While some people would never dream of returning to work for a former employer, it is actually becoming more common. Research from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. and WorkplaceTrends.com indicates that workers are open to reapplying for a position at a company they once worked for, and the majority of these employers would welcome them back with open arms. The question is if hiring a boomerang employee is the right choice for your business.
Regardless of how either party felt upon the employee’s resignation, there are a few clear advantages to hiring someone who previously worked for you. Human resources and recruiting directors from several successful companies share the advantages of hiring a former employee.
Advantages of Hiring a Former Employee
1. Knowledge of the company
Amber Hyatt, a certified senior professional in human resources (SPHR) and director of product marketing for HR software company SilkRoad, notes that the boomerang employee will already have some important pre-existing knowledge about your company.
“Hiring former employees means familiarity with your business,” Hyatt tells Business News Daily. “The mission, culture, values, players, training and organization structure are already in place. This familiarity lends itself to an expedited time to productivity, greatly benefiting the organization.”
“Since less time would need to be spent training on those areas, more focus can be put toward training for the new role, objectives and goals,” adds Judson Van Allen, director of recruiting at Computer Task Group.
2. Boosting morale
Boomerang employees can also boost morale among your existing staff members, says Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media.
“These employees can attest to the improvements in processes, quality of work and management from when they first worked here,” Lambert says.
3. Better performance
Hyatt agrees, noting that a returning staff member may also perform better than when he or she originally worked for you, since the person likely picked up new experiences, skills and perspectives during his or her time away.
Tips for Hiring a Former Employee
On the other hand, this person shouldn’t automatically get the job just because he or she worked for you before. Like any other candidate, boomerang employees need to go through the interview and onboarding process to make sure they’re the right fit for the job.
“Do not shortchange the interview process simply because the candidate is a known quantity,” Van Allen says. “The candidate should go through the same process as all other candidates. Also be sure to validate with HR that the candidate is eligible for rehire.”
You’ll also want to think about the circumstances under which the employee left to ensure that he or she is going to stay and grow within the organization this time around, Hyatt says.
“There are many reasons why people leave, including family responsibilities or relocation, or the desire to experience new challenges and grow new skills,” Hyatt says.
Hyatt suggested several questions that should be considered when evaluating a boomerang employee to ensure organizations are learning from past experiences.
- What was their performance like before they left?
- How did they exit the organization?
- Why did they leave the organization?
- Is the reason they left still a potential concern?
If you do ultimately decide to hire a boomerang candidate, Lambert advises employers to point out any major changes in policy and process that have been put in place since he or she last worked at the company.
Hyatt adds that you should also leverage the returning employee’s prior experience with the company as he or she adjusts to the new role.
“Especially in cases of a high performer, the organization has a tremendous opportunity to immediately build confidence in [that person’s] abilities with the new team, including how he or she has embraced the organizational culture and has been a brand ambassador,” Hyatt says. “A boomerang returning provides a real-life example to current employees that ‘the grass isn’t always greener’ elsewhere.”