Though some businesses have a strict no-rehire policy in place, citing concerns such as potential security issues from angry, laid-off employees, other companies have realized the benefits inherent in hiring back former employees. In fact, I urge those managers with a no-rehire policy to reconsider their organizations’ decision. There are several reasons to do so, especially in the technology department:

  • ·        The IT department likely invested a lot of time and money in training the tech professional, and rehiring provides the opportunity to recapture that investment.
  • ·        When senior and/or experienced employees leave, they take vital expertise and knowledge out the door.
  • ·        All employees make mistakes or career decisions that they may regret; however, you may still have positive reasons to bring an employee back.

In addition, rehiring former employees reduces the learning curve; there is far less for them to catch up on compared with training a new employee from scratch.

The chance to recapture excellence
Brian Oldham, VP of technology for Appriss, explained a good basic concept in rehiring: “I will consider hiring back IT employees. However, I think the decision is based on the individual involved, the reasons for leaving, and the reasons for coming back….If you have an employee that has left for a while and finds out that what they did in their previous company is what they really like doing, you have a more motivated and productive employee.”

In a recent forum, a staffing expert offered this advice: “Rehiring employees can be a good business move—after all, these candidates already know who’s who in the organization and they’re familiar with your corporate culture. The cost of hire can be significantly reduced by cutting out advertising dollars and agency fees.” He concurred with Oldham that each rehire situation should be analyzed on an individual basis.

Why a policy is needed
If you do rehire or plan to begin rehiring former employees, your company needs to have a rehire policy in place. This written policy should outline basic rules and restrictions and be signed by every employee. This assures employees’ awareness of their responsibilities and discipline procedures for nonconformance. As you define a policy, work within any HR guidelines to maintain compliance with employment regulations.

Creating a good rehire policy
To help you put a formal rehire policy in place, we have created a rehire policy template that you can download and customize. As with any new policy, business units such as HR, legal, and even the corporate level should be involved in creation and signoff of a rehire policy to avoid legal snafus and potential liability.

The template provides specific guidelines on when former employees can be considered for rehire (and can cite specific reasons for not rehiring, such as breach of security), and can even stipulate the number of job offers that can be made before the employee is no longer eligible for rehire consideration.

Many policies include a rehire period during which former employees are eligible for rehire consideration. A rehire policy is usually limited to full-time staff professionals and is not extended to part-time workers or former consultants used for projects.

How exiting procedures tie in
A big part of putting a rehire policy in place is using a good exit interview strategy. Oldham advises that the exit process should clearly provide detail on why an employee is leaving. Managers should “conduct exit interviews and keep the information so that they can refer back to it,” when and if a rehire opportunity comes up. If you take the time to properly document all aspects of an employee’s departure, the data will be helpful when considering rehiring.

Take the example of an employee who once left Absolute Networking System Inc. due to family health issues. Tim Jones, president, said that he would hire the professional back in a minute because the employee’s work performance was well documented.

“We were privileged to hire a dynamic engineer with great potential, but he had to leave because his mother was terminally ill. We would definitely hire this person back without hesitation. He helped us to achieve the goal of customer satisfaction and worked well with all of his teammates.”

Oldham provides another “great” rehire anecdote about an employee who left to start his own consulting career but decided to go back to a corporate job.

“This person had been gone for about two years and was successful; however, the lifestyle was wearing on him, and he was more interested in what he was doing before. I had an opening, and he applied and got the job. He left the company on good terms, came back, and has continued to do an outstanding job.”