by Derek Irvine
Recognize This!—Alumni employees are increasingly appearing in candidate pools. Reminding them of the recognition they received for their contributions to meaningful work is powerful to recruit them back into the fold.
Former employees (often called “boomerangs,” but I prefer “alumni”) are joining the applicant pool to return to their prior companies at higher and higher rates. Who left in good standing are already familiar with the organization’s culture, processes, and employees, making their onboarding and achievement of productivity faster. The recent Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. and WorkplaceTrends.com surveyed more than 1,800 HR professionals, people managers and employees’ opinions on rehiring former employees. In her blog post earlier this week, China Gorman highlighted the findings (quoted below):
- Organizations and workers alike are coming around on rehiring former employees.
- Boomerangs are creating increased – and unexpected – competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve.
- Familiarity, easier training, and knowledge of the former employer are benefits for boomerangs and organizations – yet some concerns still linger.
- HR says it has a strategy for maintaining relationships with former employees, but workers and managers disagree.
The findings acknowledged the importance of alumni and desirability for alumni. Gorman quoted Joyce Maroney, Director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos, driving the fourth bullet home:
“With this boomerang trend on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to create a culture that engages employees – even long after they’ve gone – and organizations should consider how the boomerang employee factor should affect their off-boarding and alumni communications strategies for top performers.”
The survey, however, revealed conflicting findings between HR and alumni perception of the existence of relationship maintenance strategies. HR said they used several channels to attract alumni, including email newsletters (45%), recruiters (30%), and alumni groups such as Facebook and LinkedIn (27%). Meanwhile, 67% of alumni, however did not think employers had strategies to maintain a relationship, and 80% of alumni said their former employers did not have strategies that encouraged them to return.
But what do you say when reaching out to alumni employees you want to attract back to the fold? Remind them they left a culture not just a company. If you’ve had a strong social recognition platform in place, you could easily pull some examples of appreciation they received while at your organization. Simply reminding them how they were appreciated and recognized for making specific impacts can be a powerful way to re-recruit your Alumni. Show you had a positive history and relationship and you want to recognize their contributions again.
Are you seeing some of your former top performers in your candidate pool? How are you leveraging social recognition to attract even more?
About Derek Irvine
The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.