What is a boomerang employee? A recent study by Paychex indicates that many people who left jobs during the Great Resignation, now regret it. Reasons for regret include missing coworkers and a failure to find a better work-life balance. Some employees also had personal situations that required them to leave (such as a lack of childcare) that were later resolved. The regret about leaving a job has resulted in an increase in boomerang employees. This is someone who leaves and then returns to the workplace, either in a new position or the same one.
The Benefits of a Boomerang Employee
Boomerang employees can be a huge benefit to an organization. They are familiar with the company’s culture, policies and practices. Therefore, they need less socialization and training than people starting from scratch. Although some managers may worry that someone who left a company once will do so again, boomerang employees might actually show more loyalty to the company when they return. They’ve explored what’s out there and decided that this is the organization for them. Boomerang employees can also bring new perspectives acquired in other work environments back with them.
How to Attract Boomerang Employees
The best way to attract return employees is to stay in contact with employees who leave. This can be done in an informal way by encouraging managers and co-workers to continue talking to former employees, or by adding them to your communications about potential jobs. Consider former employees as one of the key places to reach out with new job opportunities.
Having an offboarding process that stresses mutual respect and a desire to learn from their experiences at the organization is another great way to ensure that people remain open to returning. Managers should ask employees about their reasons for leaving and learn what might encourage them to return.
Handling involuntary layoffs with the greatest amount of consideration and empathy can keep your reputation as an employer in tact, and help encourage return employees when times are better.
Issues to Consider
While boomerang employees can be a great asset, no organization wants to be a revolving door for employees. Before offering a former employee a new job, it’s important to make sure that both you and the employee have a clear sense of why they left. You need to both know if that issue has been resolved. If your policies distribute vacation time or bonuses based on tenure, you will need to have a clear, equally-applied policy about how leaving and returning to the company affects someone’s tenure and seniority. Although you might not need to undergo a full orientation process for a returning employee, there will still be changes and updates that the employee needs to know.
It can be hard not to take employees leaving personally. Sometimes it might feel easier emotionally to simply consider employee departures as permanent. But boomerang employees can be a valuable resource for your organization.