On the Job with Ken Lloyd: Should a Company Rehire Employees Who Quit?
Q: I'm surprised that this company is willing to rehire employees who have quit. It seems to me that they have shown they are disloyal and willing to leave at any time, so I don't see the point of rehiring them. If they quit in the past, I think they are likely to quit again. Shouldn't these employees be the last ones a company would hire?
A: While some employers refuse to rehire former employees, other employers have no such restrictions. In fact, there are some fairly compelling reasons for bringing such "alumni" back into the fold.
For example, if a former employee has outstanding knowledge, skills, and abilities, and if he or she performed with distinction while employed by the company, it would be rather foolish to instantly and automatically remove this person from consideration. Importantly, former employees are a known commodity, free of the risk associated with bringing a total stranger onboard. Although you might think that what you also know about such an employee is that he or she is disloyal, the more likely outcome is that these corporate boomerangs serve as internal emissaries for the company, frequently espousing how much better your company is than others in the marketplace. Rather than being likely to leave, these employees are actually more likely to stick around and encourage others to do so as well.
Your company certainly does not have to rehire every person who left, but there is really no reason to hold a grudge against all of them, as some are undoubtedly excellent. Some may have made a mistake by leaving, while others may have done so due to any number of extenuating personal circumstances. All good candidates are worth a look, even if it is a relook.
Q: I occasionally make suggestions about safety in our offices, but I always get the same reaction from my manager. He says that issues of safety are for more dangerous work environments, and not for business offices. He told me to stop worrying about this and pay attention to my job. Is he right about office safety?
A: When managers ignore safety risks in any environment, including a business office, the likelihood of accidents increases dramatically. Not only should your suggestions about safety be heard and acted upon, many employers would argue that you deserve some formal thanks and even rewards for your safety-related suggestions, especially those that identify potentially hazardous or risky situations.
In a business office, there can be all sorts of unsafe conditions that contribute to accidents, and such accidents can be very serious. Some typical hazards in a business office include spills that are not cleaned up immediately, slippery floors (especially around the entrance on rainy days), sharp edges on desks or partitions, and broken banisters and railings. Even issues related to the dress code can have safety implications, as many employers prohibit open-toed shoes or flip-flops because they are often involved in foot injuries as well as in trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall accidents.