Dismissing the stigma surrounding boomerang employees

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Firstly lets just clarify just what a boomerang employee is. The simplest explanation is someone who voluntarily left your employment, but was subsequently ask to return.

A recent survey was conducted on today’s impression of the boomerang employee, and the results are in. The data shows a changing mindset about hiring boomerang employees. Where employers historically may have been more likely to write off former employees, they are increasingly considering them as viable candidates for new openings.

In the national survey of more than 1,800 human resources professionals, people managers and employees, responses indicate employee engagement should not end once the working relationship is over — especially between high-performing alumni and organisations with a strong corporate culture. One reason employers are coming around to the idea of boomerang employees could be the increased competition organisations face to attract and retain talent.

This new take on boomerang employees however creates a unique type of competition for job seekers and new challenges for organisations to maintain relationships with former high-performers. 76% of employers in fact, say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past.
 

 
Boomerangs are creating increased — and unexpected — competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve. In the past five years, 85 percent of employers say they have received job applications from former employees, and 40 percent say their organisation hired about half of those former employees who applied.

Employers note in this study that familiarity with the organisation’s culture is the biggest benefit to hiring back former employees, while nearly one- third appreciate that boomerangs do not require as much training as a brand new employee. From an employee perspective, people are most likely to return to a previous workplace if pay is comparable, it comes with employee benefits and better career path is established.

Nearly half of the managers surveyed for this report say their organisation has no alumni communications strategy. Therefore, although tides are changing, and employers appear more accepting of the boomerang employee, they still have a stigma hanging over their heads that they might leave again, and that they may have the same baggage they originally left with. Hiring managers therefore still need to investigate a former employee’s motivation to return closely before rehiring them.

These survey results underscore the magnetic attraction that a strong culture provides, both to keep your talent and to draw people back to you after they leave.

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