Boomerang Employees

Sometimes, the grass is not always greener on the other side for employees, or sometimes, companies are trying to get back their best employee back on the payroll again.

There are benefits and drawbacks to hiring back employees, sometimes called boomerang employees. Hiring a boomerang employee could save you time and money for training, and these employees are also valuable to an organization because they understand the company culture and can bring a fresh perspective from the outside.

During their absence, boomerang employees can learn new skills. But hiring boomerang employees is not cheap or easy. And not every employee who quit is a good candidate for being re-hired. Some people that were fired or forced out will not be the right fit for the company even after ten years.

The Employer Perspective

The potential benefits of rehiring a former employee typically outweigh the potential costs (hiring and training costs etc.). However, you still need to consider some pros and cons.

Rehiring Former Employees

Pros

Training

Rehiring previous employees helps cut training costs on minimum. You don’t have to train them all over again. They already know and understand the company culture and process. They are familiar with the team, so they will be a good team fit.

Costs

Rehiring previous employees also brings good a benefit in there being no recruiting costs. You don’t have to pay for a referral or agency fee. Also, you will save money that would be spent trying out a new employee and finding that they’re just not what they seemed to be. You already know the employee’s performance, their strengths, and weaknesses.

Team Morale

Rehired employees can have a positive effect on morale. Current employees will see that there is a possibility to come back if they leave, and they may appreciate this fact. Team members could also find out that the grass isn’t greener on the other side in other companies.

New Ideas and Processes

Rehired employees can bring new ideas or/and new process. Take advantage of the new skills they’ve gained from working somewhere else.

Loyalty to the Company

Former employees are going to stay in your company for a longer time. They’ve seen other businesses and worked with other people and other company processes. They become more appreciative of the company and the employers they work for, and they are grateful for second chance.

Cons

Time Effect

Your company has probably changed since the employee last worked there. There could be new problems that rehired employees are going to face. The whole culture of the company may have changed, which may not work for them, and they might not fit within the team again.

Returning Problems

Reasons the employee left in the first place may return, and this could affect the whole team. If an employee is simply coming back out of desperation because they need a job and left the company in the past because of a resignation or termination, they may still feel resentment.

Trustworthiness

Some employees may question the returning employee’s level of trustworthiness and loyalty, because they already left the company and team. It could take a time to rebuild relationships.

Reasons

Don’t rehire someone that you fired. If you did that once, you had a reason for that, and the problem could be still there. But it always depends on the reason; it’s your decision.

Create a Rehiring Strategy/Plan

You read the pros and cons, creating a rehire program within your HR department that will benefit your company and help you minimize the disadvantage of rehiring employees.

Start with the exit interviews, when your people are leaving you need to be ready with the plan, how rehiring is going to take place if you want to get your best people back. Always treat your people with respect, and if they are top performers, let them know that the doors are open and they can return.

If you would like to be sure that your top performers are going to come back one day, just keep in contact with them. Ask them for referrals, and from time to time, send them some emails about what is new in your company.

The Employee Perspective

You may think the grass is greener on the other side. But if you take the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green.” — Unknown

The grass is not a greener on the other side, and you start thinking of returning to a previous employer. Well, you’re not alone; more than 50% of people would consider returning to a previous employer.

Before re-joining your previous employer, just stop, take a deep breath, and take your time to consider your decision. You can have regrets about your career move, so don’t make an impulsive decision.

Ask yourself these three questions:

Why do you want to go back?
Will you get a better position, more money, or are you just struggling to find a new job and this is quickest and easiest option?

Are you ready to stay at least a couple of years?
You don’t want to look like a job hopper or look ungrateful, when you leave a company after six months to pursue new opportunity somewhere else. So are you ready to stay for few years?

Did you leave on good terms?
If you didn’t leave on good terms, it could be hard to get back. It could create a bad environment for you and your team.

Why Join the Previous Employer

  • You liked the job there and left because you wanted to try something new.
  • You had a good working relationship with that company and your team.
  • You will have a great career development opportunity there.

Why Not to Join the Previous Employer

  • You left because there were problems or processes that you didn‘t like and there is a possibility that they will reappear.
  • When you join, the team may feel uncomfortable because of your return. They could feel threatened, especially the person who overtook your position when you left.
  • Is your new boss somebody who you respect?

Thinking about Going Back?

So you’ve thought about it long and hard, right? And you think that this is the right step for your career? If the answer is yes, you need to still be sure about these things.

Test the Waters

Try to speak with your ex-colleagues if there is an interesting opportunity. If you have a good relationship with your ex-boss, try to call them and share your thoughts about returning back.

Are you eligible for rehiring?

You need to check with the HR department to know if you are still eligible for rehire. You can leave the company because of another opportunity, but maybe when you left, you did the company big favor. So check with HR to find out if you are even allowed to get re-hired.

Be ready for some disadvantages of your return.

Bonuses and other things could change, so be prepared, that you may not get the same benefit package as before and you could be disappointed, so don’t forget to discuss the whole benefit package before you re-join the company. You may also face resentment from your co-workers for various reasons and with some of them, you may need to build trust again.

Do your homework

If you are coming back after five years, try to get new information about the company, products, etc. You will need this information for your interview. Yes, there will be an interview; you won’t get a new job without meeting/interviewing with your new boss.

Note: It is important to not burn bridges when you are leaving. When you are leaving for the first time, don’t even think about not doing work during your notice period. Trust me, a notice period is the time that everybody (especially your boss) will remember what you did for the company and how you behaved. And this could be a plus when you are trying to get back. Try to keep in contact with your old company and team and try to maintain good relations at all times. Don’t gossip about your old company.

No matter how desperate you may be feeling, don’t take a job that’s a step backward. You will regret this later, and you will leave the company for the second time.

In case you never get a second chance, don’t be afraid! And what if you do get a second chance? You take it!” ― C. JoyBell C.
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