Boomerang Employees: Should you rehire?
In 2015, the Workforce Institute at Kronos released a study entitled ‘The Corporate Culture and Boomerang Employee Study’. The study revealed that ‘85 percent of HR professionals say they have received job applications from former employees, and 40 percent say their organization hired about half of those former employees who applied.’ In 2017, the debate around whether or not an organisation should re-hire former employees is still a hot topic, and many organisations have now reversed their Human Resources guidelines that instructed teams to refrain from rehiring ex-employees.
It would seem that the tide continues to turn in favour of rehiring previous employees, and is now becoming an area for consideration by HR teams worldwide. With that in mind, what are the positives and negatives of boomerang employees?
POSITIVE: Save money and time with faster on boarding
The candidate will already know what you do, they’ll already be familiar with the job role and what is expected of them so the onboarding process will be a lot faster and easier – saving you time and money! They will be able to hit the ground running and get up to speed a lot quicker than a new employee.
NEGATIVE: Your business has probably changed
When people leave an organisation, the dynamic of the corporate environment does change. Depending on the period of time since the departure, the company may have changed substantially since your new potential hire departed. There may have been a re-shuffle in terms of the hierarchy, new areas of key focus for the company and new procedures introduced. It’s important that your new hire is made aware of any changes before they return; as failure to do so can lead to issues further down the line.
POSITIVE: Boost office morale
Rehiring a former employee can be a great morale boost for your team – depending on the individual. Someone that has had a positive effect on the team, that was motivating to be around and had an infectious personality can be a fantastic asset and bringing them back into a team that is thriving can only help to benefit your organisation further.
NEGATIVE: Resentment in existing staff
Was the individual who left a popular member of staff or will their reinstatement cause resentment in the team? If the latter, it may be worth re-thinking the re-hire. This may be further fuelled if the individual subsequently gets promoted, either when returning or shortly afterwards. There is a risk of causing friction between existing staff members who will feel that their loyalty has been overlooked in favour of their boomerang colleague.
Your boomerang employee will no doubt be excited to return to your organisation, and grateful for the opportunity to re-join your team. As a result, they will definitely be very appreciative. From an employer perspective, it does ensure you will have a hardworking member of staff who will be enthusiastic about the work that is given to them.
NEGATIVE: Feelings of anger or betrayal
Though your returning employee is likely to be incredibly grateful for the opportunity to re-join your team, there may still be some resentment there from both sides. Did you employee leave on good terms? There was obviously a reason they chose to leave your organisation; and this issue may still exist within the business. In addition, that employee did leave you and your organisation in a state of chaos; as is the case when anyone leaves a business; so their previous team may still be feeling angry and betrayed by their departure. To then bring the boomerang employee back into the organisation could prove toxic for the working environment who are trying to adapt to working life without them.
POSITIVE: They already have relationships with your customers and/or vendors
Another key benefit relates to their relationship with your clients. Your boomerang employee will not need to grow a relationship with your customers and/or vendors as they would already have one existing. Depending on how long they have been away from your business, they may even be able to bring some new customers into your organisation from their previous role. With that in mind, this is a key area of benefit when considering employing a previous team member, as it reduces once again the ‘onboarding’ and time it’d take for an employee to get up to speed.
There are a lot of factors to consider when looking to re-hire a former employee. Given careful consideration, and reviewing them on a case-by-case basis is paramount, but in the right circumstances a boomerang employee can be a real asset to your business. Though not ideal for all, it is positive to see that HR Departments are embracing the benefits of re-hiring past members of staff.
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