Our Chairman, Ian Gooden, reflects on why global outplacement solutions rarely come in convenient “one size fits all” packages.

As many people know, my background was originally in resourcing – bringing people into organisations rather than helping them to depart. A big part of my recruitment career was with Austin Knight (anyone remember them?) and then latterly with TMP Worldwide. Possibly my favourite job in that era was heading up the international media team in Soho Square. Helping clients plan and execute recruitment campaigns around the globe.

Conversations with clients often started along the lines of “we want to advertise this job in the X equivalent of Y”. X being a country and Y usually being, in those days, a trade press, regional press or national newspaper title in the client’s home country. What I spent many, many hours explaining was that while, editorially, there might be say an equivalent of People Management in France nobody advertised jobs in it. Back then if you wanted to advertise a HR job in France you typically used Le Monde. That’s where HR professionals looked. The locals would be very amused if you put a job advert in the HR journal. Assuming the publisher would even accept it – which they often wouldn’t.

It’s the same everywhere isn’t it?

When I joined this industry in 2008 I discovered very quickly that global outplacement followed pretty much the same pattern. What you might do in country A might be wholly inappropriate in country B. You can’t take a programme designed in the UK and just drop it into any country in the world.

This summer’s Arbora Global conference in London was a great opportunity to remind myself that this remains true.

All of our Arbora Partners around the globe have a specialist outplacement team – however the ways in which they work, and how big outplacement is as part of their total business, varies enormously.

Take the Balkans for example. In that region outplacement is still a relatively new concept. And most people who get made redundant don’t expect to receive it. So just offering any form of outplacement makes an employer really stand out.

In Sweden few companies buy outplacement. There the Government and the Trades Unions have set up a joint venture business. Employers pay a levy into the JV and that organisation in turn organises outplacement when you let people go. Around 90% of all outplacement is purchased by this organisation – from a very small list of supplier firms.

In some countries providing outplacement is a legal requirement. Especially for older workers. And the required packages can be very expensive. Which leads on neatly to…

Is the price right?

Outplacement pricing, even for broadly similar services, can vary dramatically by country. The UK and US markets are highly competitive and pricing reflects that. Prices in say Switzerland are much, much higher. So if you are a Swiss company letting people go in the UK you might find outplacement is more affiordable than you think. Alternatively a UK company buying in Switzerland might want to sit down before you present the cost.

Cultural norms matter

How outplacement services are delivered can vary a lot too. In the UK, USA and Canada, remote delivery is very well established. Using Zoom, Teams etc to connect individuals and consultants is widely accepted. In other countries the norm remains face-to-face.

Many other aspects of job hunting have local nuances too. What is considered a great CV in the UK may not cut it in say Japan or Germany. The use, or not, of psychometric testing in selection can be another big difference.

Personal branding is another cultural variable. How you dress for, and behave in, interviews can vary too. As can expectations about negotiating salaries and packages.

Multi-local rather than global

What all this adds up to is that you need to work with a global outplacement expert who understands each individual market. And delivers solutions that are culturally appropriate and priced to local norms. And, of course, ensures you comply with local legislation. The “one size fits all” global template may look appealing but what if the service isn’t fit for purpose and you are paying over the local odds? Or maybe worse still, not meeting local legal or regulatory requirements?

Think global, act local

That’s a term I used a lot in my recruitment days. And it applies equally well to outplacement as it did to recruitment advertising. Its also why Chiumento is part of Arbora Global Career Partners. All of our partners are experts in their local markets – so you get on the ground intelligence. All of the businesses are also locally owned. So your in-country HR team will be dealing with people who care passionately about things like quality and delegate experience. After all, it is often their name “over the door”. Will a local account manager of a global company have that same sense of personal ownership?

What Arbora does brilliantly well is collaborate to give clients confidence and trust that they will get the best advice and the best pricing time after time. We don’t do “one size fits all” – think of us more as “made to measure”. You can always tell the difference.

If you want a global outplacement partner, not just a supplier, get in touch.