Nick Ang

I work in a company where people rejoin after quitting

September 20, 2018

people working laughing over laptop at cafe nick ang blog Not my colleagues, but this scene is totally normal in Smartly.io

I just wanted to tell the world how cool I think that is. Why would people rejoin after quitting, all things considered?

Here are some immediate problems with rejoining a company from a not-particularly-imaginative mind:

  • Your colleagues may think that you think you’re special, leaving and coming back as though you own the place
  • Depending on how you left, some colleagues may have resentment towards you for leaving them and leading to periods where the team was shorthanded
  • Your employer, out of ego or business reasons, might take advantage of you by refusing to give you the salary you used to get, because they think you want them more than they want you
  • Your career progression might be stifled going forward if your employer holds the belief that you’re not going to stay for longer since you’ve already left once

The list can be much longer, but this is already enough, I think, to show why it is usually extremely rare for people to return to a company that they’ve resigned from.

Smartly.io, the company I currently work in, is obviously doing many things right for an ex-employee to feel safe enough to return to being under their employment. It’s quite remarkable, really, that this could happen and has happened a few times already in the company’s five-year history.

Another sign of the company doing things right is evident from the fact that employee turnover is extremely low. There are still many people around today who were here four and five years ago.

And when the occasional person puts in their resignation, it’s quite common that they do a company-wide ping on our internal communications platform to inform everyone about it, and they usually share their reasons for leaving as they say goodbye. Isn’t that amazing?

To me, this whole experience is new and refreshing and the way I wish things would be at every company. But it is not. This is a gem in the rough.

The people in the leadership team here have a very good understanding of what it means to be human. They know that a price tag cannot be put on good company culture (examples: one and two) and all-around great vibes in the organisation, so they put a lot of effort into maintaining that as we step firmly into the growth stage.

From the returning employee’s point of view, it is obviously working.


Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash.


Nick Ang © 2020

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