A boomerang(ex-employee) is a hire who has worked with your company before.
He/she left for whatever reason and has come back to your company once again to fill a relevant position.
In the past, employers simply didn’t rehire former employees. Once someone left a company, they were gone for good.
Today, however, it’s a different story.
The hiring landscape is more competitive, and people stay in their jobs for much less time than they used to.
I think it is important to understand the importance of boomerang(ex-employee) hiring as the job industry has drastically changed in the last 10 years or so with more millennials entering the workforce too.
For both workers and employers, the boomerang(ex-employee) represents “a positive development,” says Karen Dillon, coauthor of several best-selling books.
(Also read – 9 tips for hiring tech talent as a growing startup)
Company loyalists are very hard to come by as there are so many interesting opportunities in the market in terms of compensation or role.
However, sometimes, a company a professional worked for before may seem attractive again.
Here are some interesting finds from a 2015 study commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and WorkplaceTrends.com which surveyed 1800+ human resources (HR) professionals, people managers, and employees in the U.S:
- Almost half the HR professionals said although they had a policy against rehiring employees who left in good standing, close to 76 percent say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees now.
- In the five years prior to the survey, 85 percent of the HR professionals had received applications from former employees; about 40 percent had re-hired half.
- About 33 percent of HR professionals and 38 percent managers said the biggest advantage of hiring these employees was their familiarity with the company culture; 1/3 felt that the comeback kids need lesser training.
Benefits of rehiring former employees (ex-employee)
- The time taken to assess candidates is usually lesser. Unless the skill they’ve acquired in their time away from your company has been vast and different, you’d know almost everything about them.
- They’re less likely to fail. If the boomerang was a performer, then you are assured of a good fit in your company. Furthermore, the candidate also knows what the particular role in your company means and would have applied with the knowledge of his/her aptitude for the job.
- They’re likely to have a competitive edge. This is especially true if they’ve worked for another company in the same industry. They would bring a fresh perspective to the organization with rich interim experiences.
- They will most likely be culture fits. This is on the condition that your company’s culture has also remained the same. They understand the DNA of your company and their work will be in sync with it.
- They might be easy to retain. Having seen something of the other firms in the same industry, a boomerang would find some kind of an intangible appeal in your company if they are asking for another shot. Keeping them shouldn’t be as hard as it was. You should remember they are likely to be more productive and engaged and, of course, they contribute to some great PR!
- As former employees, boomerang hires understand the context of their previous employer but have also had a chance to bring competitive intelligence and even potentially new clients.
Thinking of rolling out a boomerang(ex-employee) hiring strategy?
There are many ways organizations can begin to cultivate their boomerang talent pools:
Create an alumni community
Organizations can learn from universities – creating online communities can help engage alumni and allow an organization to showcase how they are evolving and growing. It can also be used to promote vacancies, particularly those which require specialist knowledge which may be of particular interest to alumni.
Promote to regretted leavers
Internal resourcing teams can actively connect with regretted leavers to highlight the opportunities available and discuss options.
DaVita achieved such high boomerang figures due to taking a particularly proactive approach – when an employee is in the process of leaving them, the manager inputs whether he or she is eligible for rehire.
About a month later, those who receive an email entitled, “You are always welcome here” which presents them with the option of easily being able to connect to the DaVita Alumni Group.
Organizational culture has never been more transparent, online review platforms such as Glassdoor allow past employees to see how organizations have improved and changed.
Whilst still controversial for some, many businesses are leveraging their alumni talent pool to their advantage.
As we enter bonus season in some geographies, a time period that historically sees increased attrition, consider how boomerang hires can form part of your resourcing strategy.
I think the industry needs to understand the possibility of such resources.
Back in the day, people who leave a company were considered “traitors” and having them back in a company would have not even been an option.
But the times, they’re a changing.
With fierce competition and hard-to-please employees, it is important to keep in touch and network with your valuable employees, even after they leave your company.
Who knows, they can be your employees again, and good ones at that.
Every candidate, boomerang or not, brings different strengths and weaknesses to the position at hand.
However, with a boomerang(ex-employee), the hiring manager has a wealth of information at their fingertips that they don’t have for other candidates.
Equal weight thought, and time should be given to boomerang candidates and brand new candidates in order to ensure the best possible hire.
(You may also like – Why employees frequently switch jobs and how to retain them)