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RiseSmart: A Tailored Approach to Outplacement

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RiseSmart: A Tailored Approach to Outplacement

No one likes to let good, hardworking employees go. However, doing so is sometimes necessary when running a successful company, whether the layoffs are the result of a relocation, consolidation, merger, acquisition, restructuring or strategic change in business direction.

Fortunately, there is a tool that you can use to help your former team members secure new opportunities while protecting your company’s brand and bottom line. It’s known as outplacement, and RiseSmart, a Randstad company, is the world’s largest provider of outplacement services.

RewardExpert spoke with Emily Elder, RiseSmart’s senior manager of practice development, about the inspiration behind the company, the outplacement process, and the benefits for both employers and transitioning employees.

Helping Professionals Find New Beginnings

Founded by Sanjay Sathe and Dan Davenport in 2007 and headquartered in San Jose, California, RiseSmart was inspired by Sathe’s own outplacement experience.

“At that point in time, the outplacement model was outdated, and Sanjay felt like it didn’t focus on results,” Elder said. “He wanted to move quickly. He wanted to have structure. And he wanted to land his next opportunity. But back in the day, outplacement services were a little bit fluffy, for lack of a better term. They involved a lot of talk about feelings and less talk about executable plans.”

Helping Professionals Find New Beginnings
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Sathe decided he could provide a better solution in the outplacement space. “He created a very high-touch model that was facilitated by best in class technology,” Elder continued. “He was the one to bring in a technology interface that facilitated the process, made it more efficient, but didn’t lose the human touch.”

Over the past decade, Sathe and the RiseSmart team have grown to serve small and medium enterprise businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies in industries ranging from education, government and financial services to healthcare, retail, telecommunications and more. Along the way, they’ve helped thousands of professionals find new jobs quickly through outplacement and redeployment.

Earlier this year they launched RiseSmart Express, a suite of career transition solutions and workshops specifically tailored for the roughly 5.9 million small- and medium-sized businesses that call the U.S. home.

“Most legacy outplacement firms work with big companies,” Elder said. “They don’t really have a model that suits SMB business. Our goal was to make sure that we could also target companies that have 1,000 or fewer employees and give them the tools and resources that they need to help employees find their next new beginning quickly.”

Individually Tailored Career Coaching

When a company hires RiseSmart to help with outplacement, the individuals who are leaving the company are paired with a certified career coach.

“Our career coaches have backgrounds in human resources and recruiting,” Elder explained. “They follow a specific methodology, so we can ensure that people are receiving the information they need to land their next opportunity, but it’s tailored to the individual’s needs.”

She said the career coaches work with the former employees to get them up to speed on essentials ranging from how to network to what to consider when accepting their next position.

“They also talk to them about how to target the right companies and how to evaluate those companies,” Elder continued. “Now they have an interview. How do they practice interviewing? Maybe they have a job offer. Maybe they have two. How do they evaluate those job offers in terms of what they need as an individual? Maybe they don’t even know what they want to do next. The career coach will help them understand their strengths and what they want in the next step of their career.”

She also noted that while the outplacement coaching process can address many needs, it always includes accountability as well as the creation and execution of a plan. “I think that’s why we’ve been so successful,” Elder added. “We focus on creating and working a plan, and that’s how you get results.”

Delivering Industry-Leading Results

RiseSmart’s outplacement service results are quite impressive. Not only are they able to transition employees into new roles five months faster than the national average, but 80 percent of the employees who complete the program successfully land new positions. Seventy-one percent get jobs at the same pay rate or higher as well.

But the benefits aren’t for transitioning employees alone. Outplacement services also help companies protect their employer reputation, an essential commodity in today’s online world.

Delivering Industry-Leading Results
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“You’re going to need to hire again at some point,” Elder said. “How you treat people when they enter and exit your business is critically important to your brand. People have no problem talking about your company on Facebook, Glassdoor or other social media sites. And potential employees look at those sites. You could find yourself with some recruiting challenges.”

You could also find yourself paying higher unemployment taxes if your exiting employees attempt to file for unemployment benefits.

“The smaller your business, the more an unemployment claim can impact your experience rating,” Elder noted. “And you never know why unemployment will be approved. In my own business, I had a former employee claim unemployment after moving away. This person moved because they said they could no longer afford to live in California. Even though I fought the claim, I had to pay the unemployment and our budget took a hit as a result. So, there’s a financial incentive to getting employees back to work as well.”

To learn more about RiseSmart’s outplacement, redeployment and training services, visit

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