Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You're Fired...Wait...You're Hired...Again

Way back in November of 2007 I wrote a post on the Astron Solutions blog titled "You're Fired...Wait...You're Hired" after Circuit City decided to rehire some of the employees they had fired. It continues to be one of our most-visited posts and even though Circuit City is no longer around, the themes in that post (and Michael Scott's words) continue to resonate, especially with the recent "resignation" of Shirley Sherrod.

I posted a little while back from HR hero's The Oswald Letter about terminating in haste can lead to regret at leisure. Last Thursday, Fistful of Talent (H/T Jennifer) looked at the process of welcoming back rehires (AKA "The Sacred Boomerang Ceremony"). The author describes the ceremony:
At Kahler Slater, not only do they accept employees back (the good ones of course) but they believe that having a strong employee come back is reason to celebrate. John Horky, the HR Guy, creates for each one of these employees a boomerang and presents it to them during a staff meeting with their very own “Sacred Boomerang Ceremony”.

Imagine, a celebration where the entire company is gathered to welcome an employee back into the fold. They present the boomerang, tell everyone what the employee has been doing since he/she left, and celebrate them coming back to the company. 
This isn't a process without problems, however. In finance, where there have been recent signs of hiring according to the Wall Street Journal (H/T Wendy), many firms are taking a strict stance against rehiring former employees. While one (or multiple) co-workers may vouch for them, there may have been reasons that the employee was let go during the layoffs. There may still be some bad blood there and rehiring can have negative effects on moral. In some instances, lesser employees may be hired because of a feeling of familiarity with the company they were let go by.

The lesson here is that while done right, rehiring can be a great idea, many other factors need to be taken into account--and it should never be done in haste.

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