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Boomerang employees: the importance of welcoming back former employees with open arms

Today, more and more companies are experiencing the many benefits associated with hiring a ‘boomerang’ employee; rehiring someone who has previously worked for the company but who then decided to leave. What was once a very much taboo act is now a growing recruitment trend, sweeping the industry as the vast number of advantages this type of recruitment can yield are becoming more widely known and appreciated. It is likely that the candidate-driven market we are experiencing today has caused a shift in thinking from both an employer’s and an employee’s perspective; employers are aware that talent is in high demand and it is therefore much harder to find suitable candidates for specific roles, whilst employees are very much in the driving seat with regards to the recruitment process and can therefore afford to be selective over their future employer. An increase in the use of social media sites, especially for professional connections, may have also played a part. A brilliant example of this is LinkedIn; a site which makes it very easy to stay in touch with all your former employers and colleagues, with just the click of a button.

Research from Work Place trends has revealed that employers are growing increasingly more open to the idea of workers returning to previous jobs. According to the study, these “boomerang employees” are starting to create some serious competition for job seekers. From a business perspective, it is a very intelligent form of recruitment for companies to utilise. Employee turnover can be a huge drain on a company’s bottom line ultimately costing the business time, productivity and money; therefore, hiring someone who has previously worked for the company and thus is unlikely to leave in the near future is a smart move, especially as they will require little time and money spent on training.

Faster on-boarding is another key benefit of hiring a boomerang employee. On-boarding can be an extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive process which can eat into other employees work load and in turn, productivity levels. Rehiring a former employee who has already been put through company training and has learnt all the necessary skills for the job will be able to start working straight away, with only a quick debrief needed to refresh their memory.

Hiring a former employee will also allow for a streamlined re-entry back into the workplace. The organisation will already know the employee and can thus be assured they will fit culturally with the company in question and their personality will be well-suited to their other employees. Knowing this will help to minimise any potential problems that could arise and will ensure the on-boarding process goes as smoothly as possible.

Avoiding unnecessary and often expensive recruiter fees is another benefit, especially in today’s competitive marketplace. If a previous employee who performed well and left for appropriate reasons, such as to develop new skills or to deepen their knowledge, is interested in returning, it will help bypass a potentially complex and costly recruitment process. As business owners and hiring managers, it is important to always leave the door open for people to go out in order to give them the freedom to develop in ways they may not have been able to whilst with you. If/when they return, the company will definitely have benefited from the time an employee had off to do what they needed to do.

Whilst it is clear not all previous employees will make good re-hires, especially those who have been fired or left under similar circumstances, rehiring many former employees who have consistently performed well could make great business sense for all parties involved. Because of this, many companies would benefit from using a strategy to encourage their best employees to return should they decide to leave. The strategy should involve ensuring that when valuable members of staff leave they are told they are welcome back in the future, they should be given a great reference and they should be encouraged to keep in contact, both in person and via social media. Ultimately, talented and valuable employees are hard to come by, especially in the current marketplace so when a company finds talent, they should hire them and retain them; if/when the individual decides to leave, they just need to make sure they let them know that the door is always open and they will always be welcomed back.

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