The cost of losing an employee and hiring and training a new one can reach thousands of dollars (various findings in various studies). It makes sense, then, that companies would rehire a former worker in order to offset some of these costs.
Two studies from the University of Illinois focused on these “boomerang employees” and their benefits to organizations.
“In addition to understanding the organizational culture, returning employees might also be more committed to the focal organization upon their return because, in essence, they’ve learned firsthand that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” said T. Brad Harris, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois.
Harris, and his co-authors—Stacie Furst-Holloway (University of Cincinnati), Benson Rosen (University of North Carolina), and Abbie J. Shipp (Texas Christian University)—found that rehires have several specific experiences.
“After surveying and interviewing hundreds of employees, we were able to see that boomerang employees were more likely to originally leave an organization not because of dissatisfaction with the job, but because of some personal shock, such as a pregnancy, spousal relocation, or an unexpected job offer,” Harris said. “Somewhat unexpectedly, we also found that boomerang employees, compared to non-boomerang employees, typically had shorter original tenures with the focal organizations.”
In Harris’ second study, he found that harmony at the original employer played a key role performance success when rehired.
“Our latest research suggests that organizations should realize that not all boomerangs are created equal,” Harris said. “When evaluating potential boomerang hires, organizations should first, and most obviously, consider their previous performance histories at the focal organization and at their most recent employer.
“Second, organizations should be mindful that employees who originally left on good terms and of their own volition might be better suited for a return than those who left more acrimoniously,” he continued. “And finally, employees who are not gone for very long might possess more of the desirable attributes of boomerang employees, such as accurately recalling the organizational culture and understanding the social norms expected in it.”
How often do you rehire employees? Please let us know in the comments.