Rehiring laid off employees can have many benefits for your business - benefits that influence how your customers feel about your brand and their willingness to engage with it.
We were reminded of this sentiment recently when Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines, sent out a message to the company’s client base at the end of July 2021. He welcomed customers back to the skies with a tone of care and a ton of benefits.
Most striking was his pledge to rehire hundreds of laid-off employees to the Reservations and Care team by dipping into the Delta Alumni pool. It showed customers that it was about more than just filling positions post-Covid. The company valued their former employees and, through alumni rehire, could provide their customers with better service.
Meeting Customer Demand As Businesses Ramp Up Service
According to the Federal Reserve, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 20% of US workers were either laid-off, furloughed, or began working reduced hours. In that time, many companies invited these ex-employees to join their corporate alumni networks. The networks were a platform to stay in touch as well as an opportunities resource center.
Now, as business starts to pick up across the board once more, many organizations are in the fortunate position of being able to hire again. Demand for their services or products is ramping up, which means they need to bring on extra employees to pick up the pace of work.
For many, this moment has been an opportunity to welcome back workers they didn’t want to lose in the first place.
Besides this win, rehiring laid off employees makes perfect business sense. From the cost perspective, recent studies show the cost to recruit, hire, and train a new employee can range from $4,000 to $7,500 or more. And after more than a year of reduced business, any measure of savings is met with a favorable reception.
Urgency and efficiency is another critical factor as demand rises across sectors. Organizations with an engaged alumni network can bring back former employees and resume business operations much quicker. Rehires can get right back to work with little or reduced training.
Benefits Of Rehiring Laid Off Employees
1. Build Trust With Customers
A special report by Edelman, a global communications firm, showed at least 71% of people agree that “if they perceive that a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever.”
Taking the Delta Airlines example, rather than ‘make do’ with less staff, the company recognized it needed to expand its team to ramp up its customer service. Rehiring laid off employees sent out the message to say that customers will be assisted by qualified people who know the business inside out.
This message also tells the world that the company cares about its people. In turn, this draws positive sentiment to the brand, standing it out in good stead.
2. Get Back To Business As Usual At A Quicker Rate
As businesses return to the new normal, recalling laid-off employees can help to scale work back up at a much faster rate. These people already know the internal systems and processes and don’t require as much training as it does to hire and onboard someone with no prior history.
This goes a long way in meeting customer expectations alongside an improved customer digital experience.
3. A Positive Workplace Culture Shines Through Into Customer Service
In general, rehiring laid off workers has a positive impact on workplace culture. Current employees see that the door to the business remains open, even for those who have left. As a result, they take on the view that the organization is invested in each employee for the long term. This gives them the confidence that the company will similarly not let them down either.
This feeling of goodwill can translate into how employees respond to challenging situations and deal with customers. When people feel engaged and supported at their workplace, they are better equipped to deliver clients a top-rated service. Naturally, excellent customer service plays a big part in immediate and long-term business success.
4. It Saves Costs That Can Be Passed On To The Customer
We have already talked about the savings a business can realize by rehiring former employees over recruiting from scratch. While many former employees may have moved on and taken up other work or opportunities, there’s a good chance that many will welcome the chance to take up their position once more.
This cost saving on the recruitment front can translate into savings for the customer. Lower business expenses mean you can put money into other areas of the business that need it. For example, it could free up cash that can be spent on the digitization of services or investing in employee wellness programs, which ultimately improve the customer experience.
5. It Shows Customers Your Business Is Resilient
Customer loyalty is an organization’s biggest commodity. It is, in part, earned by remaining resilient, leading from the front, and being transparent, especially in turbulent times.
By rehiring laid-off employees, organizations demonstrate a culture of caring and community in a time where both individuals and organizations have had to re-evaluate what they thought were givens.
Rehiring laid off employees does so much in a world fractured by uncertainty and financial and job losses. Companies that rise to the challenge with confidence and speed are the ones that will recapture their markets the fastest.
When it comes to brand building, successful businesses know customers respond favorably when they look after their employees and communicate how they are doing it with care, honesty, and sincerity. This also positions the business to provide better customer service with people who already know its internal workings.
To help customers to retain brand confidence, organizations need to provide continuity in their services. Tapping into their alumni network to bring back former employees is central to doing this.