Boomerang Employees: Should You Rehire Ex-Employees?

After the Great Resignation, a new hiring trend is beginning to emerge  – boomerang hiring.  This involves rehiring people who’ve left the company for whatever reason. In a 4,000-person survey conducted by UKG in April 2022, 43% of respondents who quit their job during the pandemic are now having quitters remorse and could be open to going back to their old job. 

This article will discuss the benefits of hiring a boomerang employee, how to find them, and how to retain them in your company. 

What Are Boomerang Employees?

A boomerang employee is an employee who has left a company (for any reason) and then has been hired back. Today, the practice of taking an ex-employee back is starting to trend up, and for good reason. In an article published by LinkedIn in 2021, boomerang employees “accounted for 4.5% of all new hires in 2021 — up from 3.9% in 2019.”

In a post-pandemic world, rehiring former employees is something that many employers are taking advantage of. It can be a great hiring strategy to tap into a talent pool where many of the inputs that are needed to hire someone are already known.

3 Reasons Why Should Rehire Former Employees

There are many reasons why an employee may leave a company and then decide to return. In most recent cases, it is due to the pandemic and the Great Resignation

Some may have left to pursue other opportunities but then realized they enjoyed working for their previous company more. Others may have left due to personal reasons such as moving to a new city or taking care of a family member. 

Whatever the reason, boomerang employees can be a great asset to any company.

  1. Company Culture – In a time when corporate culture is of increasing importance to an organization, an old employee who knows and carries your corporate values can help build some strength back into your company. 
  2. Training – Ex-employees are also familiar with the company’s systems and processes. This will save you money and time with onboarding and training. In essence, the former employee can start generating value for the company immediately upon rehiring.
  3. Moral Boost – Over the last two years, businesses, coworkers, and managers have lost workplace friends and allies. Rehiring an employee can give your employees a morale boost and increase positive sentiment in the office.

The hiring process for boomerang employees is all around easier, faster, and takes less resources than a brand new hire. However, there are some things that you should watch out for before rehiring a former employee.

Understanding The Risks Of Boomerang Hiring

While the benefits of hiring former employees are plenty, consider the following downsides of boomerang hiring.

Turnover

The biggest risk you take on is that the former employee you have rehired could leave again after a short period of time. This can be mitigated by having a frank discussion with the employee about their reasons for leaving and what has changed since they left.

Office Politics

The exit interview may not have been the tell-all you were expecting and there could have been unspoken reasons why the employee left. Before rehiring, get feedback from coworkers and managers to see if the former employee would still be a good fit.

Resentment

Did you let the employee go on somewhat shaky ground? There could be underlying resentment lingering within the employee and that attitude could affect their performance.

How To Find Boomerang Employees

The process of hiring former employees doesn’t differ much from hiring a new recruit. The easiest approach is to reach out to the employee directly via email, LinkedIn, or phone call to see if they’re interested in coming back. Search through your HR files or HR software to find former employees who might be a good fit for any unfilled posts before publishing a job ad. 

You could also tap into your network of colleagues and see if any former staff is interested in returning to the company. Your current staff could provide you with valuable insights into whether ex-colleagues are searching for a job or are asking around to rejoin your team. Send an email or a Slack to your entire team asking them to recommend former employees. 

Post job listings on your website, social media profiles or internal job boards. Since they used to work for you, your former employees might be checking your website or social media for job openings.

Finally, find an employment agency that has experience in boomerang hiring that you can consult with or that can assist you in your search. 

4 Tips For Retaining Boomerang Employees

You’ve hired the employee twice. Now it is your job to make sure that you can keep them for as long as possible.

  • Organize team building activities – Incorporating team building activities into your retention strategy is an effective method of showing current and former employees that you care about their well-being, team morale, and overall company culture. TeamBonding’s programs such as  Jury Duty, Amazing Race Around the World, and Virtual In It To Win It can help you reconnect your employees and increase workplace satisfaction.
  • Provide additional training opportunities – Certifications, credits, and continued education are great ways to invest in your employees. Giving employees an opportunity to upskill and expand their knowledge sends a signal that you are serious about keeping them around.  
  • Offer additional benefits – Providing new benefits to the employee that they may have not had before may keep them more satisfied for the long term. Flexible hours, remote work, and more paid time off could be minor concessions that have a larger impact than you expect. 
  • Keep in mind the reasons why they left – Being mindful of why an employee originally left will help you create solutions for keeping them around. Was it something cultural? Was it the pay? Or maybe there was an aspect of their job that they didn’t really like. Eliminating these barriers as much as reasonably possible will increase your chances of retaining current and boomerang employees.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering rehiring a former employee, be sure to weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision. And remember, the most important thing you can do is to have an open talk with the employee about their reasons for leaving and what has changed since they left.

To increase satisfaction within your organization and help employees reconnect, consider organizing team building activities. Check out TeamBonding’s virtual team building activities to help engage, connect, and inspire your employees. If your team requires customized activities, feel free to reach out to us to find out how we can cater events to your team’s needs.

Anna Webber

Team Contributor

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