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Nov 14, 2014

Employees quit their jobs for various reasons — career advancement, higher salaries, increased benefits, better commute and more opportunities.

And you know what they say: the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and sometimes you’ll find an employee that wants to come back “home.”

As an employer, you have to decide whether or not you want to rehire this “boomerang employee.” There are certainly advantages to rehiring  a former worker, but there are disadvantages to consider as well.

One boomerang’s experience

I am a perfect example of a boomerang employee gone right.

In 2010, I left Genesis HR Solutions to pursue an exciting opportunity with a friend who owned a business. I left on great terms, and made sure they knew I was leaving because of an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse.

They were very supportive at the time which made the transition great. The new opportunity was fantastic. I was able to work with an amazing company, help them grow, and learn a lot along the way. Fast forward three plus years later and I was ready for a new challenge; I just didn’t realize that the right opportunity would be back with Genesis HR Solutions again.

Coming back has been a great experience. I was able to hit the ground running, and we both learned a lot and changed in some positive ways while I was gone. It’s not always the right move to bring an employee back though. There are certainly some advantages, but also some potential issues to face.

There are some big pluses …

Some of the advantages include:

  • Minimal retraining – One of the biggest costs to turnover is onboarding and training. Companies invest a lot in training new hires, and it can take a while before a new employee is 100 percent productive. Rehiring an employee can be much more turnkey and less expensive.
  • Familiarity with the company’s culture – Culture is so important to the success or failure in an employment relationship. A new hire typically knows exactly what they’re getting (and vice versa) from a culture standpoint. There will be little fear of a culture clash.
  • New perspective – Both the employee and employer will most likely have grown and changed in some ways while apart. The employee could become a valuable source of fresh ideas.
  • Boost in employee morale – This will depend on the situation of course, but chances are some folks in your organization weren’t happy when this employee left and will be thrilled to have them back. I think it says a lot about the company as well – being able to forget the past in some ways and move forward.

.. but some potential negatives, too

Some potential issues include:

  • Backlash from other employees – Maybe the team was actually happy to see this employee depart. It’s critical to get the pulse of your key players before bringing an employee back.
  • Questionable loyalty – If they left once, they could leave again. It’s important to know why they left and evaluate whether those same circumstances could occur again in the near future.
  • There is a reason they left (or were asked to leave) – Was there an issue that caused them to leave (theirs or the company’s)? Did they change their ways? Did the company. If the employees was terminated for performance issues maybe it’s best not to rehire them.

Employees tend to move from job to job more than ever these days. If an employee gives their notice (or you need to terminate them), it’s important to be professional in their departure. You never know, they could be your co-worker again before you know it!

This was originally published on the Genesis HR Solutions blog.

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