5 Reasons to Rehire Former Employees

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It’s not uncommon for organizations to have a policy against rehiring former employees. This sort of policy makes perfect sense in regards to troublemakers, poor performers, or others who left under a dark cloud. It’s also understandable given that companies invest a lot of money training and developing their people, and employees who go elsewhere take that investment with them, sometimes to a competitor.

But times have changed, and expectations about rehiring former employees who quit with them. Few employers these days expect employees to stick around for many years. In fact, the median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years. Workers in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest at 5.5 years. Most know that employees will move between employers multiple times over the course of their career (even baby boomers clock in at over 11 job hops, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and that many of them will even change careers entirely, some more than once.

Who knows your client’s organization the best? Likely, your #FormerEmployees. @RealThinkHR explains why they may be their best new hire: Click To Tweet

It’s not that workers today are disloyal or non-committal. The culture of the overall job market has redefined expectations around these concepts. A loyal, committed employee isn’t likely to reveal trade secrets to a competitor or publicly badmouth their employer. Still, they may intend to further their career with a different company at some point in the not-so-distant future.

With the average occupational change netting a roughly 3% raise, many employees who leave for another job simply want to increase their take-home pay. Loyalty and commitment have more to do with what the employee does for their employer presently — not what they will do for them indefinitely.

The overall culture of employment has changed; individual organizations have updated their own culture to align with these new expectations. Not only are companies allowing eligible former employees to apply, some employers even encourage it!

Here are five big reasons why your clients might consider doing the same:

1. Former employees already know your client’s organization. 

They’re familiar with the operating procedures, the rules and traditions of your client’s culture, and the people with whom they worked previously. Consequently, it takes less time for them to acclimate to the work environment. Your clients can usually onboard them more easily and train them more quickly, filling the position at a fraction of the cost.

2. They have new knowledge.

Often, former employees return with additional knowledge, skills, and abilities. Sure, they took their employer’s investment in them to another workplace, but they’re coming back to your client with that other employer’s investment, which your client can now leverage.

3. It shows your client values their people.

Communicating that former employees are welcome back highlights the fact that people like working for your client and see their organization as the place they’d like to be, even if they have other options.

4. It creates trust. 

Prospective candidates and current employees understand that your client doesn’t see them as a potential threat to the organization that needs to be deterred from leaving. Instead, your client shows them that they trust their people and that your client’s interest in their lives and careers extends beyond the timeframe of their employment. That reciprocal trust makes the employment relationship much more productive, rewarding, and enjoyable.

5. It keeps you competitive.

Your client’s competitors are likely open to rehiring their high performing former employees. If those competitors are competing with your clients for workers, your clients don’t want to unnecessarily limit their pool of strong candidates. That puts them at a disadvantage.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to have a policy against #rehiring former employees. But this could be a disadvantage. @RealThinkHR explains: Click To Tweet

Even with these 5 benefits, a former employee may not be the best candidate for the position. In some cases, what a new employee brings to the table outweighs what the former employee offers, and the new employee is clearly the better bet.

In other cases, however, the former employee is the smart hire, and ruling them out because they once quit would be a mistake. Boomerang employees may not always be worth rehiring, but they’re often worth considering.

As your clients make HR decisions, they need more than a gut feeling to make the best choices for their organization. The solution is knowledge-based HR and Compliance resources from those with years of experience. Book a consultation today and get access to ThinkHR’s comprehensive course library so you’re prepared to answer questions about your clients’ unique needs.

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is an HR certified professional author, editor, and researcher specializing in workplace culture, retention strategies, and the employee experience. He has previously worked with book publishers, educational institutions, magazines, news and opinion websites, nationally-known business leaders, and non-profit organizations. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, The Week, and elsewhere.

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