When I was working as the head of HR for an overnight delivery service, hiring back a former employee (also known as boomerangs) was prohibited. The owners viewed giving your notice as disloyalty.
Some companies still have policies that prohibit former employees from being rehired, which is a big mistake, given the labor shortage.
Re-recruiting is the most powerful undiscovered way for effectively staffing an organization.
A whopping 61% of people reported that their new job wasn’t what was promised. Therefore, attempting to bring top talent that has recently left back into the fold makes perfect sense.
My best clients use this tactic to bring former employees back into the fold. They text or call a recently departed employee that they’d like to rehire and ask the following question.
“How are you doing?”
I suggest they listen for signs that this person may have buyer’s remorse. If they sense this person isn’t delighted where they are, my clients discuss the possibility of having them return to the organization.
If the former employee is happy, my clients will make a note to follow up in three months and then around review time.
This approach has amazing results. Here’s why.
72% of boomerangs would return if the opportunity arose (ExitCheck.com), and 23% regret having left (GoBankingRates.com)!
But here’s the thing. Employees who have left need to be asked to return and told how returning could build their careers.
Unfortunately, many people responsible for hiring are not aware of the high rate of unhappiness during the first 90 days of a person’s new job.
Prioritizing Boomerang Hires
There are many reasons why you should make Boomerang hiring a priority. Here are seven.
- It will take significantly less time to bring a Boomerang hire up to speed than a new hire. These people are already familiar with your culture and have a clear understanding of how to get things done in your organization.
- Those who return will share their journey with their co-workers and let them know the grass on the other side is not as green as they thought. Their peers will think twice before jumping ship.
- Boomerang hires may return with inside knowledge about how your competitors are doing things or may have gained additional skills that they didn’t have while in your employ.
- They have a low failure rate. Since you’re only bringing back top performers, you can be assured they’ll continue to excel.
- The time to hire is extremely short. You know what they’re capable of, and they know what your company is all about. A worthy offer to return will most likely be accepted, significantly reducing the time a position remains vacant.
- Boomerang talent will bring new hires with them. If they’re not happy with their current employer, chances are others are not as well. When they come back to you, they’ll provide you with a direct line to a new hiring source.
- Their return will have a positive impact on your employer brand. In some industries, everyone knows everyone. Talk of people returning to your organization will shine the light on your company and get others to follow.
Designing a Successful Boomerang Program
The key to success for any program is consistency. Here are steps to help you get started.
- Limit your efforts to only top performers. The goal here is not to hire everyone back. You want only the best people to return to your organization.
- Start the process the moment the person gives notice. Let them know they are welcome to return. Ask permission to stay in touch with them after they leave.
- Do your best to find out what their offer entailed so you can begin to craft your strategy to win them back.
- Involve team members. Offer re-recruiting bonuses to anyone who successfully convinces a top employee to return.
- Keep former employees on the invite list for company events. Some will attend and realize how much they miss their former co-workers.
- Keep track of the number of returning employees so you can use this information when trying to re-recruit others.
- Help your managers understand that departing employees are not disloyal and should be welcomed back with open arms.
Of course, the best re-recruiting efforts involve preventing an employee from leaving in the first place. Woo your employees every day so that the thought of leaving never becomes an option.
Your assignment: Put together a list of top performers who have left your organization within the past six months. Reach out to at least two of these people this week and ask them how they’re doing. Make a note on your calendar when you’ll follow up again and do so. Email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com and let me know how your efforts are paying off.
As always, I’m here if you need me. I get that you have a lot on your plate and that some of you are feeling overextended, as you try to fill vacant positions. Feel free to schedule a call with me to discuss ways I can be of help.
© Matuson Consulting, 2022.