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Is It Wise To Hire A Former Employee Again?

Pros and Cons of Rehiring A Former Employee

Finding the right talent to fill an open position at your company can be a difficult goal to achieve. Even though the talent pool is quite vast in many cases, it’s difficult to be absolutely sure that deciding on a new hire is the right choice. In some cases, the opportunity to rehire a former employee (also known as a boomerang employee) arises.

Though rehiring a past team member can be beneficial in some situations, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each individual situation in order to come to the best possible outcome.

Let us lead you through this comprehensive guide on former staff recruitment and whether it’s an appropriate solution for your hiring needs.

Identifying the Benefits of Rehiring Former Employees

Rehiring former employees presents several benefits, including the fact that you’ll be onboarding a person who is already familiar with your company’s operations. This saves significant time during the onboarding process and ensures that your new hire will be able to step into their job role relatively quickly.

Let’s cover a few more boomerang employee benefits.

Utilizing Existing Skills and Knowledge

A former employee already has applicable skills to their job role and already knows how to fit into the company’s culture. As such, these individuals present immediate value to the company as a whole, because they take less time to train, and require less guidance throughout the lifetime of their employment with the business.

Enhancing Company Loyalty and Engagement

Rehiring former employees also stands to boost company loyalty, engagement, and morale among your current staff members. This is especially true when the former employee was well-liked by the rest of your staff. Rehiring them not only welcomes a friendly face back into the department in question, but also reminds your current employees that your company values people and gives second chances when the timing and circumstances are appropriate.

Addressing Various Drawbacks of Rehiring

Though this arrangement may be beneficial in many cases, hiring former team members again can also present an array of drawbacks you need to consider.

For one, depending on how the individual’s employment ended the first time, there may be some animosity existing towards the management team, the individual in question, or resentment coming from both sides. If not resolved, this tense relationship could lead to morale issues and/or more serious problems as time passes.

Additionally, when an employee leaves the company and later returns, there are often concerns about whether the same thing will happen again in the future. It’s difficult to invest in an employee when management is unsure whether this individual will be present for long.

Reviewing Individual Circumstances for Rehire

When it comes to former staff recruitment, there is no definitive yes or no answer that governs whether this idea is one that’s worthwhile. Every situation is unique, and as such, it’s important for recruiters and management personnel to carefully evaluate the individual’s circumstances.

The following circumstances suggest that rehiring a former employee may be a good idea:

  • The employee originally left the company due to circumstances out of their control (an illness, family situation, relocation, etc.)
  • The employee originally left the company on good terms
  • The employee appears enthusiastic and ready to get back to work.

On the other hand, these circumstances may suggest that rehiring the former employee will not be beneficial for the company:

  • The employee was previously fired or quit without warning
  • The employee left after one or more negative situations arose
  • There is clear resentment between the employee and the management team
  • The situation that led up to the employee leaving the company originally has not been resolved

The Impact on Team Dynamics

Depending on the unique circumstances of the individual’s departure from your company the first time, introducing their rehire to the rest of the team may go one of two ways. For former employees who were industrious and well-liked throughout the department, the rest of the staff will likely welcome him or her back to the team with open arms. For former employees who may have been involved in negative situations at work, or whose departure put unnecessary strain on the rest of the team, reception may not be so warm.

Setting Expectations and Open Communication

It’s important to set clear expectations from the very beginning, both with your rehire and with your current team. Leave the floor open to questions and concerns, and allow your employees to speak freely about the new arrangements they’ll be participating in. This should not suggest that current team members should be permitted to openly degrade or otherwise bad-mouth your rehire, and vice versa, but it should be made clear that you’re willing to address concerns.

Managing the Reintroduction Process

Communicate all of your expectations in a clear, professional manner and manage the reintroduction process in a way that creates the framework for a positive and constructive work environment. Reassure both your current team and your new hire that work processes are going to follow specific procedures that will foster the best environment for all involved parties.

A Look at Alternatives to Rehiring

Sometimes, you may find that when you consider hiring ex-employees pros and cons, the negatives outweigh the positives. In these scenarios, you’re often better off looking at alternative options to rehiring a former employee. For example, you could follow standard hiring procedures in order to recruit a qualified, experienced employee who can fill the open position at your company. You may also decide to work with your former employee in a non-hiring capacity, such as pursuing freelance or affiliate arrangements.  

Rehiring a former employee can be either a positive or negative decision depending on the unique circumstances involved. On one hand, rehiring a former employee provides your team with an individual who is already familiar with how company processes work. Further, bringing a familiar face back into your team may improve morale and company loyalty for the rest of your team.

However, hiring former team members can also result in negative outcomes, as the individual may very well leave again, bring unresolved negativity to the workplace, or face overall poor reception from the rest of your team.

For more on employee rehiring strategies, visit AC Lion for expert insights on executive talent and how best to make informed rehiring decisions.


Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital media recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.