Does returning to a company you once left sound weird to you? Well, it’s not an absurd thing.
We have a term for such employees who leave an employer only to join back after some time – they are called boomerang employees. Hiring these boomerangers can be an excellent way reducing stress related to grooming new people.
To rehire or not to rehire? That’s the big question. To answer this highly pertinent question, we first need to understand why an employee leaves and what makes them think about rejoining the organization.
Why do people leave their employers?
Typically, an employee may leave an organization for the following reasons:
- Better opportunities for career growth and better pay
- Exploring new roles or industries
- Personal reasons, including medical needs
The exit may not always result in bad terms with the employer, which can be great news when organizations consider hiring ex-employees.
Boomerang employees: Pros and cons
Losing an employee is almost always a costly affair for the employer. Not only do they lose a well-trained employee, but the time and costs associated with finding a suitable replacement also involve high stakes.
Rehiring former employees can have several benefits. These include:
- Cost- and time-efficiency: If your pool of former employees is readily available to you, you don’t need to scout for fresh candidates. You can always look at hiring from this pool of ex-employees. Hiring a boomerang employee reduces the onboarding time. The cost and time devoted to training also get reduced considerably, as the former employee already knows how the organization works.
- Better performance: Boomerang employees are usually already aware of the organizational culture, processes, systems, and people. They are already aware of how things work in the organization. Their prior experience and knowledge can help them perform better than the new hires. It becomes easier for these employees to collaborate with cross-functional teams and navigate different communication channels to get the work done.
- New insights and an expansive network: Former employees bring in new insights and inside information about the organizations they worked with during their time away from their current employer. They can be a great source of knowledge for the company. These boomerangers join back with a much more expansive network and can, in turn, bring some fresh talent to the organization.
Rehiring a former employee does have its own set of issues as well. Unfortunately, some of these disadvantages may not make them a lucrative option for many employers:
- Rigidity: The former employees may be rigid about their working methods and may remain loyal to old ideas. An ex-employee may bring back with them past frictions and grudges.
- People change: While boomerangers may bring their legacy to the workplace, with time, people change, and so does their performance. And hence, stellar performance in the past may not be a surety in their new innings.
- Workplaces change: As people change over time, workplaces also change, and hence, to assume that one is returning to all old processes and systems would be wrong. It may require some attitude change from the ex-employee, who should embrace the organizational changes with open arms.
Boomerang hiring strategy
Given the pros and cons of boomerang employees, the hiring strategy for them needs to be different from the general hiring process.
The seeds of a successful boomerang hiring strategy are sown in the exit strategy of the organization. Treating an employee well during their exit paves the way for a possible future return. It won’t be wrong to say that it is all about building bridges with them rather than building walls.
It is essential to keep your doors open to former employees while maintaining a healthy network as an employer. It is a pool of talents groomed by you, which can yield the best results in your favor.
When it comes to boomerang employee interviews, the process is slightly different. The discussions must focus on their reasons for quitting the organization and their willingness to rejoin. Like any other candidate, it would be pertinent to understand what they have done during their time away from the organization and how they have added to their existing skills.
How to handle boomerang employees
Boomerang employees should be treated as new hires because of these very critical reasons:
- Onboarding – Though they may need less time to settle in the organization due to their previous experience and know-how, they must undergo the same onboarding as a new hire. It is imperative because, with time, processes and policies change.
- Transparency – Maintaining transparency and setting clear expectations while hiring is important as it forms the basis of a long haul with the organization.
The benefits of boomerang hiring for an employer depend on how the organization approaches the whole idea of rehiring former employees and how it turns the opportunity in its favor.
Yes. They can navigate the organization easily, resulting in less time to exhibit productivity.
No. It is complex as the organization needs to maintain equity with the existing employees.
One can generally expect an increased commitment towards the employer from such employees.