During the week, two of the world’s biggest football clubs went head to head in Europe’s premier football competition, the Champions League. Real Madrid’s charismatic coach, Jose Mourinho, said ‘the world will stop’ for this anticipated football match. The pre match talk was not just about Manchester United versus Real Madrid, but the return of a former employee (and star) of Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo was playing his first competitive match in the home of his former employers, Manchester United.
The emotions that Cristiano Ronaldo expressed throughout the night to the fans, his former colleagues and to his former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson has raised speculation that he could possibly make a return to Manchester United at some stage in the future.
This got me thinking about the idea of a former employee, no matter what their profession, returning to a previous employer. Is it a good idea to return to a former employer?
To ensure that this is even a reality, advice I would always give to a professional before handing in their notice is to:
- Make sure you handle the process professionally and do not risk ‘burning any bridges’.
- Ensure you leave the door well and truly ‘ajar’ because you never know when your paths may cross again.
- Maintain a high level of professionalism whilst working your notice.
- Ensure, to the best of your ability, an exit strategy has been agreed so that the business can continue as normal, with minimum fuss, after you have left.
- Not taking ‘cheap shots’ at former management or your peer group during an exit interview, despite any frustrations you may have had at the time!
There are two sides to this coin, so advice I would give to an employer when someone is leaving their business:
- Try to remove all personal feelings when an employee leaves, for whatever their reasons. You should feel that if a talented individual walks out the door, they may wish to return if in fact the ‘grass was not as green’ in their next role.
- If they do consider coming back they may have improved professionally during this time, making them even more of an asset potentially to your company in the future!
So, time moves on and your paths do in fact cross again. Should you (the former employee) go for it?
Employees Considering a Former Employer:
It can sound very inviting, and possibly flattering to consider returning to an employer you previously worked with. It can depend on the circumstances. Money can be a big lure and an attraction. Is the role worthwhile? Is it a position that will progress your career immediately or in the very near future? It is always important to remember why you left, and have these circumstances changed somewhat? Ultimately moving back to the same company, in the same role, for the same money might not be a big attraction. You really need to consider all of the pull factors.
Employers Considering a Former Employee:
I have found that an ex-employer will always be open to the idea of a former employee returning, once the person was an excellent worker and finished amicably at the time. Simply, they know more about what they are getting with this individual rather than someone they perhaps interviewed just once or twice!
So, what of Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United?
Should Manchester United take back Cristiano Ronaldo? If the circumstances were right, I would have to say ‘yes’? He departed in very amicable circumstances; he never ‘burned any bridges’! He has improved and is technically a better ‘employee’ now, than the time he left!
But will Cristiano Ronaldo return to his former employer? I think he would need to ask the obvious question that every former employee must ask; why did he leave in the first place? Was it the lure of money or working for what he felt was an ‘employer of choice’? Was it location? Maybe when he looks into this he may not see any of the desired pull factors to return. Or perhaps since leaving Old Trafford, despite all his successes, he has found that the grass was not quite as green after all!!
As a Manchester United fan, here’s hoping!!