You know you should have a plan for when an employee leaves; but what if they want to return?
In my 40+ year career as a physician, I had two employees who left asked to come back to their previous employment in the practice. The first was an employee who left to take care of a family member. When the family member passed away, the employee asked if they could return to the position they had. The second was an employee who wanted to work for a pharmaceutical company. They were trained by pharma and went into the field and couldn’t handle the pressure and monitoring by their district manager. Ultimately, they decided that the pharmaceutical sales representative was too stressful and asked to return to my practice. In both situations, I accepted the employees return.
I have written a blog about the Great Resignation where employees leave because of burnout, higher salary, and more benefits. For many healthcare workers the pandemic was exhausting, anxiety-provoking, and stressful. Many of those who turned in their resignations are now interested in returning to the healthcare sector that they left a few years ago. Many didn’t realize that when they changed jobs, they were experiencing different kinds of stress and that they didn’t have the safety net of the cocoon of being in a healthcare environment.
I would like to point out some of the advantages to considering the boomerang employee who wishes to return.
First, these boomerang employees become acclimated quickly. They know the process of caring for patients and need little retraining. Perhaps there is some new technology that has been implemented in the practice since they left, and they need training on the procedures and the new software for managing patients.
Secondly, there are no surprises for the returning employee. There is no buyer’s remorse as they know what to expect. Often a boomerang employee will have a greater appreciation for the medical practice since they have sampled the real world outside of healthcare.
Finally, the old employer knows what they are getting. They won’t have any surprises. They know the returning employee’s strengths and weaknesses they day that they return to the practice. This represents less risk for the employer as they know from the first day that they return what to expect in terms of productivity and following directions and requests.
Bottom Line: I think if employers understand what motivates the employee to return and if the reasons that they departed are reasonable, accepting a previous employee may have benefits and advantages to the practice.
Neil Baum, MD, a Professor of Clinical Urology at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Baum is the author of several books, including the best-selling book, Marketing Your Medical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, which has sold over 225,000 copies and has been translated into Spanish.