Will Boomerang Employees become the next big trend?
A boomerang employee is an employee who resigns from the company and takes up employment elsewhere, before later returning to work for the previous employer. Experts such as Anthony Klotz, the person who predicted ‘The Great Resignation’, has predicted that…
Blog10th Aug 2022
A boomerang employee is an employee who resigns from the company and takes up employment elsewhere, before later returning to work for the previous employer. Experts such as Anthony Klotz, the person who predicted ‘The Great Resignation’, has predicted that the next big trend in hiring is a surge in ‘boomerang employees’, providing opportunity for employers who are struggling to fill open roles.
Boomerang recruitment is common across business consulting companies and the IT sector especially for highly specialist roles, where finding talent is difficult and costly, and is a very effective approach to talent acquisition. In June 2021 researchers interviewed 39 boomerang employees in IT and found that the majority were more satisfied with their jobs when they returned, because their working conditions improved when they negotiated their return.
There are a number of reasons why employees temporarily resign from work including;
- Career progression or development – through a desire to learn new skills, receive higher pay or to move into a more senior position elsewhere
- For a change – to try something different, to explore other industries or roles, or to pursue a passion
- To focus on a major life event – such as relocation, to provide care for children or other family members or when faced with a serious medical condition
- To work seasonally – such as retirees who return to work, or people who spend part of the year abroad, possibly working seasonal roles
Benefits of hiring boomerang employees
There are a number of benefits with hiring boomerang employees including:
- A quicker and more cost-effective onboarding process
- A high chance that the employee will fit into the company culture and understand its values and mission
- Familiarity with the job, their expectations and requirements which will be beneficial in terms of productivity, cost, resource and time
- The employee will return with new skills, experience and connections
- Boomerang employees can offer a fresh perspective on the company they are returning to; time away, perhaps even within a competitive company, can enable the employee to bring back a new outlook on the market and the organisation itself.
- The established employer-employee relationship that already exists can add to company loyalty and retention
- If the employee is being hired for a different role, the learning curve for rehires is far less than new hires because of their knowledge of the company, making the transition more manageable from the start
Risks associated with hiring boomerang employees
However, there are also a number of risks which should be considered:
- Careful consideration is needed on the reason why the employee left the organisation, if the employee left the company previously due to performance or due to other issues with colleagues, the same issues may reoccur
- If a company’s culture or ways of working have changed significantly, a boomerang employee may have to unlearn the way things used to be and adapt to the current working environment
- Disengagement- there is a risk that boomerang employees may feel insufficiently challenged when returning to a working environment where they previously had mastery of a role
Deirdre Snyder found that boomerang workers in professional services firms were paid about $10,000 more annually than their colleagues who had stayed. This penalisation for loyalty can have detrimental effects on retention and in addition strengthens the culture of boomerang employment. So, whilst boomerang recruitment can be a useful strategy to talent acquisition, it should be used sparingly. Competitive reward strategies and increasing efforts to retain employees before they leave should take primary focus.
We can support you with your recruitment strategy and talent management, to learn more about the support we can provide you please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of HR and Employment Law experts.