It’s a phrase that’s becoming more and more common in the workplace in 2022 as employees return to their former companies once again.
Let’s take a look at the key things businesses need to know about boomerang employees: who they are, why they’re on the rise, their pros and cons, and some tips for companies considering bringing them on board.
What is a Boomerang Employee?
The term boomerang employee refers to an employee who has been rehired at a company they have worked for previously.
There are many reasons an employee may wish to return to a company they’ve worked for in the past, especially when their initial reasons for leaving were independent of the work environment or company culture.
Some of these reasons might include things like relocation, a decision to stop working for some period of time, or the opportunity to advance their career elsewhere.
Why are Boomerang Employees on the Rise?
In the past year, the percentage of boomerang employees working for a company has risen from 3.9 to 4.5 percent: And in the current labor market, it’s not hard to see why.
The post-pandemic exodus of employees from the workplace (aka The Great Resignation) is an ongoing trend that is forcing many hiring managers to think more creatively about how they are sourcing talent: This is causing them to tap into some unconventional sources–including company alumni networks.
And today, this is easier than ever thanks to digital communication tools and social media platforms like LinkedIn.
How Can a Rehired Employee Benefit Your Company?
For one thing, you can save a significant amount of time and money by hiring a former employee versus a brand-new one.
Fast Company reports that “employers save between one-third and two-thirds on recruiting costs when hiring a former employee.”
What’s more, rehires already know what’s expected of them, and assuming they left on good terms, you can rest assured that you’re getting an employee with the technical skills and experience necessary for success.
Ultimately, this greatly reduces the time that elapses between onboarding and production: meaning you can start getting the help you need a lot faster.
Maintain/Build Work Culture
Rehiring an existing employee can also be good for organizational culture. Boomerang employees likely have existing relationships with their coworkers, meaning they will have an easier time adapting to your workplace dynamics.
This goes for relationships outside of your business as well: If your rehire had established a rapport with customers or vendors when they worked for you previously, it should be much easier for them to rekindle those connections versus a new employee who would need to build them from scratch.
Gain a Fresh Perspective
Having worked outside of your organization for a while, boomerang employees will have had the opportunity to see how other businesses manage workflows and handle challenges. The insights they offer can help you to assess what your company is doing well and what it could be doing better.
Are There Any Downsides to Boomerang Employees?
Potential That They Will Leave Again
An employee with prior knowledge of your company can offer plenty of benefits to your organization, but there are a few potential drawbacks to be aware of.
The first concern that might come to mind is that your rehire will wind up looking to leave your company a second time.
To avoid this, be sure to review exit interviews with potential rehires.
Exit interviews–or interviews that are conducted after a staff member has submitted their resignation–are essential to an employee retention strategy as they allow you to identify underlying concerns in your organization that contribute to employee dissatisfaction.
They are also a great starting point for rehire interviews. Reviewing a returning employee’s exit interview critiques gives you the chance to showcase how your organization has listened and responded to the concerns that led them to leave your company in the first place.
Showing your company’s dedication and willingness to accept and respond to criticism can go a long way in preventing your rehire from making the decision to leave your business a second time.
Difficulty Adjusting to Changes
You may also consider whether this employee will have a hard time adjusting to any procedural or organizational changes that have been implemented since they last worked for you.
An employee who is adverse to change or who has a tendency to repeat old habits could potentially disrupt the efficiency of your business or hinder any progress you are making with process improvements.
Be sure to discuss what has changed in your company in the time they have been away, and make it clear that despite old customs and methods, you expect them to be on board with any changes that have been implemented.
We previously mentioned that hiring a boomerang employee could benefit your company culture; however, it’s also important to consider the opposite scenario.
When bringing a former employee back into the workplace, there’s the potential that they will fail to mesh well with new teammates. Moreover, if there are existing tensions between the rehire and other existing employees, it could lead to a resurgence of workplace turmoil.
It’s always a good idea to communicate openly with your existing employees regarding boomerang employees and to take their concerns into consideration when making a rehiring decision.
Tips For Bringing a Rehire Back Onboard
Don’t Skip Onboarding
Having worked for you in the past, the onboarding process for a boomerang employee is much shorter than that of a typical new hire; however, they will still benefit from a refresher course on your company’s standard operating procedures.
Be sure to discuss your expectations during the rehire onboarding process, with emphasis on anything that’s changed since they've been away.
Rehires will require a bit of extra attention in their first few months on the job.
Plan to meet with them regularly to discuss their adjustment back into your workplace, and ensure they have access to any resources they need to refresh specific skills and/or adapt to new expectations.
Alert Existing Employees
Any time new hires are brought on board, there are dynamic shifts in the workplace–and returning employees are no different.
As mentioned previously, it’s important to communicate with your existing workforce prior to the return of a rehire. Make sure your team is on board with helping the returning employee transition back into your workplace and be receptive to any questions or concerns they may have.
Boomerang employees have a lot to offer your organization: They are vetted, qualified candidates with relevant skill sets and an existing knowledge base when it comes to your business practices.
They can also save you money in recruitment costs, and if you need to boost productivity ASAP, there’s no better option than bringing on an employee with work experience that came directly from your organization.
As long as you consider and address the potential challenges and make an effort to transition them back into your workplace smoothly, a boomerang employee can be a great option for your hiring needs.
At FrankCrum, our team of HR experts is ready to guide you through all of your human resource challenges: From onboarding to payroll to workers’ compensation and more.
Contact us today to speak with our team about how FrankCrum can help you achieve your HR goals.