Thoughts on Rehiring Employees Who Left

by Jody Ordioni

Thoughts on Rehiring Employees Who Left

Employees tend to leave companies from time-to-time because some other opportunity might be more lucrative. However, there are times when you find that employees who have left wish to return to the company. The question facing the employers then is whether to hire those employees again or not?

Rehiring employees was not a normalized practice earlier, but the pool of talented employees is decreasing every day. Companies cannot afford to turn away talented employees, even if they had left the company earlier. Moreover, the norms have been changing and an average employee works with 12 different employers in their life now.

The growing tendency towards rehiring has interested many companies who believe that boomerang employees- those who are returning to their former workplaces- are a safer bet than fresh hires. They believe that they can potentially save on onboarding processes and the former employees would be more enthusiastic this time around. However, is it truly so?

Here are some points to consider when rehiring former employees:

Performance Levels

It is often observed that boomerang employees tend to perform at the same level that they did before they left the organization. Additionally, if they leave the company for the second time, the reason behind their decision remains the same as before. All in all, the behavior of boomerang employees remains predictable even during their second term at the organization.

Lower Retention Rates

It is generally observed that boomerang employees have lower retention rates. They are more likely to turn over, when compared to employees that have been hired, both internally or externally. If an employee has left the company once, there is a greater chance that they'll do it again.

Rate of Growth

The general pattern that has been observed within companies is that internal and external hires show a better graph of growth than rehired employees. Though in the first year of rejoining boomerang employees perform at the same level as internal and external hires, their performance tends to dip downwards afterward. Thus, in the long run, it is seen that rehired employees do not perform better.

Reasons for Leaving

Some employees leave for personal reasons, while others are terminated due to inadequate performance. But when these employees are rehired is there any substantial difference in their performances? Our studies have found that those employees who left for personal reasons tend to perform at the same levels as before. However, those employees who were terminated for inadequacy do not show much improvement in their performance. Though employers might feel a second chance can turn things around, it is not true when it comes to rehiring, much to our disappointment.

The question, then, is whether boomerang employees are worth hiring or not?

Our studies have indicated that rehiring boomerang employees does not necessarily give an advantage to businesses. Rather, they are more likely to turn over (at twice the rate) than other employees in the company. Though employees who left for personal reasons tend to maintain their performance levels, none of the boomerang employees in our study could outperform internal and external hires. The only upside to this is the onboarding procedure becoming relatively easier, in case boomerang employees are hired by the company. These metrics should be considered before deciding to rehire a former employee.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is not necessary to follow every rising trend in the market. Organizations should consider their goals and objectives to decide whether they wish to rehire former employees. If your priorities are lower training costs and short-term performance, then rehiring employees can fulfill your purpose.

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