Skip to main content

See also:

On the job: LeBron James proves employers welcome back top employees

Employers work hard to find and develop talent and when a key employee leaves, it's a blow to the company. Just ask Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who was dismayed when LeBron James left for the Miami Heat in 2010. They invested time and money in James and another company (the Heat) reaped the rewards when Lebron decided to take his talents to South Beach. In this case, LeBron took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, but won an NBA title with the Heat. It was a tough pill to swallow for Gilbert and Cavalier fans.

But that's the world of work, employers know employees will leave for other opportunities at anytime. But not all employees are millionaire free agents with the ability to raise a team (or business) to new heights - and revenue streams - like James can in the NBA.

But those same employees like to rehire good employees who are interested in coming back to work for that company - like Gilbert and James. Despite their past differences, the two mended fences to find a mutually beneficial partnership.

If you are an employer and considering bringing back a former employee, called boomerang hiring, there are advantages. Employers know the skills and abilities of this worker, know his or her work ethic and traits and know what to expect. This former worker should be able to transition, smoothly, back into a role, whether the same or new, because they are familiar with company policy, procedure and culture. And if they have agreed to come back, they are doing so because they probably liked working there and want to be a part of a team/company they left.

The key to this working is for both the hiring manager and the employee to be cognizant of any issues or the situation that may have caused the employee to have left the organization, says James Kwapick, Minneapolis-based District President for Robert Half International (RHI.com), the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, and a recognized leader in professional staffing and consulting services.

Employers need to ask this: Why did the employee leave the company in the first place, and what can the two of you do to ensure longevity in this new role?

"It's important to be sure he/she feels confident that the problems which forced him to leave have been resolved," says Kwapick.

What other factors do employers need to consider? Here are four tips, from Kwapick, to consider:

1. Keep an open mind: Employers should be aware that hiring a boomerang employee means added knowledge and skills the returning alumni may have gained in their time away from the company. Encourage your employee to offer or provide ideas and insights to existing projects.

2. Embrace the lack of a learning curve: There is little risk for employers as they already know the employee is capable of doing a great job. They have the benefit of a small learning curve on the organization's culture, expectations and work, as this is all very familiar.

3. Think about succession planning: Succession planning should be implemented throughout the organization, not just at the top. The process helps to identify future executive talent, even if there is no immediate vacancy. It also helps companies prepare for unforeseen events, develop a pipeline of strong leaders, and build a more capable and motivated staff. This employee may be a candidate for such a position if they show loyalty and strong company knowledge.

4. Be an advocate: Make sure to help your new employee feel comfortable and settled in the new role. Just because he/she has been with the company before, doesn't make a new job any less scary. There are still new faces and changes within the company they will need to get familiar with, so be sure to help your employee get acquainted just as you would any other new hire.