Rehire Your Former Employees: Welcome The Right People Back
3 Strategic Reasons Why You Should Rehire People

Feedback is a gift,  so I say often, loudly and with emphasis. More specifically, SPECIFIC feedback, articulating both specific positive reinforcement and specific areas for improvement, is the gift that keeps on giving. For everyone who has read my new book and emailed to say they think I’m “certifiable” for advocating that organizations should not just reluctantly rehire, but aggressively seek to rehire their former employees, thank you.

Thank you for your concern – I’ve checked in with people who’d know and I can confirm that no, I’m not certifiable…at least not yet.  And, thank you for taking the time to write, as it provides a reason to reiterate my point.

Three Strategic Reasons You Should Rehire Former Employees

Rehire The Right Person At The Right Time

Of course I didn’t mean rehire everyone who ever worked for you willy nilly, regardless of what they’ve each accomplished or not. My point is that if you keep your mind open to rehiring a former employee who a) is perfect for an open position based on her cumulative experience b) left well the first time and c) wants to return, you can hire people who are more valuable to you than “never-evers” (as first time adult skiers are called). Why? Because they will become fully deployed and functional in less than a quarter of the time as a new new hire. You will gain at least six months of efficiency from a Boomerang employee – and that’s profit.

You Decide How Someone Becomes Eligible To Boomerang Back

No, just because someone wants to return does not mean you have to rehire them… ever or right away. Leaver’s remorse is more common than many want to acknowledge. At the same time, if someone who left your team is willing to reach back and acknowledge that they wish they had not left the company or gone to their current employer, at least take the time to listen. Then decide what that person would have to do to become eligible to be rehired.  

For example:

  1. Stay at the current position for at least one year: or until he’s gained enough valuable experience to make a definitive difference on your team; or
  2. Mend fences with current team members who were left holding the bag when he left without an appropriate amount of transition help; or
  3. Take a class that fills in the knowledge gap she has to be put into a different team.

You decide under what circumstances you will rehire someone.

Focus On The Positive

Yes, that person will probably leave again. So what? The key is to create the job and expectation that will allow your former employee to contribute positively for a minimum amount of time – or for the completion of one, two or three longer-term projects. As long as she will make a positive difference on the team, can be counted on — as demonstrated by her prior performance and behavior — to do the job well. The odds of her leaving again are probably no less than a new new hire leaving your team for the first time in the same timeframe.

Make It Easier On Yourself

When we declare that former employees are not eligible – ever – to be rehired, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. By definition, this attitude narrows our pool of possibilities. And, even in down markets, organizations need the highest number of great potential employees possible to stay competitive, attractive to current and potential employees, and to create sustainable businesses.  

Frankly, if you’re not considering rehiring or if your company policy does not allow you to rehire, then you’re working way too hard to recruit for any open position.

I hope that feedback helps you, as much as it helped me.