‘A strict no-return policy for us and we don’t believe in boomerang hires’, quoted the top executive of a giant company. ‘Once gone, we don’t need them again; and we will surely get a better resource. No exceptions granted.’
We often see a lot of top leaders practicing such policy with no thinking back. Practically, companies refrain from hiring a boomerang due to the fear of ripple effect that this strategy may bring to the organization’s culture. However, if the ex-employee was truly one of the best fit and has contributed immensely to the organization in all good sense, then welcoming her or him back with an open arm is the best TA strategy for any organization. Set aside your ego and unnecessary apprehensions if you are convinced about the employee’s competency to fulfill the given role. Let her/him come back with a more diverse learning and greater experience. Steve Jobs too was amongst a boomerang employee. Who would not want such comeback kids to return home?
Companies like Kronos encourage former employees to apply via their career site, ‘Boomerang back to Kronos. If your ideal career opportunity knocks twice at Kronos, we invite you to answer the door.’ They are smart enough to openly welcome high-performing former employees to rejoin our workforce. Moreover, rehiring is really necessary these days when we all are juggling with the war for talent. Let us validate the critical strong and logical reason on why keeping such doors open is important and see what all benefit it brings to your table as a whole.
Time, Effort and Cost saving
The TA strategy of rehiring people brings solid value to the table. It is much more than just saving the hiring cost. It is much easier in terms of effort and time saving when it comes to on boarding and training them than any other new employee. Moreover, boomerang employees upon return boosts team’s morale with increased loyalty that adds to build up the culture. Ashu Goswami, AGM Talent Management from V-Mart Retail views rehiring as ‘a smart recruitment strategy.’ She further states that ‘Recruiters are always on the lookout for finding new ways and means to identify, attract and retain talent. Hiring a former employee is a great way to bring talent into the workplace that knows the business, culture, the team and the environment. Hence organizations must aim at developing a robust and strong rehire policy, providing clear guidelines for rehire.’
Many leading multinational companies are increasingly leveraging their alumni strength to fill current crucial vacancies. They strongly believe that the rehired employee values the company more in her/ his second stint and their contributions are generally enhanced. Not only they understand the context of their previous employer but now also can bring in competitive intelligence acquired from the market through their latest experiences. Steve Jobs was a much better leader when he was welcomed the second time in the company.
Also, the impact that is set and propagated when your ‘top performer’ or the so called rockstar returns is manifold. It is a powerful signal to others that you have a great employee culture and the grass is not always greener on the other side. Hence, it propels a better brand equity with increased employee loyalty and reduced attrition.
So, what are the presumed bottlenecks?
So far we have seen that along with value addition; familiarity with the culture, easier training, and faster ramp up to high level performance benefit both the rehired employee and the organization. However, you are still concerned that your rehire may set a bad precedent or may create a culture wherein employees are eager to leave as they have a fall back option? Or maybe you are worried that the person will likely jump the ship again at the next good opportunity. So, here are the three most important questions that you need to find an answer before deriving the benefit from boomerang employees.
Seek answers to these Critical questions first!
- Question 1 - Has the employee been the best fit for the role in his first stint?
- Question 2 - Are you are taking the decision to rehire as a quick fix solution?
- Question 3 - How will the team react to this rehire?
Dwaipayan Guha, currently heading the Human Resources function of JWIL INFRA LIMITED states that ‘Rehiring ex-employees has significant benefit to organizations. The re-hired candidate is already a ‘known devil’ to the organization since the organization is aware of the employee's performance, potential and his strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the learning curve, which otherwise vary from 3 to 6 months for a new employee, is reduced significantly, since the employee is already aware of the systems, processes, culture and people of the organization. However, re-hiring ex-employees need to be done very selectively and strategically. The optics of hiring ex-employee at higher salary or position than their peers, when they had left the organization, can be quite demoralizing for others who stayed in the organization.’
Hence, you need to consider the impact each hire has on company’s culture. If you are not clear on your answers then try to spend more time with the candidate until you have a definitive answer. Always remember, that these are crucial strategies and the decisions have to be balanced with the internal equity of the culture.