What To Do When A Boomerang Employee Comes Back To You
Employee attrition is an unavoidable component of Human Resource Management; while there are typically strategies and practices in place to retain employees and avoid high volumes of turnover, it is inevitable that employees will leave the organization. In consideration of all of the time, money and resources invested in employees in the form of training, compensation and fringe benefits, losing employees due to voluntary termination can be extremely costly. If the employee happens to be a high performer, your organization’s productivity and in some cases viability may be at stake after his or her departure.
Historically HR and management professionals were less likely to consider employees that had left their organization for re-employment. However, based on a national survey it was found that more than 75% of HR professionals held more favorable sentiments towards boomerang employees than previously. The same survey indicated that 40% of employees would consider returning to a former employer at some point in their career. While there are several reasons about the shift of attitudes towards boomerang employees, it is evident that the job market is more receptive to the concept of leaving and returning to an organization. With all HR practices, there are pros and cons to consider related to re-hiring former employees.
Skill Set Development
Returning employees will not need extensive training and onboarding in comparison to a new hire; assuming that the individual is being re-hired to a role similar in scope and nature to the one that he or she left, the amount of time spent on building skill sets will be minimal. It is also highly likely that the individual acquired additional subject matter expertise during the time spent working for other organizations; therefore, he or she may return with skills that surpass those of others that have stayed onboard.
Time spent in other organizations also undoubtedly offers a fresh perspective and insight into other ways of accomplishing things. While most organizations strive to remain innovative and dynamic, often times there are elements of processes that are stale and stagnant. Leveraging some of the knowledge of best practices that the re-hire has acquired may result in significant impacts on the company’s bottom line.
Insight into External Trends
Along with a fresh perspective, re-hires offer valuable information regarding external trends, norms and best practices. If the boomerang employee has had opportunities to learn about the strategies and initiatives of competitors, industry leaders, or both it is highly likely that some of those principles will be applied upon his or her return to your organization. The individual may have also formed relationships, connections and partnerships that can potentially benefit your organization. While there are standards of ethics and confidentiality to which organizations must adhere, there are certainly skills and knowledge that can be transferred without any conflicts of interest.
Knowledge of Organizational Norms
At the core of any stable company are core values, a mission statement or cultural norms of some kind. Depending upon the company and industry, the impact of these norms can greatly affect productivity and viability. Re-hires will be well-versed with the organizational climate, saving time and resources that would have to be expended acquainting a new hire with the culture.
Changes to Organization and Industry
Depending upon the duration of the boomerang employee’s time away from your company, there could have been some significant changes in the organization, industry, or both. New systems, processes, strategies, or even leadership shifts can change the manner in which the company operates. One of the key advantages of re-hiring an employee is the projected time that will be saved on training, however if there have been several changes HR and management may need to spend as much if not more time with the re-hire.
Unresolved Performance Issues
In the interest of the organization, it is strongly recommended that only former employees with positive performance history are considered for re-employment. If it has been determined that minor performance issues or concerns were documented before the individual left the company, directly address these areas. It is highly inefficient to re-engage a problem employee, so ensure that all pertinent due diligence is carried out to fully understand the scope of the challenge and understand if resolving it is feasible.
Refer back to exit interview documentation to better understand all of the reasons why the employee left the organization originally. Then, consider the company’s goals and perspectives- if loyalty and tenure are in fact important ask the re-hire about his or her intentions moving forward. Explicitly indicate the company’s stance on bringing terminated employees back onboard and emphasize the fact that tenure is important. However, if the company is focused on short term impacts and the knowledge that the individual will bring back to it you will still need to carefully assess the individual’s intentions. Gain insight into whether or not company-hopping and sharing information amongst competitors is a part of this employee’s strategy to move forward in his or her career before extending an offer of re-employment.
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