Boomerang employees — how to get your old employee back
With the labour market stretched amid record employment, finding the right recruit for a position can be tough. But what if you don’t have to find the right recruit because you already know who it is?
Maybe there's someone who’s worked for you before; someone you know and trust to do the job; someone who has just the right mix of skills to step in and take the lead.
In short, a former employee could be just who you need. If someone’s left your business on good terms in the past year or two and you’d like them back, there’s no harm in asking them.
For a start, they’re a known quantity — you know their work history and what they bring to the business, as well as other ‘softer’ skills such as their attitude and cultural fit.
Cultural understanding counts
According to CCIWA Senior HR Consultant Kati Van Hofwegen, returning —or ‘boomerang’ — employees already know the ins, outs and nuances of your business and will understand what you need from them.
“Whether they’re returning to their old role or taking on a new role, they’re aware of your company’s culture and what your expectations will be,” Van Hofwegen explains.
“Even if you’ve hired them for a different role, there’s a much lower learning curve for boomerang employees because of their existing knowledge, making the transition easier from the start.
“Simply put, you already know who they are and what they can do — and that’s good from a risk management perspective.
“More than this, however, you can save a lot of time and money in trying to find the right person. There are all sorts of surveys and studies showing just how expensive and time-consuming it can be to recruit staff — if you can save perhaps 10 or 20 per cent of their salary cost by minimising the recruitment process, you’re in a much better position.”
How to recruit a former employee?
Unsurprisingly, the best way to recruit a former employee is to keep in touch with them, either socially or professionally.
“Catching up for a coffee even semi-regularly can give you a good idea about how they’re going in their current role,” Van Hofwegen says.
“If that’s not practical, you could send them a text message or call them; or if you don’t have their contact details any more, reach out to them on LinkedIn or through mutual contacts.
So if you have a position that needs filling and your think a former employee would be the perfect fit, all you have to do is reach out and see if they’re interested.
There’s a good chance they’ll be flattered you thought of them, and this can be helpful even if they weren’t actively looking for a new position.