There is possibly no recruitment method more cost- or time-efficient than re-staffing reliable former employees. According to a 2009 Career Builder survey of 2,924 hiring managers, 26% of employers who had laid people off in recent years were planning on bringing some of those layoff casualties back. Alumni or “boomerang” employees are those “who work for an organization, leave for whatever reason, and return at a later date.” How would you evaluate the case for rehiring senior managers?
Brad Harris, Ph. D., assistant professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, gives reasons why companies should embrace boomerang employees:
- Comfort level: Employers already know these candidates, so the onboarding process is a lot quicker for them. Moreover, they are already familiar with the company culture, which makes them less risky hires.
- They’ve added new skills: A returning employee usually always brings something new to the table, whether it’s new skills, different experiences, or connections they’ve made while outside the organization.
- They’re more committed: Even if the employee left to explore other options, an employee who wants to return is likely more committed the second time.
Having said that, rehires should be given as much thought and consideration as external hires. Says Dr. John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University, “You don’t ask everyone back. You ask the top performers.”
Is the case of rehiring senior managers strong?
- Is this person the best candidate for the job?: It is important not to make a decision to rehire because it appears to be a quick fix for you.
- What will this person bring to the job?: An employer should consider what a candidate has been doing since leaving, and how his/her experience will be beneficial to the firm.
- Remember why the employee left in the first place: It is worthwhile to review the candidate’s personnel file to make sure that there’s no history to be concerned about bringing them back to the firm. Such history could include whether or not someone left in good standing and if someone was terminated for a cause.
- How will the team react to this rehire?: Ask for references from people within the company who worked closely with the candidate before. Also, company culture changes with time. It is important to reassess whether this person’s values will align with that of the organization.
The company can take further steps to encourage rehiring of its former employees:
- They should invest some time to periodically sift through their list of former employees to pick out potential rehires.
- In some cases, people could be brought back for a trial period or as consultants.
- The company could also form an alumni network where a database of all its former employees is maintained. Connecting on LinkedIn or starting a Facebook group is a great way to keep alumni updated on company news and job openings.
- They could even create a website which former employees can access, having a searchable database where each individual’s experiences and skillsets can be logged.
- The company could also periodically organize and advertise alumni events and parties to help get some face time with targeted individuals.
- One of the most common reasons people leave a company is because of a manager they disliked. If that’s the case, consider placing the alumni in a different department.
Finally, once the rehiring process is complete, the company should celebrate the employee’s return by spotlighting them on their alumni website, or sending a mass email to the company explaining where this person has been and what he or she will be doing now. This will help build greater loyalty from employees, as they would want to work for a company that really values them.