Employees who have left your organization may be the best candidates to provide the help and insight needed to take it to the next level today. Whether or not they helped build your organization or were great producers, they may bring new experiences to give you a fresh competitive edge. How well they fit your corporate culture now depends as much upon their attitude and willingness to leave the past behind, as their ability to get real about the current way the company operates.
The key? Do your due diligence. Be clear as to why you want them to return. Some former top performers may no longer fit the company, unable to effectively work within new structures that evolved during their absence.
Broaden a myopic perception. Even though you think you know them well, use qualified validated assessment tools to help determine current job fit. Provide the same strategic interview process as you do for lesser-known candidates. Just because they were top performers within your company in the past does not necessarily mean they will be able to perform at that same level now. Listen to their cheerleaders from within the company, but be shy about relying 100% on their insights. Too often current employees simply want someone who is known. They think it will be easier to maintain the status quo. But this perspective can backfire and limit the returning employee’s ability to resolve issues or move the company forward.
Prepare the past employee. Many returning employees fail to understand change is inevitable. They return with the same perceptions they held when they left – both good and bad – of the company, products, employees, services, etc. Inevitably, standard operating procedures have changed, written or not. This can impede the person from getting quickly on track. Remember, they are not wearing the same learning hat as a new employee with no prior experience. Set them up for success. It’s critical they participate in an employee orientation program. Ensure they are working with a colleague who can help them navigate new systems that may not be readily apparent.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2011
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