Sometimes even the best employees quit because they wonder what it might be like to work for another company. Perhaps, they want a better salary, more benefits, or a change of scenery. In some cases, they might leave to start their own businesses.

When that happens, these former employees may discover that the grass isn’t greener after all. They may start wishing they’d stayed with your company. It’s a double-edged sword: You lost a good employee and they find themselves in a job they dislike but are afraid you’ll reject them if they try coming back.

But there’s something you can do to benefit both of you. Consider leaving the door open to valuable employees who leave the company. During exit interviews, let them know that you value them and that if things don’t work out, they can return with no loss of seniority, pay or benefits.

Of course, only employees with a proved record of productivity and dependability should be invited back -after all, the departure of some workers is a blessing rather than a loss.

If you think you’d like to start a selective open door policy, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the policy verbal. It should be an informal verbal understanding, rather than a written policy.
  • Limit the offer. A reasonable time limit should be set, depending on factors such as the current job market and the nature of the former employee’s old job. Typically, a month or two up to a maximum of six months works well.
  • Be cautious. Make the offer only to exceptional employees who have good working relationships with other people in the company.

Give it a try

Everyone loses when respected employees leave your company and then realize they made a mistake. You wind up spending time and money searching for people with their skills and training them, while the former employees stay in jobs they don’t want or go back on the job-hunting trail.

An open door policy won’t solve all your turnover problems, but it can help bring back employees you didn’t want to lose in the first place. And when they return, they’re likely to be grateful you were there with open arms.