What is a Boomerang Employee?

Jan 30, 2020 | Blog

What is a boomerang employee? A boomerang employee is an employee who leaves a company they work for, but then later returns to work for the company once again.

It seems to be occurring more and more lately. While some managers may feel that the employee demonstrated a certain disloyalty when they moved to another company, there are of course tons of reasons why people leave, including the desire to further their career, learn new skills, make more money, explore other industries, pursue a passion, handle a life event (such as a spouse’s relocation, caring for a child, or a medical condition), and much more. 

When factoring all of that in, it may be perfectly reasonable to consider hiring boomerang employees, and many recruiters are embracing the benefits of doing so by actively keeping the lines of communication open. 

From creating Alumni groups filled with former employees, to simply reaching out and asking if some employees would be interested in coming back, many organizations have changed the way they think about and stay connected to former employees. According to an article from SHRM, one of the top three business drivers of remaining involved with former employees is talent acquisition.

Here are a few reasons you may consider maintaining a relationship with potential boomerang employees: 

  1. Cost. While you may of course be offering a boomerang employee a higher salary than when they left, you should also consider where you may be significantly saving money with them. The costs to get oriented and acclimated to company culture will be reduced, there will likely be less time spent for the employee to reach their full productivity capacity, and the entire hiring process may be cut up to 50 percent compared to other unknown applicants, according to Glassdoor. 
  2. Less speculation. You already have an idea of how they’ll fit inside your company culture. Considering that this is an unknown when you hire completely new candidates, hiring a boomerang employee instead means that you know exactly how former employees fit in at both the organization, and how they worked with numerous individuals.
  3. New perspective. Spending time with another company or in another city in order to advance their career has likely given your boomerang employee valuable experience during the time they were gone. They may return to you with a new skill set, more leadership experience, or even experience and insights into how other companies handle situations that could benefit your company.

On the other hand, there may be a couple reasons to avoid boomerang employees:

  1. Personality. Did they add positively to your company culture, or did they take away? There’s no need to consider hiring them back if their individual results were great but their personality hinders the productivity of the rest of your team.
  2. Best fit. Make sure you’re not discounting other excellent candidates just to make a boomerang employee work. While it’s true that boomerang employees might have an advantage over other candidates, if they’re not the best person for the job, keep your options open and look for the best.

All in all, hiring boomerang employees can have many benefits to your company, and bridges don’t have to be burned just because an employee moves on to other opportunities or areas of focus. As an employer, it’s critical that you give every employee a reason to stay in the first place… and a reason to want to return. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to The CTCS Group for HR assistance at (770) 282-2304.

Chris Thomas, SHRM-SCP is the Principal Consultant with The CTCS Group in Canton, GA. The CTCS Group is focused on providing HR Leadership, Behavioral Assessments, and Consulting to help small businesses grow and thrive. You can subscribe to this blog or request a free consultation at www.thectcsgroup.com.

Disclaimer: The information and recommendations provided in this document should not be considered legal advice and should not substitute for legal advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. Recommendations are provided based on good faith assessment and interpretation of the available legal and regulatory resources.

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