Can Numbers Alone Paint a Complete Picture?

Do you remember those paint-by-numbers kits? My first memory of artistic success came from those kits. Recently, I was meeting with a prospective client who asked about our “numbers” for outplacement. Some employers only measure the success of outplacement by how quickly separated individuals “land” new roles. But do the numbers alone paint a complete picture?

For those of you not in the business or intimately connected to the value proposition of outplacement and how some firms measure success, let me give you a quick rundown. Outplacement refers to the assistance employers offer to employees who are losing their jobs to help them transition more effectively and more quickly. The assistance normally includes resources such as coaching, skill-building workshops, online tools, workbooks, resume assistance, educational videos and much more. 

Why do employers invest in outplacement?

  • Risk Management – They want the departing employee to look forward, not back
  • Protection of Employment Brand – To be recognized as a great employer, they take care of their people at every step of the employment lifecycle.
  • Staff Retention – How employers handle the release of employees says a lot about the organization and it affects the employees who remain
  • Value in the Process – With proper support, employees can learn about good career management which includes reflecting on the past and taking actions to avoid potential missteps in the future
  • Reduced Length of Transition – Outplacement services help people land new roles faster, right?

While outplacement services do help people land faster, would the more accurate measure be “Land their desired role faster”?

The Numbers

Many competitors claim that they land employees 50% faster, have 91% participant satisfaction and possess a dramatically different approach to outplacement or the best technology tools. Some are even trying personalized websites, or resume/infographic hybrid tools. It sounds good and we profess (and can prove) even better results than our competitors for these metrics; but does it improve the overall result for the participant? I like to joke that people will believe you 64% more if you use a statistic.

Our landing metrics show that 28% of participants in our outplacement programs land in under two months, and 59% are hired in fewer than four. That’s far less than the national average of 9.3 months as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States which is phenomenal! So our numbers say these participants have had very successful transitions while the remainder have taken longer and are therefore unsuccessful. While our metrics demonstrate outstanding results, is it reasonable to say that the participants taking 4 or more months to land are unsuccessful?

At first glance, one might say “yes.” Let’s look at the numbers for three cases.

  • Case #1: One Monday morning, a participant from our outplacement program brought donuts to our office to say thank you for our support on his way to his first day in an executive role with his new employer. From the day of his first session with us to the day he started his new job was 265 days, or 8 months and 20 days. 
  • Case #2: A participant started our program early this year. He got hired after only two weeks and didn’t finish our program. 
  • Case #3: Another participant stopped by just to share her good news. After a search of ten plus months, with a few months in between working a temp assignment, she had been hired full time at a great local employer. She told us, “I couldn’t believe what I said about myself during the interview. That was all thanks to your coaching.”

The Paint

At Career Partners International, we say “we are one of the largest talent management companies in the world with over 220 offices globally.” And that number continues to grow…but does that serve our participants and clients best? We believe so. It means we live in the local communities where our participants, the employees of our clients, live. It means we have experts in the community who can provide the personalized services that each individual desires. It means we’re invested in the success of our participants who are also our neighbors. How close are we to YOU?

With Career Partners International, participants get personal engagement. Even as a business developer, not a delivery consultant, I know these people and their stories. Our whole team knows what is happening with all of our participants. Each of us is personally involved in the day-to-day business, meeting with our participants and leveraging the entire team to bring about the best possible outcomes for them. Couple that with our world-class technology solutions, a depth of talent management offerings and our value proposition, and our clients and participants come out winners every time!

The Complete Picture

Back to our three case studies. Let’s look beyond the numbers to the rest of the backstories.

Case #1: This man could have “landed” much faster…he had offers but he would have settled for a position that was “less” than the one he desired and landed. If you apply the old school rule of thumb of 1 month of search time to every $10k of base salary, he landed quickly. We can confidently tell you that this man landed his goal job at his desired, and deserved, pay. It’s truly a great success story.

Case #2: A previous employer (not the one that sponsored his outplacement program) hired him back, even though he left them by choice less than a year ago. Did he land quickly? Absolutely! Our numbers look terrific on this one. Was this the best outcome for him? Well, only time will tell.

Case #3: This lady landed her dream position. She is making more money, supervising and building a team, with all the benefits. She is thrilled and attributes her success in landing this role to our program and her work with our career coach.

It’s easy to paint by numbers. For folks like me, the numbers are necessary but without the box top where I can see the complete picture, I never know if I’m getting the result that was intended. How about you? Are you getting a complete picture or merely the numbers to determine success?

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