Reinstatement after employment termination:
how your company uses rehiring

Rehiring: why your company should enable rehiring after employment termination

Imagine that a highly valued employee at your company resigns out of the blue to go to a ‘better’ job elsewhere. A couple of months later, however, they email you to say that the new job wasn’t quite what they were promised. What do you do? Do you give your former employee another chance and offer them a job?

We are currently seeing a growing trend towards so-called re-hiring, otherwise known as boomerang hiring. In light of the staff shortages currently affecting many branches  and high employee fluctuation, reinstatement after employment termination is spreading across many companies and organisations.

But why is this recruitment tool currently so attractive?

The advantages of rehiring

Today, when talent pools are threatening to dry up and employee loyalty is dwindling in many industries, rehiring former team members has already paid off for many companies.

With many (new) applicants, several questions are left hanging in the air when they are hired. Will they stick to the common goals set? Will they live up to all the advance praise? How long will on-boarding take?

When former colleagues are rehired, however, most of these questions no longer apply.

In addition to the absence of uncertainty, there are further benefits of hiring former employees:

  • They are already familiar with your corporate culture and know the internal processes and workflows inside out.

  • Through the short-term job change, your company benefits from the gain in knowledge and new skills, different perspectives and wide-reaching experience of old and new personnel. This added value is not to be underestimated and can prove to be extremely useful for your company.

  • Your returning employee will also spread the word among others in their network or team within the company itself that they are back on board. On the one hand, any necessary improvements that may have been a reason for their initial decision to leave can now be implemented. On the other hand, a return to their previous company is also the best proof that the grass is not always greener on the other side – and may serve to discourage others from leaving, too.

  • Rehiring former employees saves companies a lot of money. After all, reduced recruitment efforts and faster onboarding significantly shorten training times – and your new employee will be working productively in the foreseeable future.

Rehiring employees soon after they leave: four useful tools for successful rehiring

In order to ensure that rehiring works for you, you should integrate a certain philosophy in your company or organisation.

Firstly, it is a good idea to establish a clean and appreciative offboarding process. If an employee decides to leave your company, you should not only expect work equipment to be returned and access data to be deleted, but also arrange a personal meeting to ask about their specific reasons for leaving. Demonstrate an open mind and don’t focus on the loss, but rather on any improvement measures that can be discussed together in this meeting. This way, you remove the risk of both parties exchanging recriminations.

Keep in touch with your former employee even after they have left – and do so via an alumni programme. Keep your former employees up to date with what is going on at the company. The more you maintain contact, the easier and more comfortable a potential return will be for both parties.

The third option is talent pools. These tend to be used by HR managers to collect interesting applicants who were not considered for a vacancy, but who may well be suitable for other positions in the future. Former employees who left amicably and are still on good terms with the company can also be added to these pools. The tool can be used to notify them of any vacancies or newly created positions.

The fourth and final tool we recommend for successful rehiring are referral programs, often referred to as "employees-recruit-employees" programs. They allow you to motivate your own personnel to inform former employees of your company about open vacancies. In addition to the fact that these selected individuals know your company and the team, they are also familiar with your corporate culture. Likewise, referral programs allow you to benefit from filling the open position relatively quickly, as your employees contact the respective talents promptly, thus shortening the recruiting process considerably.

When rehiring is best left alone

Reheated coffee never tastes good and this adage is often true of other areas in life, too. Unfortunately, it can also apply to rehiring. Especially when there is no longer any basic trust – regardless of which party terminated the employment relationship.

Reinstatement is not a good idea if:

  • There is tension between the two parties and you still feel resentment towards your former colleague. Not every arrangement is promising. And if friction or disputes persist, you should not agree to rehire. After all, negative vibes can also affect the wider team.

  • The fundamental situation may have changed considerably if the employee left the company some time ago. Your former colleague may enter into negotiations with different contractual demands and employment desires in general (conditions, position or benefits). Even if you know each other (well), you should apply similar standards to potential collaboration as you would to any other applicant.

  • There is a risk that former employees will be confronted with a changed company – with different (optimised) workflows and responsibilities and new systems. If your former colleagues tend to be more inflexible and cannot adapt to the new conditions, you should seek new employees via different recruitment channels.

  • Hand on heart: is your former colleague really an asset to the relevant department and the company overall? Perhaps you are just playing it safe – the best candidate may well be lying dormant in your inbox. Try to consider things as objectively as possible, put (subconscious) motives aside and don’t take the line of least resistance – or effort.

Create the foundations for successful rehiring (boomerang hiring)

Faced with a shortage of skilled workers in many sectors, rehiring now presents a smart, future-oriented recruitment strategy. The classic employer-employee relationship has been undergoing major changes in recent years.

Not only can former employees now vent about their previous company and rate their employment on review and career platforms, they also act more flexibly and spontaneously when it comes to choosing employers. Specialist staff and executives are particularly driven by enriching their careers with new experience through exciting projects that will help them to progress. 

Your company should therefore implement a corporate culture that facilitates social bonding among colleagues in order to minimise interest in changing jobs. This not only strengthens the sense of belonging, but also supports your rehiring programme in the long term.

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