Rehiring tips: Welcoming back boomerang employees

By Robert Half on 11th September 2016

With so many companies competing for skilled job candidates these days, you may sometimes wish you could master the art of rehiring of a few former employees who were great workers.

If so, you’re not alone. In recent Robert Half research, 83 per cent of HR managers said they would be open to boomerang employees than three years ago. With the UK gripped with ongoing skills shortages, HR managers are re-evaluating their available talent pipeline to include employees who have voluntarily left the organisation on good terms. HR managers understandably cite a successful track record, the correct cultural fit and reduced on-boarding costs as the most common factors influencing their decision to employ a boomeranger.

Sounds great, but rehiring may not be as easy as you think. Here are some ways to up the ante for successful rehiring:

Make the exit memorable

To keep the rehiring door open, you’ll need to make sure you treat exiting employees well. Too many organisations focus primarily on providing orientation for new employees and have little or no process in place when someone departs. Be sure to set up an exit interview and then listen — really listen — to your departing employee. The exit interview is also an excellent time to let valued employees know they’ll be welcomed back if they choose to return.

Find out how to carry out an effective exit interview

Promote an online alumni group

Create and maintain social networks that give employees a sense of lifelong connection with your organisation. More than simply enabling them to keep in touch, hosting a network on LinkedIn, Facebook or elsewhere can help communicate that your company is a vibrant place to work. If you don’t have one of these online alumni groups, now is the time to start one. If your organisation has had a group for a while, you’ll want to be sure it is still active and not languishing. You want your online image to reinforce the kind of memories that will bring boomerang employees back to you.

Focus on rehiring with a millennial mindset

Members of the millennial generation — the cohort born between 1978 and 1999 — often say they see career benefits of changing jobs. This preference and the changing job market mean that many millennials expect to have a variety of jobs throughout their careers. As an employer, you’ll have greater success landing boomerang workers in this age group if you focus on enhanced training, work challenges and flexibility (think work-life balance, telecommuting and remote working). The good news is that — thanks to their flexible mindset — many millennials may be more open than their older colleagues to being rehired.

Bringing back talented former employees is a worthy goal — one that can save you time and work in the long run. And the benefits don’t stop there. Even if not all the boomerang employees you target land back at your company, you’ll most likely get some promising new referrals as a result of your efforts.

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