James quit his job as a contractor for HP to leave for a better-paying position. His performance was exemplary, and the only reason he left was a new opportunity. Six years later, the individual who replaced him in his contract position hired him back to be part of the team.
“We knew Jim’s work and his work ethic, he already knew our company culture and expectations, and since he’d already set himself up to work remotely, we were sure he could be a valuable part of our team once again,” Tom told us.
James and Tom’s story has become a familiar one. Companies, formerly loathing to rehire former employees regardless of why they left, are now seeking those employees out to fill empty positions. This method of recruitment is called boomerang hiring, and during the “Great Resignation,” it has become the salvation of more than one company. In fact, companies like Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, and others have also engaged in boomerang hiring and recruitment.
Often in the past when an employee left a company, it was typically never to return. Managers would often remove their contact information and pull them from databases, even marking them ineligible for rehire.
However, the internet has changed that. We stay connected through LinkedIn and other professional sites, and managers and companies are more likely to stay in touch. That’s understandable when the average person only stays at a job an average of 4.2 years, and a new survey shows that for Gen Z, that number is likely to be even lower.
In fact, it breaks down like this:
As long as the employee left on good terms, there’s no reason not to hire them back, especially in today’s competitive market.
Depending on how long it has been since the employee left, an employer can save a lot of time and money by rehiring them. There are several reasons:
If an employer is still in touch with that former employee, even better. It saves them the cost of recruitment and the interviewing and selection process. If the employee agrees to come back, they are also less likely to leave again.
Usually, a boomerang employee left for good reason: a new job opportunity (like James), the need to move or relocate, or the need to take care of family. Maybe they just saw a new opportunity in a different field they couldn’t pass up.
If an employee left because they were disgruntled or unhappy, they are much less likely to return. However, it would be a mistake to discount those employees as well. The Great Resignation is a result of a shift in career priorities and intentions, and your employee may have had a change in life circumstances, or even miss the good things about your company.
It’s easier for them to take on a job they already know at a company they are familiar with. There is less stress, more opportunity for advancement, and they may even ask for higher pay on their return than the rate they left at.
Hiring boomerang employees can be a win-win situation for human resources and the employee. But are there drawbacks?
There are some key things for hiring managers to consider when bringing former employees back:
Still, if the employee ticks all the right boxes and has all the skills needed for the job, there’s no reason not to bring them back to be part of the team.
“James has been back at our company for over a year now,” Tom told us. “We’re glad to have him back, and we’re even prepping him for a new position and a promotion.”
COVID caused many employers to turn to boomerang employees as a solution. Former workers offered an opportunity to not bring new people into the company when hiring and training remotely presented new challenges, but instead re-integrate experienced ones. But even with COVID cases on the decline in many locations, boomerang hiring remains popular, and may for quite a while.
And as long as employers will have them and former employees are willing to come back, boomerang hiring presents and unique and timely solution to a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.