps:
5 thoughts on “Affordable Outplacement”
Congratulations on launching the new site, Jason!
This will be very helpful to many laid-off workers, and should also help employers to reduce cost. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether small-to-medium sized companies would be willing to pay for such a service, given the it’s a “cost”, not a “profit seeking” activity.
Bill, thanks for the comment. I can guarantee that companies pay for such a service – before I moved in this direction I’ve had upgraded accounts sponsored for users who were getting terminated.
And, the outplacement industry is large (multi-billion, afaik) and has historically had strong margins (which is changing, from what I hear).
It’s interesting that the motivation for actually paying for this could be financial (for public companies, shows their nice face to a bad situation), community goodwill (imagine a firm terminating a lot of people and hurting a town’s income – I lived through that back in 1999 when I was in school), or emotional (a manager who feels bad for what has happened and wants to give their colleagues a hand in a nasty transition)…. I’m sure there are other reasons.
You just keep coming up with more great business ideas! I am happy for you and wish you the best of success in this new venture. It also occurs to me that the way Affordable Outplacement developed is largely due to your endless networking and public speaking events…and is proof that it works!
Thanks Kathy – you know what’s interesting – I’ve had this idea for a LONG time and it was frustrating that the sun, moon and stars where not aligned… but somehow, with patience and time, it started to happen.
I guess that’s a lesson for people – this is three years in the making… if I would have given up at 2.5 years I wouldn’t have gotten this far. We’ll see how next year goes 🙂
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