Businesses fail in attracting ex-employees to return


As we continue facing skills shortages, Rrebound recruitment is a valuable source of experienced staff but two thirds of businesses are failing to capitalise on returning ex-employees. The numbers show a worrying reality:

  • 78% of businesses experiencing problems replacing departing employees
  • 26% of businesses regularly have a period of one month or more between an employee leaving and their replacement starting
  • 28% of businesses are seeing an increase in ex-staff members returning to the business

New research from training and reskilling expert, Wiley Edge, has revealed that that more than two thirds (71%) of businesses do not have an offboarding process in place designed to enable employees to leave on good terms – an activity which could leave the door open for a potential future return.

At the same time, more than three quarters (78%) of businesses are currently experiencing problems replacing departing employees; around a fifth (21%) of businesses said they struggle to replace departing employees before the end of their notice period, and 22% struggle to find suitable replacements.

As a result, the research, published in The Hidden Costs of Onboarding Graduate Talent report, showed that 22% of businesses regularly have one or more roles unfilled at any given time, and more than a quarter (26%) regularly have a period of one month or more between an employee leaving an their replacement starting.

Tom Seymour, Senior Director, HR at Wiley Edge, commented: “Many businesses are falling victim to the growing skills shortage, a problem which is being exacerbated by the ongoing ‘great resignation’. One potential solution to this problem that is often overlooked by employers is the value of boomerang employees, a concept we are embracing being part of our parent company, Wiley, through a key Talent strategy championed by our CPO Danielle McMahan.

A good offboarding process is a must

“Businesses should always ensure they have a strong offboarding process, as happy former employees who speak highly of their old workplaces are an important tool when it comes to building a strong employer brand.

“However, employees who have left on positive terms may also be more inclined to return to the business at some point in the future, creating a much-needed source of trained talent.

“Not only can this help businesses to tackle skills gaps, it also means any time and money spent on employees’ training and professional development will continue to be a valuable investment.”

Some increases in numbers of ex-employees returning

Yet although 28% of businesses said they have noticed an increase in the number of ex-employees returning to the business, only 23% said that former employees regularly do so, and a quarter (25%) said that they almost never do, suggesting many organisations are failing to capitalise on the opportunity.

While 37% of businesses said they have been told by returning employees that a strong offboarding process allowed them to leave on good terms, only 35% of businesses said that departing employees are encouraged to give honest feedback, 29% said their offboarding process celebrates the achievements of the departing employee and 26% give employees the chance to have an exit interview with a senior member of the business.

Tom added: “The skills shortage in many fields is showing little signs of improving, so businesses must start using all the recruitment strategies available to them if they are to overcome the issue.

“In addition to utilising tactics such as more comprehensive training programmes for entry-level employees and reskilling initiatives for existing members of staff, maintaining a good relationship with those who are choosing to move on may prove invaluable.”

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The problematic skills shortage is a challenge also due to businesses reporting that they regret almost half of new hires