- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 17 September 2012 12:12, Updated 17 September 2012 16:54
You never really leave some organisations. Fairfax is like that. People resign to try their luck somewhere else and the old heads nod sagely and intone “you’ll be back”.
More often than not, they are right.
Australian media organisations have never really had a problem with “boomerang employees” – there are only a handful of top-notch employers, so people just go around and around.
When they return, you know pretty much what you are getting, with the addition of a few years’ experience in another organisation.
However, some other companies hang on to an outmoded idea of loyalty. If you leave, it is a slap in the face and you will never, ever be taken back. They forget that in business, loyalty has to work both ways: if they can sack you when business falters, you can leave for better opportunities. That’s fair.
As in the TV show Mad Men, when copywriter Peggy Olson is passed over for an important project, she speaks her mind in the elevator to advertising agency partner, Roger Sterling.
Peggy: “You are not loyal. You only think of yourself.”
Roger: “Were we married? Because you’re thinking about yourself, too. That’s the way it is. It’s every man for himself.”
If that is the reality of business life today, there are plenty of advantages to re-hiring an ex-employee.
An extraordinary 48 per cent of new hires fail within the first 18 months, according to research by LeadershipIQ, which highlights the ineffectiveness of most hiring procedures.
At least, if you are re-hiring someone you know, you will have thorough knowledge of what they are like to work with, what their attitudes and motivations are and you should also have a good idea of why they left in the first place.
Known as boomerang hires, former employees are cheaper to hire – reportedly one-third to two-thirds of the usual cost – and more likely to know what they are getting themselves into.
US-based recruitment expert John Sullivan lists some of the advantages of “comeback kids”:
1. Fast hire. Boomerangs offer an opportunity to acquire a top person quickly (the search and the assessment take little time).
2. Known skills. Because they are former employees with years of performance appraisals, you know in advance what skills and competencies you are obtaining.
3. Up to speed quickly. Because they know the organization and its culture, they are likely to get up to speed faster than traditional new hires who have to learn an entirely new set of politics, culture, and processes.
4. Low failure rate. They have a lower chance of failing because they have already adapted to the culture and you already know their performance capabilities and their ability to produce results (especially if they quit your firm recently).
5. Browngrassers. You might find that after seeing the “colour of the grass” on the other side that they are desirable because they will not likely leave again. The added benefit alluded to earlier is that they can help in the retention effort because they can tell stories to others about life on the outside.
6. Competitive intelligence. They can provide competitive intelligence, new ideas, and a fresh perspective from their previous firms.
7. A chain reaction. They often bring back other alumni, especially after the message spreads that you are welcoming back those who left.
8. Building community. Alumni programs help build a sense of a long-term community among employees because even when you leave, employees know they can maintain a relationship with the firm.
9. PR value. A high return rate might improve image and secure good PR in the industry and community.