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RECRUITMENT

and vice presidents. Rehiring has been really good


especially at the middle level in Schneider Electric too.
"Organizations finding candidates for strategièally
important positions sometimes look at former
employees which clearly represent a vast pool," views
Dr. Shallni Sarin, director BR, of Schneider Electric
-

India.
According to a Right Management study, only 10%
i u of over 1,000 employers surveyed don't rehire past

re h i rin g i:ti0
employees; i.e. 90% do rehire fonner employees. The

ramp-up time. Agreeing to this is Dr. Sarin, who adds,


`1 "These `outside-insiders' can walk a fine line: balancing

W 3 1'l i
L
a deep understanding of the company's culture with
the right amount of perspective and independence to
push the changes necessary for organizational growth?

ed g e
For example, in US many outplacement candidates are
being rehired by their former employers on contract
or project assignments to finish important or time-
sensitive initiatives.
Not only companies are considering rehiring people
who have left voluntarily but, also the ones which were
laid off during the recession period, although the reasons

The re-hiring scales keep


changing with time as HR
pros keep weighing its pros
and cons.

ecently, the job market is pepping up. Not

R only new hires are being attracted, but


organizations are also keeping their
doors open for their former talents,
especially in this talent starved
market. In fact, at least 25-30% of
companies across all industries are considering
rehiring their ex-employees, anticipates
TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd. Rehiring may
happen in either small or large numbers
depending upon the organizations rehiring practice
policies. "Certainly, as the economy improves and
the hiring increases, the proportion of rehiring will
also increase," Kavitha Suresh, senior manager HR of
-

Ramco Systems predicts.


Irrespective of market conditions, as long as the
employee has been a good performer, he/she will be
sought after by any employer. Ramco Systems has
rehired ex-employees across levels like systems analysts,
business analysts, préject managers, sales managers

HUMAN CAPITAL * hurnancapitalonline.com


Organizations finding candidates for
strategically important positions sometimes
look at former employees... these `outside-
insiders' can balance a deep understanding
of the company's culture with the right amount
of perspective and independence to push
the changes necessary for growth.

OR. SIIALINI SARIN


DIRECTOR HR - SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC INDIA

for rehire remain same. A research from Right diversity of experience or challenge to grow to their
Management reveals that 18% of laid off workers are full potential, which organizations are unable to provide
rehired by their former employers because of their thereby stunting the growth of people. Thus, by going
familiarity with the job 37%, understanding of out, people have the opportunity to go through more
organization's culture 33%, and also the organization developmental experiences and can join back when
minimizes the likelthood of a bad new hire 20%. the previous employer is ready to provide the next
Furthermore, a survey done by an online recruitment level of challenge. Prakash says letting people go and
company discovered that 32% of employers who had then taking them back can, thus, work to the advantage
laid off their employees in 2009 planned on rehiring of both the parties. Although, Dr. Sarin thinks it can be
workers in the first six months of 2010. a smart move to welcome back former high-flyers,
Rehiring er-employees is relevant also in the context but, she prefers only under the right circumstances.
of talent shortage, and/or talent mismatch. In case of Rehiring, however, does have benefits Along with
talent shortage, there are many examples of rehiring in tangible benefits like reduction in cost of recruitment
different sectors as well, such as in oil and gas, aviation. and training, shorter cycle time for the rehired
etc. ONGC rehired several of its retired oil exploration employee to become productive, proven performance
experts to mitigate the global shortage of talent in that record of the rehired employee and improved
area. Similarly, airlines have been rehiring pilots. On employee morale rehiring has many intangible benefits
the other hand, the potential talent pool may have like a rehire gives positive feedback on the work culture/
expanded in present times these people may not role, in comparison to the other organizations that the
essentially have the skills or experience some employers person has worked with. "This proves to be an immense
need to deliver on business goals, which becomes a reaffirmation of faith in our organization. For a product
case of talent mismatch. Actually, employers are company like ours, rehiring is an additional advantage,
presently having trouble filling vacancies due to lack of because they are ready to be deployed almost
suitable talent. "In fact, a vety large number of new immethately. also notice that the loyalty/engagement
hires fail within 12-18 months due to problems of of the rehires towards the business have increased
assimilation into the organization, adapting to the new after the rehiring," avers Suresh.
culture, developing friendly and comfortable Additionally, Dr. Sarin shares, there have been cases
relationships with co-workers etc. This problem where employees have left in haste to know what is in
becomes worse at more senior levels where the time store for them in other organizations after having
and space available for integration is more limited and worked with Schneider for long. But, when they join
the pressure to perform is higher. Former employees the new organization, they start realizing the benefits
have a greater likelihood of success since they are they enjoyed while they were with Schneider. This
familiar with the culture and are likely to have retained enables them to look back to Schneider and if they
some links/association with people in the organization were performing well, we welcome them back with
from their previous stint," opines Dhruv Prakash, open arms.
managing director-India, leadership and talent
consulting from ICom/Ferry international. Challenges In rehiring
Generally, people leave organizations in search of Rehiring is a smart practice and many companies have

40 * July2010 wwhurnancaprtalonline.wm U HUMAN CAfltL


RECRUITMENT

welcomed theft ex-employees in recent times. The issue gets to be seen as a means of gaining salary or level
that organizations may face is on the guarantee that advantage over colleagues who stayed back, it is almost
the retread will not make similar mistakes again. Mostly, certain to fail. An employee should be rehired only if
when companies rehire old employees, they expect s/he has acquired demonstrable superior skills which
that the second time hiring will last for a longer are relevant to the future growth of the organization.
duration.. .dll retirement. Generally, it is seen that the In case the employee is brought back at same or similar
boomerang and the company communicate more level merely to fill a vacancy then it is critical to ensure
openly with each other than their earlier association. that parity with others and ratio to previously drawn
In fact, a regular quitter can always be recognized salary is maintained within defensible range. Rehiring
during the process of rehiring. within a short period, therefore, is more challenging.
The challenges that a company may face in hiring HR consultants often advice candidates to leave on
a boomerang could be: a good note from previous employments as in a
* Retreads sometimes join back with the baggage globalized, competitive employment market keeping
they left with, such as any bad habits that they formed positive networking relationships gives job seekers an
on the job or any unresolved dispute with former edge and incase of employers develops `employer of
colleagues who are still present with the company. choice' value. Research proves that building such
* Ex-employees may have inter-personal differences relationships is beneficial for both the candidate and
with employees recruited during their absence. the employer over time.
* There could be sensitivities linked with the rehired In case of laid off ex-employees companies see if
employee's position like former junior employees that the lay off was handled well; if rehiring is considered.
may presently he on higher position now. The issues also depend on, which laid off employee is
Other than these three main issues, rehired considered for rehiring? The person who was laid off
employees need to be handled very cautiously, feels for business/economic conditions or due to behavioral
Dr. Sarin. She pinpoints, though they have the benefit or administrative issues? In fact, there are stigmas
of knowing the organization environment and culture, attached to laid off employees. In the previous situation,
still they require time and resources to form there may not be any stigma attached as in most cases
relationships with newly inducted employees and also people understand the rationale around staff
refreshing theft existing contacts. In many cases, rehired reduction. ..the company was looking at its business
employees sometimes undermine the fact that they model and required to make some alterations and
would also be seen as a new resource in the since it's not linked with performance, the stigmas
orgafiization and need to develop niche for themselves seize to exist. Although, in the latter case, says, Dr.
the way they did in theft earlier stint. Hence, it becomes Sarin i.e. laid off due to behavioral or administrative
very important that returning employees need to be issues does raise eyebrows, but, then it depends on the
taken care of and handled in a more sensitive manner rehiring process, which makes them rehiring back
to enable them to re-establish themselves in the effective. If the returning employees are rehired purely
organization as fast as possible. on basis of fresh assessment and past performance
Prakash advises companies need to have very clear parameters, then the chance of having concerns is
cut policies and criteria for rehiring. If the program very less. Also, the boomerang needs to be introduced

For a product company Ii ke ours,


rehiring is an additional advantage, because
they are ready to be deployed almost
immediately. We also notice that the loyalty!
engagement of the rehires towards the
business have increased after rehiring,

KAVITHA SIJRESH
SENIOR MANAGER - HR RAMCO SYSTEMS

HUMAN CAPITAL * whumancaØitaIonIne.com July2010 * 41


RECRUITMENT

to the existing workforce in such a way that his


comeback is seen in a positive manner and no stigmas
are generated with his rejoining. HR and the hiring
manager play a very vital role here and they can make
rA CASE IN POINT
this transition very effective, elucidates, Dr. Sarin.
Advantages and disadvantages related to hiring ex
Contrary to the above, in a true case of temporary rehiring
In a pubrication house lead the boomerang employee to
employees keep shifting. Also, each organization that
rehires ex-employees will have different paybacks and
realistically mar the relationship with her ex-employet In
limitations. However, benefits of rehiring ex-employces fact the first time the employee had left on good terms and
have definitely outweighed the disadvantages for many approximately after a year and a half the ex-employer
organizations that have hired retreads. contacted the boomerang employee and offered her a
higher position of managing editor than her previous sub
editors position. Of course, the boomerang was overjoyed
Rehiring practices and happy for It, although, she refused the position as she
Organizations that have a rehiring practice have a was already content with her present job, and knew that
definite rehire policy set in place. Schneider finds out this place was toxic. The ex-employer was lacing a talent
the niche it is looking for, then glosses over the list of shortage on this position given the kind of industry he was
ex-employees and identifies the right fit. The company in. Thus, the employer suggested to the boomerang
examines some aspects before making an offer: finds employee to work temporary on a contract basis of three
out the work history of the employee identified; months on Saturdays only tifi he finds a new hire for the
understands the reasons for his quitting; gathers vacant position.
information about his persona1it attitude towards work The boomerang employee, after contemplating, agreed as
and his inter-personal relations, what the management she respected her former employer and wanted to M him
felt about him and vice versa; and also checks if there out. At first, things went well, but, on the Third Saturday
were any major concerns about his health. "if we are of the first month her temporary employer started shouting
satisfied with the ex-employee's track record and at her, abusing her for deadlines despite knowing that the
convinced of his worth then we seriously consider lime given is very less., three days to finish the entire
taldnghim back," says Dr. Sarin. She adds merelymaking magazine on her own as them were no sub editors plus
an offer might not bring that person back to us; we train a non media trainee for sub editing! To top it extreme
also find out whether the retread is actually willing to interference in work by non-editorial people was allowed.
move from the current job. This continued for the next two issues. The boomerang
Furthermore, as Dr. Sarin explains, they assess the employee tried voicing out the problems, but, all in vain.
extent to which his absence affected the organization; However, she successfully completed all the three issues.
compare his performance with other talented ex During exit, instead of thanking the boomerang employee,
employees to rate the quality of his work, identify the the employer snubbed her off, and she quietly exited, but,
benefits the organization Is likely to gain by hiring him. committed to herself not to ever communicate with this
In parallel they trace the evolution of his career after toxic organization. This case highlights that challenges may
he left the organization; gather information about the not just lie in front of employers while rehiring but, even for
companies he worked for, the duration in each company the ex-employee it may get tough, it everything is not
if he changed from one to another, the posts he considered before joining.
served and his performance. This gives a fair idea
about his approach to work and his market value. contact information of ex-employees current and
At Ramco the process of rehiring has been in inform them about company's progress and
practice for a long thne now. There too, depending on achievements/developments. For example, Ramco's
the business need for a specific skill, a similar process rehiring policy is integrated with its recruitment strategy
is followed. "7pically, an ex-employee is interviewed, The company uses online media like Linkedln and
irrespective of the fact that whether he/she is considered Facebook, to remain connected with ex-employees.
for the same position or a different role from the "Those who have been rehired spread the good word
earlier one. Also, due care is taken during fitment of about their positive experience in coming back to the
compensation/position, depending on the time lapsed company." says, Suresh.
from the exit and the availability of the competency Well, industry experts suggest that boomerang
internally to avoid any problems later," says Suresh. programs should not target every ex-employee.
Organizations also consider whether the relieving Targeting some categories of former employees like
process was handled by the employee in a professional top performers who voluntarily left; top performers
manner and if s/he had given due notice period. who were in key positions; top performers with key
Most organizations have created and are engaged sldlls, contacts, or experience; retirees who may not
in alumni networks as this is most effective in keeping have found retirement to be all that great and are up
in touch with ex-employees. Many companies have for work; and top finalists who accepted another job;
created alumni groups on their company websites or long-term consultants or contractors; and promising
on social networking sites like Linkedln and use that to interns who failed to return make up a brilliant alumni
keep track of the progress of individuals and keep group.

42 * July2010 . humancaplalunlinecom U HUMAN CA&AL