How many of you were forced to lay off employees in the last 18 months? More importantly, how many of you are looking to rehire those employees when the market rebounds? If your hand is raised, I have three words for you: Proceed with caution.
According to Jill Easley, owner of GlassRecruiters.com, the decision to rehire previously laid off staff can be a tricky one. Among the benefits: Former employees are a known quantity. You know what to expect in terms of job performance and how they will fit into your company culture. Training previous employees is easier, and rehired employees tend to be very loyal, Easley says.
But times have changed, for your company and your former employees. Productivity improvements might mean that former employees are no longer the best fit for the job. “For many companies, productively gains and the nature of the work have changed fundamentally since [the layoffs], Easley says. “Sometimes, former employees have to relearn their jobs, or they may no longer have the required skills.”
Former employees could also—understandably—have baggage. It’s important to know the individual’s circumstances, Easley says: Were they unhappy with salary, drive time, etc.? Are they still in the same location? Have they done anything to continue to stay updated on their skills? Have their goals changed?
Regardless of your take on rehiring former staff, it's always a good idea to audit your hiring practices and policies. Easley recommends referring to the "HR Guide to Employment Law" to help navigate the hiring process. And if you have experience rehiring former employees, please feel free to share your stories so we can continue to learn from one another. Thanks!
Jenni Chase is editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.