5 Reasons to Hire a Boomerang Employee

Posted on 31 October 2017 by John Dawson in Human Resources

It’s no longer commonplace for an employee to stay with your organisation for their entire career. Nor it is likely they will even have just one career throughout their 45+ years of employment. Today’s best talent wants to be constantly challenged, educated and upskilled. They are open to opportunities in new departments, organisations and even industries. 

And progressive organisations are also less likely to look unfavourably upon individuals that make untraditional moves to advance their career or personal goals - including moving to a competitor, setting up their own business endeavours, or even asking to return to a workplace they previously left. The latter have been coined “Boomerang Employees” by the industry and they’re a valuable asset you should be factoring into your talent pipeline. 

Here are just five reasons why...

1. They “Get” You 

One of the greatest costs of a new recruit is the amount of time and resources required to get them up to speed, not just in the practical sense of their day-to-day role, but also in the smaller, often overlooked, factors of introducing a new face to the team. Someone that already understands the company culture, is aligned with the strategic vision and goals, has met and worked with clients and knows the results the leadership team like to see, will be immeasurably quicker to get into the role and offer optimal productivity. 

2. You Know Their Strengths (and Weaknesses)

Despite everything you learn about a candidate during the recruitment process, you’ll never know exactly where they’ll thrive (and equally where they’ll struggle) until they’re firmly in the role. By recruiting someone who’s been managed by your team, and has a record of previous appraisals, you’ll be far better placed to get the very best out of them when they rejoin. Even if the role they come back to is different from the one they left, their core capabilities will remain the same. 

3. If They Were Great Before...They’re Even Better Now 

By accepting that the best talent won’t stay with you forever and allowing them to embrace new opportunities, you will find they leave on good terms and keep your organisation front of mind for the future. And when they return, they’ll bring with them a wealth of knowledge about a new industry, deeper market insight or even some understanding of competitor practices. All of this can be used to your advantage to up-skill other employees and improve the service you offer. 

4. They Know the Grass Isn’t Always Greener 

An employee that has left to try something new and ended up returning, is far less likely to leave again any time soon. Unsurprisingly, the tenure of boomerang hires tends to be higher than new recruits, since they value the organisation so much, they are willing to swallow their pride and return despite previously saying farewell. 

5. It Can Be a Huge Boost to Staff Morale 

Seeing someone who left to embark on “bigger and better things”, return because it didn’t match the experience they had at your organisation, can have a hugely positive impact on staff morale. The boomerang employee will inevitably spend their first few weeks relaying the horror of realising what a mistake they’d made and filling your team with pride about the wonderful place in which they work!

A bonus tip: You Must Still do Your Due Diligence 

Just because you’ve employed them before, that doesn’t mean you can fast track the recruitment process. Of course, you may be able to progress them through the various stages a little more quickly, but they must all still happen. Partly to make the process fair and inclusive for all applicants, and partly to ensure they didn’t go off the rails in their time away! Make sure their previous employer is on your list of references and check that they speak as fondly of the candidate as you did when they left you!


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