HR Tips & Answers

What if the grass isn’t greener?

The grass maybe not be not so green on the other side….

Many decades ago, Brad left a really good job for what he thought was a really great opportunity. Yep, you guessed it; it was not what he had imagined. With hope in his heart, he approached his old employer about returning, unfortunately his position had been made redundant and the company was downsizing, so Brad had no opportunity to return.

Fast forward to today’s employment environment – is it the same?

With the current jobs market being very tight while we are now seeing employees move on for a variety of reasons, for example the new employer may be offering a range of incentives or flexibility that the person is not currently getting; we are also seeing a number of people regretting their decision to leave and like Brad wanting to return.

In Australia, statistics from 2021 show that 4.5% of new employees are looking to go back to their original employment.

So, if you are an employer struggling to find staff and you have an ex-employee who left you on good terms, maybe a phone call to sound them out might be an opportunity worth exploring.

However, before you call, have a good think about what your business can offer them to make them consider returning to you. Certainly, a higher salary or wage is a good starting point, but also think about opportunities for career advancement or other incentives like subsidising childcare expenses or providing a fuel card.

But the real question you have to ask is why they left your business in the first place. You may have done an exit interview, so reviewing that information is an important first step.  Once you understand the reasons why they left, sit down with all your material in hand, give them a call and arrange to have a cup of coffee and a chat off site in a comfortable but neutral environment.  Remember this is not an interview it is “reconnaissance meeting” if you like to determine their thoughts, plans and direction.

Another recent study found that 16% of workers said that they would return to a former employer if a Manager or former colleague contacted them asking them to consider their options.

If a former employee does return to your business, then you must consider your current staff and how they will react, and crucially how you are going to treat that person and the new workplace dynamic.

So, before you pick up the phone to make that call, think through both the opportunities and the potential pitfalls for your business and if it looks good it may just get you out of a tight situation.

If you need additional help with this or any other matter, as always we are here to help you.  If you wish to discuss further, give us a call on 02 6009 1000.

Cheers the WorkBetter Team

Published: Friday, August 12th, 2022

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