In the war of acquiring the right talent, losing a great candidate to the competition is pretty standard. It’s called poaching, and every high-growth organisation has lost at least one employee with specialized skills due to it. Here’s what not a lot of managers realize – they can nurture the same individual with the right form of engagement for a future role.
‘Boomerang Employees’: How Do You Get Them Back?
A research conducted about three years back found that almost 30% of employees would love to go back to their previous employers, while more than 40% were open to the idea of it. These workers who leave and return are called “boomerang” employees.
They are different from poached talent because you aren’t hiring an employee from a competing business, you’re merely rehiring an old one.
Until recently, when a worker left their position, he/she was written off. Companies rarely, if ever, rehired them. But the present working generation comes with an intrinsic drive to change and experience more. It implies that organisations need to embrace the culture and be open to employing them once again!
Two elements are imperative while nurturing an employee who could be a potential boomerang. One, they already appreciate your culture, and two, they are aware of the work processes, which makes them better suited than any new hire.
4 Ways to Engage and Nurture Former Employees For a Future Role
Keeping the goodwill alive after an employee is out the revolving door is easy. Happy hours and corporate discounts do the trick. But finding ways to nurture these boomerang employees to pave the way for them to consider working for you again in the future is trickier. Here are some steps that you can take –
1. The Exit: Allow People to Leave On Their Terms
Yes, it sounds counterintuitive to allow employees to leave on the terms they set but you need to think out-of-the-box when you’re hoping they’ll return. An amiable and successful offboarding has to be the first step to persuade a worker, who showed enormous potential, to join you back in the future.
Inform the employee that you hope they’ll stay. If they do leave, then they are always welcome back. To ensure that the person goes with a pleasant image of the company, treat them well during the transition phase. If the last impression is a favourable one, they are more inclined to remain engaged and consider returning.
2. Stay In Touch, Periodically But Steadily
After a particularly creative employee leaves, the most natural strategy in the book to win them back is staying in touch. A few ways to go about it are:
- Send an email, occasionally, not every day. Let the employee know that you are reaching out for a quick hello. Once in a while, include an article that relates to the position for which you want to rehire them. Alternatively, send a one-line invite to a local or company event that grooms them for the future role.
- Start an alumni network. It shows the employees that the end of employment doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship. These networks help you rehire previous staff members. Also, use it to update them about what the company has been doing lately. The only condition is not to engulf them with information.
- Encourage referrals through rewards to keep ex-employees engaged with your organisation.
- Considering the millennial workforce, social networking sites are another excellent means to stay in contact. Platforms like LinkedIn are exceptional avenues to remain linked with poached workers. Celebrate and appreciate their successes, like a promotion or achievement, and they are more likely to return to you.
For instance, one of the ‘Big Four’ companies creates video series to celebrate the accomplishments of former workers to keep the alumni interested in the organisation!
3. Support Career Development
One reason why employees leave for supposed “greener pastures,” is a career development opportunity. Use this wish as a tool. Engage the ex-employee by supporting their professional growth through:
- Offers to sponsor for a course that enhances knowledge.
- Encouragement to work under a coach who can elevate their skills.
- Finding a great mentor for the candidate who can refine them for a chosen role. If the employee decides to return to the company, offer to introduce them to the mentor.
Microsoft regularly holds business conferences for alumni that include speed mentoring and panel discussions. These events are outstanding for networking and finding re-hires.
4. Make Your Offer Genuine and Irresistible
Engaging and grooming a past top performer are the first two steps. The final stage is to entice them back by making an incredible offer. While better pay and higher rank are the apparent techniques, the not-so-obvious ways to tempt are:
- Create a work environment that befits the person. For example, if they left due to a strict work schedule, give them a flexible option. If they had issues with a manager, give them the chance to work under someone else.
- Do not use the same hiring process you would with a new recruit. The ex-employee is already aware of what they are dealing with, so come at them from an original route. Instead of a formal first interaction, begin with a social gathering that includes the former co-workers of the candidate to ease them in.
- Have an honest discussion and be open to their ideas. The goal here is to improve both sides – you and the employee.
Poaching Is Inevitable, So Make Them Boomerang Back To You!
Every year, the competition to win top talent is getting fiercer. Corporations are working harder to keep productive candidates within their sphere, even if it means regularly conducting stay interviews.
But considering the generation shaped by the strides in technology is always on the lookout for something new, losing a good hire is inevitable.
The good news is that a lot of phenomenal candidates, who you lose along the way, realize that the pastures are not as green on the other side. When they get a dose of reality, use these strategies to win them back!