More firms rehire past staff

Japan news April 2017

In the parlance of the Japanese corporate world, demodori shain means an employee who has left the business and then returned. The 8 March edition of the Nikkan Gendai reported that recent data from a recruitment agency noted that such individuals now count for about 10% of mid-career placements.

The biggest reason for returning to a former employer, as stated by some 67% of those queried, resulted from an approach made by the president, director or a former boss. Another 33% attributed the reason to private contacts with former co-workers, while 20% said they were willing to return following the departure of previous management.

The issue of returning employees has been attracting attention lately since firms are increasingly seen as understaffed.

Indeed, a recent Teikoku Data Bank survey of 23,796 firms revealed that the number of regular staff is considered insufficient by 43.9% of respondents—a rise of 6% compared with a survey conducted six months earlier.

But Nobuya Tezuka, editor of a publication that covers demodori, cautioned that the practice of re-employing former staff is not necessarily right for everyone.

“For example, even if a firm is having difficulties due to a shortage of employees, we can’t suggest that individuals who did not perform well in their previous stint at the firm be rehired”, he said. “The ideal person [to rehire] is one who acquired experience at another firm or in a different field, before realising that, ‘Well, my previous firm suited me the best’”.

For the employer, returning workers are especially desirable if they picked up a degree or certification and developed personal contacts after having left the firm.

“However, such returnees need to be carefully screened before they are rehired”, advised personnel consultant Kozo Sugano. “Two things that need to be considered”, he continued, “are: will the employee be able to perform their job at the previous level, and is he in good physical condition? Further, unless they were missed by co-workers after they had left, their return might be resented, causing dissatisfaction among existing staff.

“So, while a returnee might be content to come back to the post they held when previously at the firm, it may be better to use them to start a new operation. If such an individual is able to harness the new experiences and insights picked up while he was were employed elsewhere, then co-workers will fall into line”, Sugano added.

“The best tasks for returnees to undertake, therefore, might not be in their previous positions, but in completely different projects”.