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5 Ways to Rehire and Reboard Laid-Off Employees


If the 11.1% U.S. unemployment rate is any indication, many great employees have been let go in the past few months due to the COVID-19 crisis. But as businesses reopen their doors, employers are wondering whether they should rehire the people they laid off or start the recruiting process from scratch.

There are several advantages to rehiring. In fact, former staff (often called “boomerangs”) make some of the best hires – they’re already familiar with your organization, your company culture, and all the nuances of how your business operates. However, in today’s unique circumstances, re-recruiting requires some additional considerations. Here are five ways to effectively rehire and reboard laid-off employees:


  1. Show compassion: In these truly unprecedented times, compassion and empathy go a long way when trying to rehire staff. Be understanding of each person’s unique situation and know that there is no cookie-cutter formula for winning over previous team members. If you aren’t operating in a remote environment, you’ll also want to assuage your rehires’ concerns about their health and safety during COVID-19.


  1. Be objective: Let’s say you laid off a large number of employees and you feasibly can’t bring back every single person. What do you do? It can be tempting to rehire those with whom you have a personal relationship, for instance, but you will need to take an unbiased approach. Identify the positions you need to fill and choose the candidate or candidates who are best suited for that specific job. You can always keep runners-up in your talent pipeline and bring them aboard when you need to hire again.


  1. Follow formal hiring processes: Although you might have a dire need for headcount, don’t be tempted to bypass standard hiring protocols. Require potential rehires to submit a job application and interview them – even if you are set on rehiring someone, holding a brief interview can help you gauge their willingness to return to their job and resolve any concerns they may have. And, don’t forget to ensure your boomerangs complete all the necessary paperwork upon returning.


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  1. Offer adequate compensation: It may take more than a fair salary to convince former staff to return to their positions. In addition to monetary compensation, consider other perks and benefits you can offer rehires (and the rest of your staff, too). Sweeten the deal with extra PTO, a performance bonus, or a more flexible schedule. Even a small gesture – like sending rehires a company “swag bag” with branded items to welcome them back – can make a difference.


  1. Retrain and cross train: As you reboard rehires, you’ll need to get them up to speed with changes in company processes and procedures and provide training for any new job duties. Even if your boomerangs are coming back to the same role, this is a great opportunity to cross-train them. Are there other skills or tools they can learn as they refresh their memory? By cross training your team, you’ll have more business agility and can deploy staff into other areas when needed.

While every business and every employee’s situation are different, starting with this advice will help you rehire and reboard previously laid-off staff as efficiently as possible.

If you need to tap into a new talent pool, check out iHire’s industry-focused talent communities.

by: Kristina Kelly
July 23, 2020