According to a new survey published by accounting staffing agency Accountemps, nearly 98 percent of polled HR managers said that they would be willing to welcome back a returning employee who left on good terms. However, 52 percent of surveyed professionals said that it'd be unlikely they would apply for a job with a former employer.

"Boomerang employees have a shorter learning curve and may require less training, and have already proven themselves and their fit with the organization, so there are fewer surprises," said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps, in a statement. "Companies who part ways unprofessionally or don't take seriously the information they glean from exit interviews could miss out on bringing back someone great."

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HR managers were asked, "How likely is it that you would consider rehiring a former employee who left your company on good terms?" Their responses were thusly:

Very likely

77%

Somewhat likely

21%

Somewhat unlikely

1%

Very unlikely

1%

 

100%

Workers were asked, "How likely is it that you would ever apply for a job at a previous employer?" Their responses were thusly:

Very likely

17%

Somewhat likely

31%

Somewhat unlikely

27%

Very unlikely

25%

 

100%

Workers who said they were unlikely to return were also asked, "What is the primary reason you wouldn't apply for a job at a previous employer?" Their responses:

I didn't like management

23%

I didn't like the corporate culture

14%

I didn't like my job duties

14%

The company burned bridges when I left

10%

The company closed down/doesn't exist anymore

6%

I didn't receive the tools and training to do my job effectively

5%

I burned bridges when I left

5%

The company didn't offer enough pay/salary

5%

I moved/relocated

4%

I want to move forward/advance in my career

3%

I retired/am close to retirement

3%

Other

10%

 

102%*

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

 

"When it comes to rehiring former employees, consider why they left in the first place," Driscoll added. "If they resigned to pursue education, training or a role with more responsibility, having them back may bring new skills and ideas to the organization. On the other hand, those who quit because of dissatisfaction with management, pay or the corporate culture may still be unhappy if they perceive nothing has changed while they were away."    

Accountemps offers the following tips to companies that want to leave the door open for departing employees:   

  • Conduct exit interviews. Get feedback from employees who resign and act on the information if it improves the work environment.
  • Part ways professionally. Avoid isolating those who've given notice. If they are leaving on good terms, treat them as members of the team until they walk out the door for the last time.
  • Communicate intentions. If you think you'd like to rehire exiting employees, let them know they'd be welcomed back. Sometimes the grass isn't greener somewhere else, and they might jump at the chance to return.
  • Stay in touch. Keep in contact with former employees who were top performers. You never know when their situation might change and they'll be in the market for a new job.
  • Consider boomerangs for different roles. If they've gained new skills and experience, they may be better suited for other positions or departments. 

 For more on Accountemps, head to their site here.