Pros and Cons to Rehiring Former Employees

Would you rehire an employee who previously quit? What if he or she was laid off? Does your answer change if the employee left many years ago? What if that person was fired?

These are questions that many HR professionals are facing, especially in a tight job market where there are fewer applicants for any given vacancy than in years past. A significant portion of employees who leave an organization would consider coming back under the right circumstances, and there are plenty of benefits for the organization to consider. However, there are drawbacks, too. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to rehiring former employees.

Pros and Cons to Rehiring Former Employees

Here are some of the potential advantages in rehiring an individual who has worked for your organization before:

  • The individual already knows a lot about the company culture and expectations. He or she also already knows a lot about the customers and working environment.
  • Depending on how long it has been since the individual left (and how much has changed), he or she likely still knows a lot about the organization’s systems and procedures. This may mean it takes less time to get up to speed and to full productivity. This is especially relevant for jobs with specialized skill sets that require a lot of training.
  • You already know a lot about how this individual is likely to perform and what strengths and weaknesses are in reality. There are fewer risks.
  • The entire recruiting process may be significantly cheaper, depending on how you discover that this individual is interested in returning.
  • It may be an opportunity to bring back a star employee who left in the past.
  • The individual may be bringing back not only the knowledge set gained from having worked there in the past but also new experiences and skills that may be beneficial to the organization.
  • Morale may be boosted if current employees see that the organization is willing to bring back someone who worked there before, as it could show a commitment to the individual. This can be true even if that individual was fired (rather than quit)—as long as the firing was not for a reason that gives people pause now.

Despite all of these advantages, there are also potential drawbacks. Here are a few:

  • The individual may expect a significant amount of pay to be enticed to return.
  • There could be lingering personnel issues (such as disputes or misunderstandings with former coworkers) that quickly come back to the forefront.
  • This individual may be seen as more of a turnover risk since he or she has left in the past, especially if the reasons for the departure are still problems that have not been addressed. This may mean this new hire is a short-lived addition to the workforce.

Tomorrow we’ll look at a few more considerations when it comes to rehiring a former employee.