Who is a Boomerang Employee? 4 Recruitment Best Practices for Boomerang Hiring

Who is a Boomerang Employee? 4 Recruitment Best Practices for Boomerang Hiring


Raj Abishek

July 17, 2024

Recruiters are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain top employees. However, the fast-paced environment with easy job switching made recruiters' jobs difficult. People are leaving their jobs to join competing companies or to switch their job profiles and industry completely. With millions of reasons to leave the job, recruiters must regularly and proactively look out for candidates to fill vacant roles. 

But what if the old employee comes back to join the organization again? What if they apply for the same or a different job profile in the same company? Alternatively, what about the recruiters reaching out to them after a while, and they agree to join back? 

In many situations, especially due to rising recessions, employees are coming back to their former companies. These employees are known as boomerang employees, the ones to leave and join back in the same company after a while. 

But should recruiters take them back? What is the guarantee they won't leave again? Does the hiring process for boomerang employees remain the same?

Today we will discuss the concept of boomerang employees and all factors recruiters should consider before hiring them. 

Who are the Boomerang Employees?

Boomerang Employees are the employees that leave the organization and join back after some time. They might leave the job for personal or professional reasons, work elsewhere, or upskill and join the former company again. Alternately, recruiters approach these employees with better offers to welcome them again in the future.

But why do they leave in the first place? 

Employees might leave the company for various reasons, such as upskilling or career advancement in the form of research or better opportunities. They could have been offered better job benefits elsewhere, luring them to shift to a new company. 

Contrarily, they might spend time exploring a new industry altogether or pursuing some passion. In certain cases, employees have personal reasons for leaving, like spouse relocation, taking care of medical severities, family responsibilities, etc. The reasons are endless!

Now, the next question is- why do boomerang employees come back?

These employees return to the former company when they find the old job more content or can not capitalize on the opportunity presented. Oftentimes, the employees do not resonate with the new company culture or their decision to leave. 

Hence, these employees return to their old position. Alternatively, recruiters reach out to these employees to fill the vacant position. Also, the employees find it comforting to work at a known place. Additionally, the rising recession is among the reasons for employees joining back.

But why would recruiters rehire employees who left the organization themselves in the first place?

7 Boomerang Employee Benefits

It is easier and more beneficial to rehire boomerang employees. They are dissatisfied with their new job and are contemplating the resignation decision, making it easier to entice and hire them. Moreover, these employees have worked in the company and are familiar with its values, cultures, and environment, making it favorable for recruiters to take them back. It reduces hiring costs and the hassle of getting new employees on board. 

So, rehiring an old employee isn’t that bad of a deal, is it? 

Here are 7 benefits of hiring boomerang employees that make about 56% of employers prioritize the boomerang employees.

  1. Reduce Resource Wastage- Rehiring boomerang employees saves companies resources on training and onboarding. Employees spend less time on training as they are familiar with the company culture and job requirements. Moreover, companies save on past training costs. Managers can focus on critical tasks without having to mentor them at each stage. They are familiar with the employees and set realistic performance to lower any chances of a bad hire. 
  1. Seamless Onboarding- Boomerang employees have worked for some time in the company and are familiar with the company culture and work. It helps the recruiters to seamlessly onboard these employees without spending a lot on training and orientation programs. The transition process is easy, and employees can start working almost immediately. The familiarity with the company makes recruiters' jobs easy and the onboarding process effortless.
  1. Less Recruiting Cost- Recruiters spend a lot of money to source, engage, and hire people to fill vacant jobs. This includes costs related to marketing, assessment, training, onboarding, and other expenses until the employee starts to be useful for the company. When recruiters hire an old employee again, it saves all the marketing and hiring-related costs. A recruiter can save ⅓-⅔ hiring costs by rehiring boomerang employees. 
  1. Improved Employer Brand- The employer brand is how employees, job applicants, and other stakeholders perceive a company's working culture. When an employee leaves the company, it does impact the employer brand depending upon the reason for leaving. Moreover, if the company has high resignations, it gives a negative impression of the working environment. So, when an old employee joins the company, the employer gets a chance to take pride in the working culture and environment. It shows that the employees enjoy the working space provided, which is a good sign for new job applicants. Overall, it boosts the employer's brand. 
  1. Employees With Competitive Edge- Boomerang employees provide an edge over other job applicants. Firstly, they are familiar with the company culture and norms. Secondly, many employees leave jobs for upskilling, which means the recruiters can hire a loyal person with a new skill set or applied knowledge. Moreover, these employees bring a new outlook to the firm, whether they worked in a different company or industry or spent time upskilling. 
  1. More Social Capital- Every employee that leaves the firm for a while grows his/ her network further. This could be in the form of connections within the same or different industries or new mentors. In the nutshell, a company gets access to a wider social capital with every boomerang employee. Companies can capitalize on these people to grow their sales, collaboration, or any other form of partnership. It opens the door for various collaborative opportunities to grow the business. 
  1. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction- Employee satisfaction is crucial for a company to grow its team size with talented people. So when companies enable the employees to leave for upskilling and join back, it leads to better relationships and enhanced employee fulfillment. 

Employee commitment increases, and they are more productive. They get the chance to tap into their interests and pay back to the company with their new skill set. Moreover, if the employee left for personal reasons, giving them a chance to rejoin the firm leads to better relationships. Recruiters should have no hard bridges with past employees. 

Overall, Boomerang employees are more satisfied and committed than new hires and more likely to receive a promotion. All these benefits make them a better choice compared to new hires or job applicants. However, an employee who left the organization once can leave again. So, how do recruiters ensure that a particular employee should be rehired or not?

6 Things to Consider Before Rehiring Boomerang Employees 

Before recruiters make space for a boomerang employee, they need to consider certain factors. These factors will clarify the recruiters regarding employees’ motivation points and if they will be a better choice compared to a new hire. 

  1. Reason for Leaving- Recruiters must know why the employee left the company the first time. Was it for more money/ perks or upskilling, or diving into a new industry? The chances they might leave again are linked to the reason for leaving for the first time. Recruiters shall discuss the reason for the previous resignation in the interview. The main question is how did the employee spend the time post-resignation? Is the experience that they gained during the period useful to the company? These will help recruiters know about employees' motivation points and gauge their loyalty. 
  1. Motivation for joining- What made the employee return to the company? Is it because of a familiar culture? Is it the recession? Is it because they didn't enjoy working at another company? Identifying the employee's motivation enables the recruiter to understand employee needs.It will clarify whether the employee will be loyal or leave if a better opportunity arises. Moreover, recruiters can provide a better working experience and opportunity if they better understand employee needs. Nonetheless, it's crucial to be mindful of the needs of current employees, old employees, or even job applicants. 
  1. Past Performance- How did the past employee performs in the organization? Did they add value to the job, or did the bare minimum? Were they motivated and driven to give their 100 percent, or had multiple delays and a lack of a sense of responsibility? A clear idea of the boomerang employees' past performance will help recruiters set explicit expectations without ambiguity. Moreover, they will have a true picture of how they will fit in the organization and if they will be worthwhile to the company. 
  1. Advanced Skills- How is a boomerang employee better than a new hire? Is s/he bringing a new skill set to the firm? Do they bring useful social capital, which might help the company network and grow? What separates s/he from the other job applicants, and why should they be given a preference? Familiarity with the company's work environment and culture is not enough reason to welcome an old employee. They should set themselves apart from new hires in some way which could be experience, network, or new skills. Even if they were in a different industry, they bring new perspectives and collaboration opportunities. The recruiters must understand the true value of the boomerang employee before rehiring them. 
  1. Unresolved Issues- Did this past worker have any unresolved issues? These issues could be internal with the team, manager, or management or external with people in the industry. If there are any bridges with coworkers or management, the team will not be able to welcome them completely. This might end up in work politics and hamper the work culture and harmony amongst the teams and other employees. They will not collaborate effectively leading to poor performance from the boomerang employee and other people in the organization. 
  1. Employees' Future Goals- What are the employee's future goals? Do they align with the company's mission and vision? No matter for what reason did the employee leave the company, if s/he doesn't resonate with the company mission, they will not be able to blend in well with the company culture. 

Recruiters must understand that alignment with the company's vision is the best way to attract and retain top talents. So, recruiters should understand and try to bring employees' future goals and the company's vision closer. 

The key is to openly discuss with the boomerang employees regarding these factors which give recruiters clarity about employees’ needs and motivations for the job. They can effectively capitalize on this information to hire the right people. Not every boomerang hire is favorable for the firm. Recruiters must critically evaluate their worthiness with proper review and discussion. 

Boomerang Employee - Pros and Cons 

Pros of Boomerang Employees 

  • Improved employee morale
  • Reduced training expense 
  • Eliminate resource wastage 
  • Enhanced network + sales
  • More loyalty and productivity
  • New outlook
  • Faster onboarding
  • Boost employer brand
  • Familiarity with workplace

Cons of Boomerang Employees 

  • Workplace tension
  • Risk of leaving
  • Lack of commitment
  • Overlooking benefits of new hires 
  • Increased resistance to change
  • Resentment from current employees
  • Difficult to negotiate 

4 Tips To Seamlessly Rehire Boomerang Employees 

Now that you have decided on hiring boomerang employees, here are some tips to help you retain the top talent for your company. With these 4 recruitment best practices, recruiters can seamlessly rehire boomerang employees.

  • Build Alumni Community- Alumni employees can be of great value to a company if they don't have hard bridges with the management or overall firm. They are familiar with the company culture and work environment. This means that they might or might not join the team again, but networking and collaboration opportunities can be beneficial. Recruiters must keep healthy relationships with previous employees via some application or company website. This can be useful for sharing company updates and other valuable resources. Recruiters can also get referrals to boost sales, collaborations, networks, and partnerships. 

  • Treat them like new hires- Even though boomerang employees might be the old employees joining back, the recruiters must treat them like new hires. This concerns a proper onboarding process and relevant training since they left the firm. Whether an old or boomerang employee, each needs to be positively recognized. The longer the employee has been away from the firm, the more the need for a revised onboarding process. If the employee left a few months back, they might just need to get through any changes in the onboarding process.

  • Use HR Tech- Recruiters often do not understand the importance of tools and applications in hiring. They work around the standard tech stack that every company uses without understanding their functionality and the scope of enhancement. Recruiters must use the right tools for monitoring past employees and engaging and sustaining with them to extract value. This includes tools for recording all the relevant employee data and engaging with them from time to time. 

  • Enhance Work Culture-  One of the recruiters' best practices for rehiring the Boomerang employees is to provide a pleasant work environment and experience. Recruiters must incorporate flexibility to accommodate employee needs and prioritize employee well-being. When the overall work culture of the firm is improved, the employees are loyal and motivated to work dedicatedly. With these tips in mind and considering the factors mentioned in the previous section, recruiters can seamlessly rehire the boomerang employees. It might be easy and quick to rehire an old employee. Still, a recruiter must do a proper background check and openly discuss employee needs and motivations to avoid employee turnover.


Hiring Made Easy With Nurturebox! 

It is not easy to attract and rehire a boomerang employee. It requires consistent effort on the recruiters' end to get them back to the organization. They must actively maintain a healthy relationship with them and provide a pleasant working environment. It all boils down to engaging with alumni employees and maintaining their interest in the company. 

Nurturebox is a talent relationship management tool that is one true source of recording and managing data of all current, past, and boomerang employees. It helps to engage with the candidates with targeted email sequences and enhance candidate engagement. So, instead of doing administrative work like reconciling and analyzing past data, recruiters can focus on assessing the capabilities of the candidates. 

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