Occasionally, my clients are faced with a decision to re-hire a former employee. People may leave your organization for any number of reasons: more money, different opportunities and loss of passion for a position are common. I was asked for my opinion by a client who wants to re-hire a former employee. My honest answer was “Well, it depends.” Re-hiring a former employee can have some advantages. Training and ramp up speed are often reduced. But there can also be some disadvantages, like wasting valuable resources on an employee who is not really engaged with you or your business. Following a few guidelines can help in your decision making process:
1. Did your re-hire “leave well” by giving you notice and wrapping up projects before their departure? Did they leave on good terms and help with creating a job description or training their replacement? Remember that the manner in which your employee left you the first time will be the way that they leave you the second time.
2. Will your re-hire add value to your current culture? Chances are your business has changed since your employee has left. Make sure that this person is still a fit for your business and the position.
3. Realize that it may be short term. If your re-hire left once, it is most likely because certain needs were not being met. Are those needs being met now? What has changed since their last period of employment with you? Make sure that you both address those un-met needs before bringing them back on board.
One of my former colleagues in the restaurant industry often had kitchen staff that would periodically leave for more money, less hours, etc. He always thanked them for their service and let them pursue the new opportunity. Invariably, they would realize that life was not always greener on the other side of the fence and would try to come back. The ones that left well with integrity and honesty were hired back immediately. Those who left ungracefully, were not hired back.