Add Boomerang Employees to Your Recruiting Strategy

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Today’s post is by Sharlyn Lauby and originally posted on HR Bartender

One of the most obvious sources for talent are boomerang employees. These are individuals who used to work for the organization and come back. In some places, they might be called rehires.

Unfortunately, companies don’t tap into this resource nearly enough. Over the years, I’ve worked for companies that placed a great emphasis on rehired or boomerang employees. We even dedicated time and resources to having a strategy that would encourage boomerangs. There are several reasons why:

The company knows them. Boomerang employees have a history of proven skills with the organization. Their strengths are known. Their accomplishments are recorded on performance appraisals. Their personality and demeanor are remembered by co-workers and management.

They might have increased skills and experience. Consider this: While that former employee hasn’t been working for you, they’ve been gaining knowledge and experience that they could never get with your organization. They bring a new perspective. That has value.

They know the company. Every organization has their unique quirks and flaws. Guess what? Chances are this former employee knows them. And if they’re talking with you about coming back, chances are they can live with them.

One other thing to remember. Former employees know other potential candidates (and customers!) Even if a former employee isn’t ready or willing to discuss coming back, that doesn’t mean they can’t be a raving fan of your company. It doesn’t mean they can’t share your job openings with friends who would be a good fit. Or refer potential customers about the company’s product or service.

So how do you create an environment that encourages rehires, boomerang employees and referrals? Here are three strategies to consider:

#1 – Treat exiting employees with respect. I know it sounds obvious but when employees resign, wish them well. Even if you and the employee don’t exactly get along. Even when they resign at the worst possible time. Take the high road, even if the employee mentions a few complaints in their exit interview.

Boomerang employees don’t have to return to the same job with the same boss. They don’t have to return to the same status (i.e. a full-time employee might come back part-time.) It’s possible the employee would be a perfect fit in another department. It’s also possible the employee has learned how good they had it when they were working with you.

#2 – Have a defined off boarding process. Part of giving employees respect is providing a consistent off boarding process. Make sure the employee gets information about COBRA, final paychecks, etc. Encourage them to participate in an exit interview. Maybe create an alumni network for former employees to get information.

Off boarding is the last impression the employee has of the company. It’s an opportunity. Do you want it to be efficient, effective and thoughtful OR inconsistent, disorganized and incomplete?

#3 – Allow former employees to stay in touch. Just because an employee doesn’t work for the organization anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them. I know, this sounds like another obvious remark but I know employers that view former employees as being “against” them.

Depending upon the situation, former employees might be willing to do some freelance work for the company. It’s a great way for them to stay in touch. It’s also possible you will run into them during professional association or industry events. And of course, you can connect with them on social media.

Former employees can be great future employees. Organizations need to include them in their recruiting strategy. And in their recruiting technology strategy. This doesn’t have to be a burdensome activity. Use your onboarding solution to boomerang those employees back to your organization.

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