Re-hire the Right Employees the Right Way

Employees who have left your organization may be the best candidates to provide the help and insight needed to take your company to the next level. Regardless of their contributions in the past, keep in mind they will usually bring new experiences to give you a fresh competitive edge. Their fit with your current corporate culture depends on their attitude and willingness to leave the past behind and their ability to adapt to the current way the company operates.

3 Keys to Onboard Former Employees for Success

Conduct complete due diligence – as you would unknown candidates. Be clear as to why you want them to return. Take the time to talk through changes in systems, procedures, culture and clients. Some former top performers may no longer fit the company, and may be unable to effectively work within the new structures that evolved during their absences.

Take the blinders off. Even though you think you know them well, use qualified validated assessment tools to help determine current job fit. Conduct the same strategic interview process as you would for lesser-known candidates. Remember the challenge isn’t what you can see and remember — it’s what you don’t see or have forgotten about the former employees. Just because they were top performers in the past does not necessarily mean they will be able to perform at that same level now. Listen to their cheerleaders and naysayers, but be shy about relying 100% on their input. (Too often the cheerleaders simply want someone who is known, while the naysayers are afraid of changing the current status quo.) Addressing everyone’s perspectives upfront and realistically will support the returning employees’ abilities to get their jobs done and help you move the company forward.

Prepare them for success. Many returning employees fail to understand change is inevitable. They may understand it conceptually, but, may have a difficult time acclimating if they have not acquired the right additional skills during the time they were gone. Review the organization’s changes – both good and bad – to the mission, values, systems, procedures, culture, company direction, employees, products, services, vendors, and clients. Inevitably, standard operating procedures will have changed, written or not. This can impede people from quickly getting on track if they are relying upon their memories of how it used to be. Or, they will run into unresolved brick walls when they attempt to make changes too fast. While they may be more aware of the company and its history, it’s critical they participate in an employee onboarding program as if they are new. Team them up with internal mentors who can help them navigate changes that may not be readily apparent.

When you re-hire the right employees the right way, often times, they can be great resources and assets.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2015

Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 23 years; she guides the creation of new solutions for business challenges and is the author of Hire Amazing Employees ( Check out her website: or contact Jeannette at

Leave a Comment