What Are Boomerang Employees?
Boomerang employees are people who have left the company, worked for a different employer (or started their own business), and then came back. In the past, employers simply did not rehire former employees. Today, according to Accountemps, 98% of human resource professionals are open to hiring former employees, mostly due to the current shortage of qualified talent. Boomerangs can be valuable assets when rehired the right way.
Understand Why They Left: A 2-Step Process
Step 1: Learn the Reasons
- They believed the grass was greener somewhere else.
- The job or career path didn’t fit them.
- Career advancement was limited.
- They blamed their former boss for their problems.
- They wanted a better paycheck and/or benefits.
- They needed to relocate due to family, partner or other factors.
Step 2: Were there any bridges burned that can’t be repaired? This is critical. If they left on a negative note, blamed others or didn’t do their job well, they may have a very difficult time showing that they have changed. Other issues, including theft and drugs, are usually nonnegotiable.
When considering rehiring boomerangs, listen to both the cheerleaders and naysayers on your staff regarding the person’s return. However, be careful about relying 100% on their input. Too often, the cheerleaders want someone who is known while the naysayers are afraid of changing the current status quo.
The Value of Rehiring Boomerang Employees
New Skills. Former employees can be great assets when they can bring updated industry skills, new networks and the fresh insights needed to take your company to the next level. They also can bring a competitive edge if there is a mutual willingness and attitude to move forward.
Faster Training. Most new hires take 6 to 18 months before they are fully trained for their position. By rehiring boomerang employees, you may save time and money, depending on their willingness to adapt to any changes.
Cultural Awareness. Learning the dos and don’ts is often a new hire’s biggest challenge. When you rehire a boomerang employee, they often already know what to expect from your company.
Reengage Current Employees. If the boomerang employee was well-liked and respected, bringing them back can be a big morale booster. The fact they are willing to come back also speaks well of the employer. The lessons they learned can remind any current top talent who are thinking about leaving that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.
Don’t Shortchange the Selection and Onboarding Process
Conduct Complete Due Diligence – As You Would for Any Unknown Candidate. Whether they are coming back as a full-time, part-time or contract employee, use the same strategic application and interview process you would for lesser-known candidates. Talk through today’s goals, vision and workplace expectations. Remember, your company has evolved. Just because the boomerang employee was a top performer in the past does not mean they can perform at the same level now.
Take the Blinders Off – Nobody Stays the Same Forever. Clarity is key. Collect as much objective data as possible. Use qualified assessment tools to help determine job fit today. Remember, the challenge isn’t what you can see and remember — it’s what you don’t see or have forgotten about.
Prepare Them for Success – Change Is Inevitable. While boomerang employees may understand change conceptually, they may not be fully prepared. During the onboarding process, review the organization’s changes – good and bad, written and unwritten. Review the mission, values, systems, procedures, culture, company direction, employees, products, services, vendors and clients. Assign them an internal mentor who can help them navigate changes that may not be readily apparent.
When you rehire boomerang employees the right way, they can often become your greatest asset.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2015-2017
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