“Boomerang” employees are workers who leave an organization and then come back a few months (or even years) later. Depending on their reasons for leaving and what they’ve been doing in the meantime, these returning employees can bring major benefits to your company. Here are three big benefits to re-hiring employees, and a few cautionary notes:
- Improved morale
Talented employees are constantly being recruited and headhunted by your competitors, and it can be painful to watch these workers jump ship for a more tempting situation. When they return, it sends the validating message that your organization is actually the best thing going right now. According to Winston Binch, chief digital officer and partner at Deutsch LA, “Our boomerangs prove to us all that we’re on to something, that what we’re doing is noteworthy, and it’s worth sticking around for.”
- Cost savings
It requires fewer resources to source, recruit, and onboard a former employee than someone who’s entirely unfamiliar with your company. You may not even need to use a recruiter, and a boomerang employee can save you time and money by being ready to hit the ground running.
- Fresh skills and energy
If your employee left their position with your company in order to pursue a passion, gain new skills, or try their hand at building a startup, they will have grown and changed during their absence. When they return, they are likely to bring fresh talent, knowledge, and networking contacts to your company.
While hiring boomerang employees is usually a net plus, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls in this practice. If an employee left due to personality conflicts, and the problems stopped as soon as they were gone, it’s not worth taking a chance on reintroducing a source of disruption. Likewise, if the employee was not performing exceptionally well at the time of departure, they need to have a clear explanation regarding what factors interfered with their previous performance, and why things are different this time.
As companies recognize the benefits that boomerang employees bring with them, these returning workers are being welcomed back in far greater numbers than they once were. Seventy-six percent of HR professionals note that they have become more open to re-hiring previous employees than they used to be, while 56 percent say they now give high priority to former employees who left in good standing, according to a Kronos survey. Judicious rehiring of good workers is increasingly recognized as a way to bring fresh energy and value to your organization.