Hire a Boomerang!
No, no, no! I don’t mean the device you throw and that’s supposed to come back to you. I mean a human boomerang.
What’s a human boomerang? That’s someone who left your company for supposedly greener pastures but found himself standing in the same brown stuff as before and is now ready to come back. Even if the grass was greener when he or she left, times change and the grass may now be less green where the person is now.
It doesn’t hurt to call someone whom you were sorry to lose and see what the person is up to. Maybe he’s happy as a clam and maybe not. If he’s happy, be happy for him and tell him to give you a call if things change. You may or may not have a spot for him when he calls but it’s worth the try. On the other hand, if he isn’t particularly happy where he is now, have a chat.
Like a boomerang, the person may come back. It’s a win-win for everyone. He’s happy to be back in an environment he’s familiar with and you’re happy to have a performer back in the fold.