Building a Better Future through Outplacement

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“GOING through a depression stage is a common phenomenon upon a job termination. Such prolonged situation is vulnerable to damaging yourself, friends, family and associates. It’s a silent killer!” remarked William L. Ayers, Jr., the founder and vice president of The Ayers Group, a New York-based outplacement service firm. 
On the side of retrenched company, existing employees seeing their colleagues terminated will be likely to lose faith in the company. Bill, as friends and colleagues affectionately call, is well aware that a human touch is what needed to help these people recover from a job loss. “Through a professional human touch by outplacement specialists, they can gain back their self-respect and rediscover skills and confidence they had.” 
Witnessing his closest friend and family member lost their job, Bill was inspired to set up The Ayers Group in 1975. Starting from scratch, he has hitherto managed to grow his firm in not only the United States but also other countries across the globe.
Through its collaboration with 64 partners, The Ayers Group has since 1989 owned Career Partners International (CPI), one of the leading career management organizations in North America with 215 offices worldwide. 
The partnership allows the Ayers Group to offer clients a broad range of services in career transition, outplacement and organizational consulting. “And our partnership with Kelly Services, Inc, the parent company of BTI Consultants, has since August last year opened the gate to our clients in Indonesia,” Bill asserts. 
Other than the Jakarta’s office; Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Shanghai (China) are among the cities Bill has currently been commuting in the effort of establishing more representative offices. 
Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, U.S., Kelly Services, Inc is a Fortune 500 company that has a global network across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Services offered by the collaboration of The Ayers Group and Kelly Services, Inc include customized career transition, resume development, job search, leadership and management enhancement and network development. 
Incorporating outplacement is advisable for most business organizations, particularly during today’s economic downturn when retrenchments are on the rise. Supporting retrenched employees of a company is crucial to meet the company’s moral obligation. 
The company doesn’t know what its retrenched employees are going to be in the future; they can be competitor, client or even rehired employees in the future. But more importantly, a success of outplacement program can protect the company’s brand for a community at large. 
Most organizations around the world are very proud of their brand, of what they do and of their particularly loyal employees and how these employees have given a significant contribution to the organization. Correspondingly, many of these organizations will not be hesitated to hire an outplacement firm to fulfill its moral responsibility aside from being benevolent and care. 
In spite of the reasons behind terminating one’s job position, placing outplacement in a company’s management strategy can avoid making the same mistakes. “Even when the economy recovers, outplacement can also be relevant,” Bill asserted, citing how mergers and acquisitions can result in human resources reduction. “In many cases, they don’t need two people to do the same task. So, they terminate one and outplacement program should be in consideration.”
Indisputably, a company that treats its retrenched employees well will earn respect from them. On the contrary, discontented employees can spread the rumors that tarnish the company’s reputation, which would negatively affect the company’s future human resources. 
Outplacement is indeed an outcome-based practice to help retrenched employees find new jobs and build their future career. But if the program is not done properly then it will have little or even no impact to the progress. Bill further said that an outplacement company must have the characteristic and quality of what The Ayers Group and its partners refer to as ‘support and giving.’ 
It has been over three decades that The Ayers Group has successfully implemented ‘support and giving’ approach throughout its outplacement programs. “Operationally open from 8 in the morning to 7 in the evening, but we are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Our clients have their access to their counselors’ personal number,” Bill added. 
“Depending on the progress of clients, those taking advantage of our outplacement are subject to different program duration. Starting from a one-day program such as seminar with topic on how to enter a job market, the level graduates to 3-month, six-month and even a year program.”
The longest program at The Ayers Group is actually what the company refers to as unlimited program, “But our portfolio records the 12-month program is by far the longest for a successful outplacement program,” said Bill, who is the1970 alumnus of Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut where he is now one of the university’s board members.
Starting off from business clients in financial services such as those of brokerages, banking and insurance, all of which still make up a big chunk of the company’s portfolio, The Ayers Group’s clientele now includes businesses in publishing, pharmaceutical, law, manufacturing, consumer goods, to name a few. “We have brought experts coming from those respectively particular industries to deliver the service and walk on our clients’ shoes, the way our experts can speak their language. In publishing, for instance, we work with newspaper, publishing houses. So, a client from a particular industry is able to see the outplacement program from his or her perspective and how his or her counselor supports the client,” Bill explained, adding that most specialists at The Ayers Group and its partners hold master’s and doctorate’s degree with decades of experience. (Aulia R. Sungkar)
Jakarta Globe, August 29, 2009
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