Good Leavers = Best New Staff?

November 13, 2017

Did you know some of your best new staff could be those that have already worked for you?

Wouldn’t it be great if your new starters already knew your clients and your organisation and you had complete confidence they would fit right in? Well, they can be if you entice back your ‘good leavers’.

Who are good leavers?

All care employers will have good leavers – someone they are sorry to lose. It is a common reaction from a manager to ‘write off’ someone who hands in their notice and focus on replacing them. This can be a mistake. In tests in the US care market, up to 30% of good leavers returned within six months when they were regularly contacted by their manager and told they were missed. This system of staying in touch with leavers and asking if they would like to return was repeated here in the UK and similar results were found.

What made them quit?

Why would leavers come back in such high numbers? Staff leave for many reasons. There are cases where staff have been nagged into leaving by a partner or spouse who is being inconvenienced by the work hours or continuous requests to step in to cover shifts. Perhaps they feel their partner is unappreciated. In other situations, good staff leave for a pay rise and regret their decision, but feel too embarrassed to ask to come back.

Reaching out

Whilst it is most successful to activate your messages soon after staff leave, it is possible to go back through your personnel records to review all leavers in the past year and identify those you were sorry to lose, if you still have their contact details. The most effective messages focus on the relationship staff had with those they cared for, especially if you can pass on that their clients or residents miss them.

Text messages and postcards to their home work well, as do phone calls. If you speak to the ex-employee, why not arrange to meet for a coffee to see how they are getting on? There have been examples in other sectors where meeting ex-employees in this way has resulted in a higher percentage of them agreeing to return to work. Even if the ex-employee is unable or unwilling to return, why not ask them if they know anyone who might be interesting in joining?

Putting in place a simple programme to keep the door open to those that have left after good service, is a smart move. Why not action it this week?

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Neil Eastwood

Author and Recruitment Specialist

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