Rehiring an employee who departed your company for other opportunities isn’t necessarily known as a best practice. But in some cases, welcoming a high-performing former employee back to your organization is a solid idea. Results from a recent survey by the Workforce Institute and WorkplaceTrends.com show “a changing mindset about hiring boomerang employees – someone who left an organization, for whatever reason, and then rejoined that same organization at a later date.”

 

About half of the HR professionals surveyed said their company previously had a policy against this practice. “Yet 76 percent say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past,” according to the survey.

 

Allowing a former employee to boomerang works well when:

 

Your workplace requires specialized skills or knowledge. If the employee departed recently, or if your company works in a niche market, rehiring can mean spending less time training and onboarding. “Rehiring an old employee could save you the pain of hunting for that rare professional with the blend of skills and knowledge you need in a specialized industry,” Robyn Melhuish writes for Ere Media. “Boomerang employees … will be able to start driving results from Day 1.”

 

The employee is a high-performing leader. “Boomerang employees with leadership skills can not only better direct your team, they can also help grow and develop more leaders,” Melhuish writes. “Leaders with previous knowledge of your industry, company, and processes are in the perfect position to lead and train new employees, and to pass on their leadership wisdom to mid-level employees.”

 

You need to boost morale. “If a strong performer left, especially for an opportunity they couldn’t pass up, and then boomerangs back, co-workers who may have had leaving in the back of their own mind might stop and say, ’Look at what she or he went through. Maybe it’s not that great out there after all,’” writes Roy Maurer for the Society of Human Resource Management. A good boomerang hire can indicate the stability of your company.

 

But bringing in a boomerang employee isn’t always the right answer. Avoid rehiring when:

 

Existing employees don’t support the idea. “Your former employee may have seemed like the perfect team player from outside the team, but there could have been issues behind the scenes your team never brought to your attention,” Melhuish writes. “Hiring back an employee your team doesn’t get along with could be catastrophic.” Make sure you allow your current employees to weigh in.

 

You’re looking for an innovative take on what you do. Sure, a boomerang might be a low-risk hire. But some of the benefits, like knowing the culture and feeling comfortable with the industry, could get in the way of innovative thinking, writes Sharon Florentine for CIO.com.

 

“Sometimes you want to hire someone who’s never worked for you before,” Florentine writes, quoting Dave Almeda, “who has a fresh, new and innovative perspective and who can bring new ideas and ways of thinking.”