By Ash Athawale, Senior Managing Director, Executive Search, Robert Half

There are times when employees leave an organization because of a personal situation, a relocation or even a bad manager, to continue their journey at another company. And sometimes, employees need to explore a new opportunity to realize what they had wasn’t that bad. Then, they miss it.

I’ve seen numerous instances where these individuals return “home” — sometimes soon, or sometimes after many years, having gained experience in different environments and company cultures. Those experiences can add value when they return to an organization.

As a “boomeranger” myself, I took what I call a “sabbatical” and have now been back at Robert Half for over seven years. The company welcomed me back and provided an opportunity to grow and build something substantial. And this was all before we were recognized as one of the “World’s Best Employers.”

I assimilated back into the business quickly, exploring four different practice groups before finally finding the right place for me. I embarked on an exciting new journey and now get to do what I absolutely love — helping clients hire leaders. I have been back at Robert Half longer than I was away.

Based on my personal experience as a boomeranger, I have a few recommendations for employees and employers on what they can do to keep the door open for boomerang hiring:

For employees

Provide a formal notice and leave in a professional manner. Don’t post negative remarks about your former employer on other websites. While you may think those comments are confidential, it doesn’t take a lot to figure out who wrote them. Doing your part to create a positive exit experience when you leave a company is the best course — burning bridges isn’t.

If you left a company because of a bad manager or a toxic environment, or were downsized, especially in the past year, keep in touch on LinkedIn and other social media platforms with former managers and coworkers you enjoyed a good relationship with. That type of proactive communication can help leave the door ajar for a potential return.

For employers

When an employee leaves the organization, the company should have a neutral party conduct the exit interview and document it. Having the manager (who may be the reason the employee is leaving) conduct the exit interview is not a good option.

Let valued team members who leave know that they’re welcome should they decide to return. Ask them to stay in touch and follow the company on social media. Also, consider creating an alumni mailing list. If you don’t keep in touch with former employees, they may never consider coming back. Both parties must make an effort — and the employer can take the first step.

If you’re a professional out there reminiscing about your former employer and missing the environment and the people, reach out and see if the company would welcome you back. And if you’re an employer, do you have a way to welcome back your alumni if they are open to rejoining your organization? At Robert Half and Protiviti* we do.

*Robert Half is the parent company of Protiviti, a global consulting firm that helps companies solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and internal audit.

About Ash Athawale

Ash Athawale is a senior managing director for the executive search practice at Robert Half. He brings over 25 years of global experience to the searches he conducts, working with clients across the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Ash, who is based in Washington, D.C., is an international retained search executive who has helped a diverse client base in finding the very best talent for their leadership teams in finance and accounting, operations, technology, human resources, and sales and marketing.

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