In a tight labor market consider rehiring former employees

Shaking hands in office

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

The largest complaint that I hear from most contractors is their inability to get good workers. That situation hasn’t improved with the current low unemployment rate, combined with what is fast becoming a shortage of immigrant personnel.

One source you may not have considered are your former employees, often called “boomerang” workers. This is yet another reason to maintain a cordial relationship with employees when they leave for what they perceive as a better opportunity. Why not ask them if they want to come back, especially when they have shown they are diligent in their jobs?

Each of us makes decisions based on our personal needs at the moment. These may change through time, of course, and a previous work environment may look better with the visibility of hindsight. If you have created a great culture at your organization, this should lend confidence that if circumstances have changed for the employee, then coming back to work for you will appear attractive once again.

Highlight the benefits

Today, with the advent of social media, it has become possible to stay in touch with former employees via a professional site like LinkedIn. When previous staff members have new accomplishments, be sure to congratulate them. You may learn they have gained new skills that will make them even stronger employees than they were previously.

If you do try to entice former employees back to your firm, be ready to tell them why it will be good for them, not just a plus for you. There is a natural tendency to feel that returning to a former employer is a step backward in a career. It will be up to you to show them why that is not the case. You may also want to consider if there are any benefits you might be able to provide to confirm that returning to work for you will be positive for them and their families.

About the author: Ranger Kidwell-Ross is a multi-award-winning author, who has provided advice to contractors in the power sweeping industry for more than 30 years. He is Editor of the largest website for that business sector, WorldSweeper.com, as well as Executive Director of the World Sweeping Association.

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