Five Reasons to Rehire Former Employees

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Five Reasons to Rehire Former Employees

Picture of Dr. Patrick K. Collard

Dr. Patrick K. Collard

It’s not uncommon for organizations to have a policy against rehiring former employees. This policy makes perfect sense concerning troublemakers, poor performers, or others who left under a dark cloud. It’s also understandable, given that companies invest a lot of money in training and developing their people. Employees who go elsewhere take that investment, sometimes to a competitor.

But times have changed, and expectations with them. For example, few employers these days expect employees to stick around for many years. Instead, most know that employees will move between employers multiple times throughout their career and that many will even change careers entirely, some more than once.

It’s not that workers today are disloyal or uncommitted. However, the culture of the overall job market has redefined expectations around these concepts. A loyal, committed employee isn’t likely to reveal trade secrets to a competitor or publicly badmouth their employer. Still, they may intend to further their career with a different company at some point in the future. Loyalty and commitment have more to do with what the employee is doing for their employer presently—not what they will be doing indefinitely. 

As the overall employment culture has changed, individual organizations have updated their culture to align with these new expectations. As a result, companies allow eligible former employees to apply, and some employers encourage it! Here are five big reasons why you might consider doing the same:

  • Former employees already know your organization. They’re familiar with the operating procedures, the rules and traditions of your culture, and the people they worked with previously. Consequently, it takes less time for them to be acclimated to the work environment. As a result, you can usually onboard and train them more easily, filling the position at a fraction of the cost.
  • Often, former employees return with additional knowledge, skills, and abilities. Sure, they took your investment in them to another workplace, but they’re coming back to you with other employers’ investments, which your organization can leverage.
  • Communicating that you welcome back former employers highlights that people like working for you and see your organization as the place they’d like to be, even if they have other options. 
  • It creates trust. Prospective candidates and current employees understand that you don’t see them as a potential threat to the organization that needs to be deterred from leaving. Instead, you show them that you trust them and that your interest in their lives and careers extends beyond the time they work for you. That reciprocal trust makes the employment relationship much more productive, rewarding, and enjoyable.
  • Your competitors are likely to be open to rehiring their high-performing former employees. If you’re competing with them for workers, you don’t want to limit your pool of strong candidates unnecessarily. That puts you at a disadvantage. 

Even with these five benefits, a former employee may not be the best candidate for the rike. In some cases, what a new employee brings to the table outweighs what the former employee offers, and the new employee is the better option. In other cases, however, the former employee is the smart hire, and ruling them out because they once quit would be a mistake. Boomerang employees may not always be worth rehiring, but they’re often worth considering.

Dr. Patrick K. Collard is the Managing Member & Evidence-based HR Consultant for trustHR | GObackgrounds (San Diego, CA and Brookfield, WI). He has over 30 years of experience as a human resources consultant. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society and a Master of Human Resources and Employment Relations with a concentration in Employment and Labor Law from Penn State University. Dr. Collard earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland Global Campus. He defended his dissertation – Recruiting the Untapped Talent Pool of Hiring an Employee with a Criminal Record: A Systematic Review. Schedule a Discovery Call with Dr. Collard at –

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