The terms career transition and outplacement are often used in an interchangeable manner. While we call ourselves outplacement specialists some of our competitors refer to themselves as providing career transition services, others simply use both.
But what is the difference?
For me they are both two sides of the same coin, that coin being career management.
Generally, outplacement begins with redundancy. Sometimes that will be voluntary but for the majority it is an unexpected, stressful and sudden turn of events. As a result the requirement is often as much about helping people deal with change as it is about the practicalities of finding a new job. In many cases rebuilding an individual’s confidence and self-worth is a critical per-cursor to a successful job search.
Career transition can have many triggers. For some it might be redundancy but for others it can be a simple recognition that they’ve perhaps made the wrong turns in the past and now need to do something different. Career transition can therefore be ongoing while an individual is still in role and may well not end up with them leaving the organization.
The difference is a subtle one and in truth many of those we help on an outplacement program make a career transition. We’ve had many delegates decide to become self-employed following redundancy, from cake making and organic baby products to beauty creams and wine makers. All represented a substantial change from their previous career. Others make a more subtle change, deciding to do what would be considered a “backward step” but one which gives them better work life balance and less stress.
What brings the two terms together is coaching. For an outplacement or career transition program to be a success they need to have expert coaches who can assess each individual’s needs and help them achieve their next career goal. Whether that’s a step upwards, sideways or in a totally different direction.