How to Successfully Rehire a Former Employee
At some point in your career, you may have the opportunity to hire a former employee, whether to reprise their former role or fill a new opening. While rehiring has a few glaring theoretical disadvantages, it’s actually a fairly economical way to get your team back up to speed—provided you go about the process correctly. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering bringing back old talent.
Perhaps the biggest problem with rehiring an employee is the inherent distrust you may have toward them. This is especially true for an employee whom you fired; though an employee leaving volitionally is usually excusable, the events which led up to a former employee’s termination may not be. Before you even consider rehiring an employee, make sure you look at their personnel file to determine whether they’ll fit back into your workplace.
Of course, employees (and management) change over time, and termination doesn’t always equate to unfavorable performance or malicious behavior. The economic benefits of rehiring an employee are significant enough that you shouldn’t write them off without actually looking into the specific details surrounding their firing.
But what if the employee left of their own accord? One concern you may have is that an employee who left for a different job may do so again if given the chance. This isn’t an invalid concern, but—as you’ll see—even rehiring an employee in the short-term is usually cheaper than hiring a new one, and it may buy you enough time to run a proper hiring campaign if you’re in a pinch.
One issue to look out for is burnout. If the employee recently left and is already looking to sign back on, keep an eye on their performance to make sure they aren’t running out of steam.
Rehiring an old employee may seem like a poor decision at face value, but ex-employees who pass your initial screening process are worth their weight in gold. The main reason for this is simple: you don’t have to onboard employees who already know their way around your office. Unless the employee is taking on an entirely different role, you most likely don’t even need to show them around, and even employees taking on new responsibilities don’t require nearly as much input as new faces.
This lack of onboarding includes time-intensive activities such as reviewing the employee handbook, training for software or hardware operation, and basic workplace culture instruction. The employee will have to fill out a new hire packet, but doing so neither requires input from you nor needs to happen on company time.
From a strictly economic standpoint, rehiring an employee is much more cost-effective than hiring a new employee, so it’s in your best interests to give them your full attention when the situation arises.
Workplace Culture Benefits
Another unexpected benefit of rehiring an employee is the positivity it can bring to your workplace. Your other employees may find the notion of rehiring charitable, resulting in greater overall employee retention and loyalty. They’re also likely to benefit from the boost in morale which accompanies any returning face.
The returning employee’s time at a different firm may also prove beneficial, as the combination of fresh eyes and additional experience can result in greater efficiency. You may even find that pain points you’ve encountered in the employee’s absence are easier to solve due to their fresher, more educated perspective. Indeed, asking the employee about their time elsewhere should give you an idea of how they can positively impact your workflow.
While having your employee fill out the hire packet—and any other onboarding resources you have on hand—is technically optional as long as the former packet’s parameters haven’t expired, one form will almost certainly need reviewing: the I-9, which determines your employee’s employment eligibility, should undergo some revision to list your employee’s rehire date and any other updated information. Additionally, the employee will need a new I-9 if they’ve been gone for more than three years.
If you choose to have the employee fill out a new I-9 anyway, make sure that you keep a copy of the old I-9 on hand for your records. The best way to ensure that you don’t lose track of important paperwork is to attach the old I-9 to the new one; this will both allow you to compare the stipulations of both forms at a glance and prevent you from losing the old one.
Hiring a former employee isn’t as high-risk as it initially sounds—the benefits of rehiring often outweigh any downsides. If you’re still skeptical about bringing back old talent, we understand your trepidation; for more information on this topic or any other payroll concerns, call Abacus Payroll at (856) 667-6225 today!