What to Know Before Hiring a Former Employee

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The spa industry is one that is known for a workforce that changes jobs rather frequently. For some wellness businesses, this may mean being presented with the conundrum of possibly rehiring a former employee. The question is, should you do it? In the world of business and human resources, most would say there are times when an employer should absolutely rehire a “boomerang” employee, such as in circumstances that affect the business’s bottom line or if the employee’s departure involved extenuating circumstances. But the main thing to consider is if bringing a former employee back will have a positive or negative outcome on your business. Here are a few questions to ponder:

Why did the employee leave?
Time may have lapsed, but the mindset of your potential rehire has likely not changed. Most employees leave for more money, job advancement, and better benefits. Remembering the exact reason may be helpful in determining if you’re about to make a mistake. It’s more than likely that old habits and even positive work ethics may return with your candidate, but ultimately the reason why your potential rehire left may again re-emerge, probably in less time than it took in their former employment with you.

Will rehiring this employee improve or diminish your employee culture?
There will always be the second honeymoon effect when an employee returns, but your organization and your employee culture will have changed. It’s important to note that comments like “that’s not the way we used to do things” or “this is what frustrated me last time” may be statements a manager eventually will hear from the rehire. But even if your candidate returns as a model employee, your staff that has stayed now features a different team dynamic. Recycling a “boomerang” employee could decrease the loyalty from those who have stayed. After all, allowing someone to return sends a message to others that it’s okay to quit.

Why do you want to rehire this candidate?
Most often, a manager is willing to rehire a candidate because of some positive attribute he or she brought to the organization. The bigger question might be: is it because that person filled an area in your company where there remains a deficit? Patchworking an organizational deficit does not create an innovative workforce. A better alternative may be to seek a candidate with similar skills who enhances the direction you want to move in rather than being complacent with someone whose familiarity makes you comfortable.

In asking yourself these questions, you may also want to remind yourself of the power of fresh eyes. Businesses change and grow or change and fail, but one of the best ways to change and grow is by adding new team members. These new hires bring new forms of creativity, new ideas to enhance your operations, and new ways of thinking. Fresh eyes examine a business differently than anyone previously and have the potential to increase your business reach by bringing new contacts. The best business growth is often a result of fresh perspective, not from recycling prior memories.

Michael G. Tompkins is an executive recruiter with Hutchinson Consulting. To contact him, call (520) 425-6387 or email [email protected]