Why You Should Hire Ex-Employees


Remember when one of your employees decided to leave? You felt bad and you wanted that person to stay and continue with their amazing work.

For whatever reason, that person decided to leave considering it was for the best. You shouldn’t feel betrayed or resentful. It’s just how life works. But what happens when a particular employee wants to join your company for a second time? Do you hire that person on the spot or do you prefer to look for someone else?

The people that want to return in a company fall in the “boomerang” category. So why would you hire them back and wait for them with open arms?

Simple! They already know how your company runs which provides them with a great advantage. They may already know their co-workers and have a personal connection with them. The office environment may even be better if you come to think about it.

I decided to touch upon this subject given LeBron James’ decision to return home to Cleveland and leave Miami behind. This is a notable decision and not only when it translates to basketball but also when we’re talking about the hiring principle.

According to a recent study conducted by Brad Harris, a professor at the University of Illinois, states that former employees that decide to return to a company often are the best hires you can get.

Moreover, the study which will appear in the summer issue of Personnel Psychology, found that the “boomerang” employees come with a lesser degree of risk and also more likely to commit to the company.

They already have a solid grasp of the “organizational culture of the company” and are now aware that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

Countless accountants, soldiers and even basketball players and others took part in the study. This allowed Harris to determine that the employees that left did so because of personal reasons rather than dissatisfaction with the job.

The study found that other reasons such as pregnancy, spousal relocation or an unexpected job offer were the ones “to blame”. In addition, the employer who did not want that employee to leave in the first place, usually recruited former colleagues or people who have a solid understanding of the company and organizational culture. By doing this they avoid turnover, which may prove to be more costly than you might think.

Harris warns that not all boomerangs are created equal. The study also found that the re-employment performance is strongly connected with how the things were left off in the first place and how well that employee performed during his or her first run. Another important aspect was how well an employee was performing at his or her present job.

Last but not least, not only can re-hires understand the organizational culture way better, they already know what will be expected of them.

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