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“Transitioning Talent, Changing Lives: How One Company Has Changed the Outplacement Industry for Good” RiseSmart

silicon-review-sanjay-sathe“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled”. – Anne M. Mulcahy

Employees are undoubtedly the foundation of every organization, as they sustain the functionality of the organization by performing day to day operations and maintaining client relationships. It is nearly impossible for an organization to be successful without hardworking and dedicated employees. It comes as no surprise, therefore, organizations focus a considerable amount of time on recruiting the best employees. Organizations put great effort into recruiting and training these employees with hopes of a high return on investment. But what happens to an organization once an employee leaves? Especially if they are laid off? RiseSmart seeks to help organizations improve their employer brand and even their retention by offering truly effective outplacement services to impacted employees.

RiseSmart believes that employees who feel supported during their transitions are more likely to speak well of their former employer and become vocal brand supporters as opposed to detractors. Those employees who are treated well may even go on to become rehires or recommend jobs as the organization to friends and family members—strengthening the talent pipeline. Staying employees who remain in touch with former co-workers will see that their employer has their best interests in mind, potentially even strengthening retention and productivity among those employees who have not been impacted by the layoff. And some organizations even benefit from “redeployment” or “in-placement,” which helps impacted employees seek new positions within the organization before beginning an external search, a strategy that not only helps organizations hold onto high performers, but also save on recruiting and on- boarding costs.

RiseSmart’s contemporary approach to outplacement combines personalized services from trained professionals with unmatched technology delivered through a convenient, cloud-based platform. Many high-performing organizations in more than 40 industries rely on RiseSmart’s outplacement solution to help former employees find new jobs faster. Landing rates exceeding 80 percent and time-to-placement averages more than 60 percent faster than national averages have helped make RiseSmart the nation’s fastest-growing outplacement firm.

Founded in 2007, in Texas, along with co-founder Dan Davenport, RiseSmart’s innovative approach to human capital management has earned the company a wide range of awards and recognition from organizations including Bersin by Deloitte, the Best in Biz, Gartner Inc, Deloitte Tech Fast 500, the Golden Bridge Awards, Great Rated!, LAROCQUE, The Momentum Index, Red Herring, the San Francisco Business Times, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the Stevie Awards and TIE. Additionally, RiseSmart’s outplacement solution has earned the exclusive endorsement of the American Hospital Association.


Though it is a part of a larger staffing and talent management firm itself, RiseSmart, due to its founding principles of innovation and disruption is able to use the leverage and interconnectivity of its progressive parent company to drive new advancements in technology and service delivery. This in turn helps organizations not only with outplacement, but with talent management at all stages of the talent lifecycle.

One-of-a-Kind Outplacement
RiseSmart is the only career transition provider that owns proprietary semantic job-matching technology and a custom-built transition management system, which integrates seamlessly into their service delivery model. For RiseSmart, virtual coaching is personal coaching, enabling their teams of transition services providers, including a personal coach, resume writer and job concierge for each participant, to reach out to each transitioning employees regardless of their location. They have also built their own proprietary backend collaboration tool from the ground up, which allows their coaches, resume writers and job concierges to provide seamless service delivery to each participant, while providing transparent reporting and analytics to the employer.

Their technology and services reflect the needs of an increasingly mobile and non-traditional workforce. They also take into account the importance of online reputation and social networking, so their technology and services assist participants in building their brands and identifying ideal social networking opportunities related to specific job searches. Because they place equal importance on the development of both methodology and technology, they offer consistent quality across all of their outplacement and redeployment programs.

Unlike other outplacement firms, they not only monitor and measure relevant results, but also provide insightful analytics to their customers on demand. This allows them to partner with their customers to make better decisions about their outplacement efforts. They call this “results-based outplacement,” and it allows them to report such outstanding results as landing rates exceeding 80% and time-to-job 60% faster than the national average.

Results-Oriented Outplacement
Recently, RiseSmart released update to their flagship outplacement offering, called RiseSmart Spotlight. It includes both highly personalized services and advanced job search and contact discovery technology. Their service layer includes the assignment of a team of three transition professional—a highly experienced Transition Coach, Certified Resume Writer and professional Job Concierge—to each participant. Their proprietary transition methodology, in which each coach is certified, was created based on the accumulated knowledge from years of experience in career transition services combined with insight into the current and future trends in job search. Their platform includes a highly advanced job search tool, called SmartMatch™, which combines semantic match-ing, intelligent ranking and a learning engine to deliver highly relevant job leads to their participants almost instantly from the millions of jobs available on the web.

Their job search platform also includes a Contact Discovery Engine which identifies both the people their participants already know and the people they should know, in order to network for target roles and companies. The platform also provides participants with email templates and phone scripts for networking outreach. The job search platform also gives participants access to their extensive library of job search tips, webinars, videos and more through their coaching center, and participants can message their coaches through the in-platform messaging center. Participants can access their RiseSmart account on the go through the stand-alone mobile app.

RiseSmart Spotlight helps organizations build outplacement and redeployment programs that assist employees at all levels with their career transition goals, from remaining on the current career path or starting a new career to becoming an entrepreneur or consultant or transitioning into retirement. RiseSmart also offers SmartSession workshops to help organizations prepare to carry out successful layoffs and reorganizations. SmartSession workshops include manager notification training, resiliency training and career transition workshops, which can be carried out in large and small groups or one-on-one and either in-person or remote.

Working with RiseSmart
The company works with hundreds of companies across over 40 industries, many Fortune-ranked. Over the past several years, as the economy has fluctuated, they have supported customers across verticals, from manufacturing to consumer goods, from business services to high tech. They have even seen traction in industries such as financial services, despite small improvements in the economic outlook and they expect to see even more traction in both oil and gas and healthcare due to the downstream effects of the turbulence in the oil industry and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the coming years.

Case studies

1. Participant Success Story: IT Professional

The Challenge
It was a tough year for Mark S. A professional whose career has spanned 25 years, Mark received his first layoff. And while he was familiar with best practices for writing a resume and job searching, at least in name, when actually confronted with the prospect of initiating a job search, he realized that there was a gap between knowledge and action. His former employer offered him outplacement through a traditional outplacement provider, but he felt that the resume critique offered only cursory guidance, which he could have gotten online from any free resource, and the coaching and job leads were sub-par. He was concerned about his commute and most of the job leads he received did not take his concerns into account.

The Results
The Resume Writer worked with Mark to highlight his accomplishments and pare down the four-page document to a hard-hitting two pages. Moreover, Mark was excited to share his preferences about his desired commute with his Job Concierge. As a result, the quality and desirability of his job leads improved. In 30 days after beginning to work with RiseSmart, Mark landed a new job—one that took his commute down from over an hour to less than 30 minutes. Not only was Mark able to follow up on jobs while out of the country on a vacation, he also returned to two job offers, one of which he worked with his coach to negotiate and close.

2: Customer Success Story: Fortune 500 Manufacturing Company

The Challenge
This global manufacturer needed a flexible, custom plan for retaining talent, even in the face of workforce reduction, because, while one division might be letting talent go, another division might still be hiring. In order to save on recruitment, severance and unemployment tax, as well as retain talent whose skills and culture already proved a fit, the company needed to engage the services of an outplacement services provider that could tailor an “in-placement,” or redeployment, program to meet the company’s needs.

The Results
Successfully transitioning from its previous outplacement provider, this company worked with
RiseSmart to implement a customized in-placement/outplacement program that helps impacted employees discover and interview for opportunities within the organization during the first 90 days after a layoff and externally thereafter. Through RiseSmart, each impacted employee is assigned a Transition Coach with industry experience to prepare employees for both internal and external interviews, a Certified Resume Writer to create a resume that will appeal to internally- and industry-related positions, a job sourcer for uncovering relevant opportunities and an online portal for accessing customized career content. The time to land for redeployed talent was 78% faster than the national average and for out placed talent was 66% faster than the national average.

What RiseSmart’s Client Say
“When you look at the benefits to the company, RiseSmart reduces the financial burden, reduces liability, and is hugely engaging to the employee.” – Corporate HR Manager of a Fortune 500 Manufacturing company

“RiseSmart rose above and beyond my experience with another agency, starting with the resume writing services. Definitely the quality of the leads that I received, that was just fantastic, and their ability to listen to what I was looking for and really partner on that search. Every week I had a new list of companies that were viable options for me, really. Lastly, that proactive contact that I had with my coach. Those things really stand out to me.” – Mark S, Senior Software Manager of a premium software company

RiseSmart at a Glance
Founding year: 2007
Office Locations: San Jose, CA, United States; Pune, India; Toronto, Canada
Investors: Independent operating unit
Competitors: Adecco/Lee Hecht Harrison, Manpower/Right Management
Client territory: All business verticals. In September 2015, RiseSmart was acquired by Randstad

Meet the Catalyst

Sanjay Sathe, President and CEO: After going through a layoff himself, Sanjay Sathe founded RiseSmart, an outplacement services firm, to ensure that the process of undergoing a career transition was better for future job seekers. His premise in founding the company was to deliver higher quality career transition services via cutting edge, proprietary technology to forward-thinking and compassionate employers who wanted their employees to land the right new jobs fast. From humble beginnings to an impressive roster of Fortune customers and backing from major venture capital investors in Silicon Valley, RiseSmart, now the nation’s fastest-growing outplacement firm, was led by Sathe as CEO and President from startup to acquisition for $100M by Randstad, a $23 Billion leader in global HR services. He has specialized in product marketing, CRM, loyalty programs, branding, marketing communications, public relations and strategic alliance initiatives for companies in information management, telecom, banking, airline and technology.

Sanjay served as vice president for enterprise data management (now called Big Data) for Sabre Holdings, the parent company of Travelocity and a $2.5 billion global leader in travel commerce. Before Sabre, Sanjay was senior vice president of marketing for Brierley & Partners, a CRM and loyalty management company that serves global brands such as Hilton Honors, Hertz #1 Club Gold, Sony and Nokia, where he led the efforts for launching Star Alliance’s Frequent Flyer offering globally. He also worked as a Marketing leader in Asia and at the European Headquarters with Lufthansa and earlier in Asia with HSBC and other major corporations. Sanjay holds a Master of Business Management degree from the Asian Institute of Management in Manila, Philippines and has completed an executive education program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

RiseSmart was founded based on Sanjay Sathe’s personal experience with outplacement services: after he was laid off from his former company, he was offered outplacement with a traditional career transition services provider. The experience was less than exemplary and Sanjay recognized that there was an area of opportunity for serious disruption of a stagnating industry. Therefore, he set out to build a forward-thinking outplacement company built on a foundation of technology and all-encompassing services, meant to help today’s job seeker land the right new job, fast.

“RiseSmart was founded to “disrupt” and reinvent the industry through technology coupled with the right mix of services.”