A majority (87 per cent) of HR managers would roll out the welcome mat for a returning employee who left on good terms, according to a survey from staffing firm Accountemps.
But not all workers would feel comfortable returning — 70 per cent of professionals polled said it's unlikely they would apply for a job with a former employer. The surveys were based on responses from more than 300 HR managers and more than 400 Canadian workers.
"Former employees are already familiar with the work culture, expectations and training requirements of the organization, which means less ramp-up time and fewer surprises," said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. "Organizations should keep this in mind when an employee is leaving and make an effort to ensure that exit interviews are productive and civil, leaving the door open for great employees to return down the road."
"How likely is it that you (HR) would consider rehiring a former employee who left your company on good terms?”
Very likely: 30 per cent
Somewhat likely: 57 per cent
Somewhat unlikely: eight per cent
"How likely is it that you would ever apply for a job at a previous employer?"
Very likely: 10 per cent
Somewhat likely: 20 per cent
Somewhat unlikely: 27 per cent
Very unlikely: 43 per cent
"What is the primary reason you wouldn't apply for a job at a previous employer?"
“I didn’t likely my job duties”: 21 per cent
“I didn’t like the corporate culture”: 20 per cent
“I didn’t like management”: 15 per cent
“I burned bridges when I left’: eight per cent
“The company burned bridges when I left”: seven per cent
Before rehiring a previous employee, it is important to consider why he left initially, said Hunnam-Jones.
"While a worker who left to pursue professional development opportunities might be coming back with more to offer in skills and experience, an employee who left feeling dissatisfied may return similarly unmotivated. Hiring managers need to ensure that employees are coming back for the right reasons, and are enthusiastic about once again being part of the organization."
Accountemps offered the following tips to companies that want to leave the door open for departing employees:
Conduct exit interviews. Get feedback from employees who resign and act on the information if it improves the work environment.
Part ways professionally. Avoid isolating those who've given notice. If they are leaving on good terms, treat them as members of the team until they walk out the door for the last time.
Communicate intentions. If you think you'd like to rehire exiting employees, let them know they'd be welcomed back. Sometimes the grass isn't greener somewhere else, and they might jump at the chance to return.
Stay in touch. Keep in contact with former employees who were top performers. You never know when their situation might change and they'll be in the market for a new job.
Consider boomerangs for different roles. If they've gained new skills and experience, they may be better suited for other positions or departments.