While it is never ideal for losing talented people, it is essential for companies to build and maintain relationships with former employees as they might provide a variety of benefits you can reap in the future, writes Andrea Meyer, Director of Benefits at WorkSmart Systems.
Today, millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. In conjunction with Generation Z, together, they make up over half of the American workforce. For many years, millennials have also been criticized as job hoppers. However, a survey done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, among jobs started by 35 to 44-year-olds, 36% ended in less than a year, and 75% ended in less than five years. While job-hopping isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can affect a company’s reputation if they are seeing a high rate of employee churn.
According to a recent study by career platform The Muse, 58% of its mostly millennial user base said they plan to change jobs within the year. With millennials on the hunt for new posts, many are using review sites like Glassdoor to help influence their decisions. When using these review sites frequently, job seekers want to learn about the company’s reputation, culture, and overall employee experience. 85% of millennials surveyed said a company’s reputation is essential or very important when they are considering working at a company. Frequently, millennials seek out these review sites to not only read about others’ experiences but also to share their own. Therefore, businesses need to be aware of their reviews and form positive relationships with former employees to help increase the likelihood of them having positive sentiment toward the company even after leaving.
Boomerang employees can save you money
A boomerang employee is defined as “an employee who leaves a company they work for, but later returns to work for the company once again.” In the past, rehiring a former employee was uncommon, but in recent years, companies have started seeing the value in hiring a former employee. One advantage of rehiring a former employee is they are already familiar with the job, its duties, and the company’s expectations. A boomerang employee is also likely familiar with the company’s operational policies, industry, and company culture.
Because of this predetermined knowledge, hiring a former employee can cost your company less money in the long run. In a rapidly changing business environment, training new employees can be one of the most significant challenges for a company — though; it is essential. On average, new hires take 4.8 months to ramp up to full productivity. However, a boomerang employee’s knowledge of the company will often require a shorter ramp up time. In regards to recruiting and onboarding, this can save a company not only time but money as well.
Allow mentorship opportunities
As new generations become a part of the workforce, it provides former employees the opportunity to become mentors. Once an employee leaves, they take a lot of industry knowledge with them. For younger generations just entering the workforce, mentorship can help accelerate the learning process and help them get ramped up on the industry quicker. According to a recent survey, 79% of Millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success.
For employees who have retired or moved on to other opportunities, many are open to staying connected with their former employer as a coach or consultant. Former employees are beneficial to a company as they can provide an outside perspective or viewpoint, which, in turn, can give the company additional resources and insight. Former employees can be great to share their experience with others and can act as strong ambassadors for the company. They can also be great mentors for new employees or young generations entering the workforce.
Build a strong reputation in your industry
One way to build a strong reputation across multiple sectors or verticals is to stay connected with your former employees. For interconnected areas, in particular, it doesn’t come as a surprise when a former employee begins working for a competitor. Frequently for most organizations, this means running into them at industry events, trade shows, or other networking opportunities. Building and sustaining relationships outside of your organization can have a substantial impact on your company’s overall bottom line. Positive regards about your company can help you attract prospective job candidates, potential customers, and business partners.
For organizations, keeping in contact with former employees can work as an additional recruiting strategy. Many large enterprises such as Dell and Deloitte have developed alumni association pages to stay in touch with former employees. As more generations enter the workforce and social media continues to take over the workplace, maintaining relationships with former employees can provide numerous benefits to your company.