Embracing ‘Boomerang’ Employees and Getting Top Talent Back

Mar 22, 2024
Applicant Tracking, Employee Onboarding, HR and Recruiting Industry Information, Recruiting Best Practices

One of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is referred to as “the great resignation.” During this time, which began in 2021, employees resigned from their positions en masse. According to some estimates, more than 50 million employees voluntarily left their roles, resulting in a mad scramble for talent.

Some of the factors driving the mass resignation event included a desire for enhanced flexibility, particularly in scheduling, remote or hybrid work, and higher pay. But a percentage of these individuals regretted their decision, resulting in an attempt to return to the company they left behind.

Embracing returning team members was a 2023 hiring trend we discussed on our blog. Now we’re diving into why these employees want to come back, what to consider and the benefits of welcoming them into the fold.

What is a ‘Boomerang’ Employee?

The term “boomerang employee” refers to someone who left their role and came back to the organization. Considering that the average employee tenure with a company is about five years, it makes sense that they might return to a company they worked for previously during their approximate 40-year professional run.

Why Employees Might Return to Previous Employers

A significant portion of those who quit their jobs believe that the previous role was better than their current one. People in this situation might be more excited about a return to their previous employer, which can boost morale and strengthen the company culture.

Other factors influencing decisions to return to previous employers include life situation changes, such as having children or caring for an ill family member or exploring another industry. An employee might choose to pursue a passion, taking time away from work during that period. Some people work seasonally, while others relocate temporarily based on climate conditions. These situations can all lead to boomerang employees.

The Benefits of Embracing Returning Employees

There are certainly benefits that come along with embracing former team members who want to rejoin the company. Some of these advantages include:

  • Familiarity with the expectations, responsibilities and job overall
  • A well-established relationship with the employer, which can boost retention and loyalty
  • An increased likelihood of understanding and aligning with the company culture
  • A less time-consuming onboarding process

Depending on their reasoning for leaving and what they did during the period away, returning employees may bring additional viewpoints and skills that can benefit your company.

Considerations of Rehiring Boomerang Employees

Of course, not every employee who resigned from their role will be a good fit to return. It’s worth considering what they will bring to the team and whether their presence will benefit the organization.

If a former employee left on a negative note, a return could create bad feelings in the workplace. Even remote workers may have trouble with tasks that involve collaboration or delegation from an individual who spoke negatively about the company or participated in other toxic behaviors.

Make sure to consider other applicants before determining whether the previous team member is the best fit. It’s easy to overlook well-qualified candidates when someone who is already trained and familiar with the processes requests to come back.

Understand why the employee chose to leave to get a sense of whether they will be happy working for the company once again. If they felt dissatisfied with aspects of business leadership or team workflows, they might become a higher flight risk if their concerns haven’t been resolved.

Maximize Your Hiring Efforts with ApplicantStack

Whether you choose to bring back boomerang employees or widen the search to include a range of candidates, ApplicantStack can make the hiring process go more smoothly. It includes tools to make communication with candidates easier, keeping everyone on the same page. Plus, you can share your open positions on multiple job posting sites with a single click to cast a wider net.

Take advantage of these and other helpful recruiting and onboarding features built into the platform when you start your free trial.

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