Boomerang employees

What is a boomerang employee?

A boomerang employee is someone who leaves a company and later returns to work there again. This can happen for various reasons, such as exploring new opportunities, pursuing further education, or taking time for personal reasons. When these employees come back, they bring valuable experience and a familiarity with the company’s culture, which can make their reintegration smoother and faster compared to new hires. Sometimes, they return with new skills and fresh perspectives gained during their time away, which can benefit the organization by introducing new ideas and practices.

Boomerang employees are often welcomed back because they have a proven track record and already understand the company's values and expectations. This reduces the time and cost associated with onboarding and training. Additionally, their return can boost morale among current staff, demonstrating that the company is a desirable place to work and that former employees see value in returning.

However, rehiring boomerang employees also poses some challenges. Current employees might feel overlooked or undervalued, leading to potential resentment and friction within the team. The company may have undergone significant changes since the employee left, such as new leadership, policies, or shifts in company culture, which can make it difficult for the returning employee to readjust. There may also be concerns about the long-term commitment of boomerang employees, given that they left once before.

To address these challenges, it’s important for companies to manage the rehire process carefully. This includes clear communication about role expectations, addressing any potential concerns from current employees, and ensuring the returning employee is up to date with any changes in the company since their departure. By doing so, companies can maximize the benefits of rehiring boomerang employees while minimizing potential downsides.

Pros of boomerang employees

1. Familiarity with company culture:

Boomerang employees already have a deep understanding of the company's culture, values, and norms. This familiarity allows them to reintegrate into the team more seamlessly than new hires.

Benefit: They can hit the ground running, significantly reducing the onboarding time and resources required to bring them up to speed.

2. Reduced training costs:

Having previously worked at the company, boomerang employees are already acquainted with many of the systems and processes in place.

Benefit: The company can save on the cost and time typically involved in training new employees, allocating these resources elsewhere.

3. Proven performance track record:

When rehiring former employees, you have the advantage of a known track record, which can help in predicting their future performance more accurately.

Benefit: This lowers the risk associated with hiring and  provides a greater assurance of their capabilities, making the investment in them more secure.

4. Increased loyalty and commitment:

Boomerang employees who choose to return often feel a renewed sense of loyalty and appreciation towards the organization for another opportunity.

Benefit: This heightened commitment can lead to higher retention rates as these employees are likely to stay longer.

5. Acquisition of new skills and perspectives:

Often, boomerang employees return with new skills, experiences, and perspectives gained from their roles elsewhere, which can be invaluable.

Benefit: They can contribute fresh ideas and approaches that stimulate innovation and drive business growth.

6. Positive employee morale:

The return of former employees can serve as a testament to others about the positive aspects of the workplace culture.

Benefit: This can enhance the overall morale and strengthen loyalty among current employees, creating a more positive and motivating work environment.

Cons of boomerang employees

1. Potential for resentment among current staff:

Rehiring former employees might cause existing staff to feel overlooked or undervalued, especially if they were hopeful for promotions or new opportunities.

Impact: This can lead to decreased morale and increased friction within the team, potentially disrupting workplace harmony and productivity.

2. Challenges adjusting to organizational changes:

If the company has undergone significant changes in policies, leadership, or culture since the employee left, they might find it difficult to adjust upon returning.

Impact: Struggling to adapt to these changes can prolong the reintegration process and reduce the effectiveness of the boomerang employee in the short term.

3. Mismatched expectations:

Returning employees may have expectations based on their previous stint that no longer align with the current realities of the organization.

Impact: This mismatch can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement, affecting their performance and overall team dynamics.

4. Concerns about commitment:

There might be underlying concerns about the long-term commitment of boomerang employees, given that they have left the organization once before.

Impact: This skepticism can influence the trust and the level of investment in their development, which might limit their career progression and contributions to the company.

5. Limiting diversity of thought:

Relying heavily on boomerang employees can sometimes mean persisting with the familiar rather than incorporating new perspectives.

Impact: This could stifle innovation and limit the introduction of fresh ideas, which are crucial for continuous improvement and adaptation in a competitive market.

6. Perception of favoritism:

The rehiring of former employees might be perceived as favoritism, especially if the process isn't transparent or perceived as equitable.

Impact: Such perceptions can lead to a sense of unfairness and toxicity in the workplace culture, undermining trust and cohesion among the team.

Balancing the pros and cons

To make the most of boomerang employees:

1. Ensure transparent and fair rehiring practices:

Ensure that the process of rehiring former employees is transparent and perceived as fair by all stakeholders. This involves clear communication about the rehiring process and the criteria used, which helps in maintaining trust and equity within the workplace.

2. Communicate openly with both returning and current employees:

Openly communicate with both returning and current employees to address any concerns and set clear expectations. This can include discussing the reasons behind the rehire, the roles they will be filling, and how their return fits into the broader team and organizational goals. Open dialogue helps in preventing misunderstandings and resentment, fostering a positive work environment.

3. Clearly align expectations with returning employees:

Set clear expectations with returning employees about their new role, responsibilities, and the current organizational culture. It's crucial that they understand any changes that have occurred during their absence and the expectations of their new position. This alignment helps in smoothing their transition and integrating them back into the team.

4. Evaluate the fit based on current needs and context:

Assess whether the returning employee fits the current needs of the organization. This includes evaluating their skills, experience, and potential contributions in the context of the company’s present objectives and challenges. Just because an employee was valuable in the past does not automatically mean they will be suitable for the current or future needs of the company.

5. Provide support for integration:

Offer support and resources to help boomerang employees reintegrate into the company. This could include refresher training, updates on new policies or procedures, and formal reintroduction to the team and projects. Supporting their reintegration not only helps them to adjust more quickly but also enhances their productivity and impact upon return.

By addressing these factors thoughtfully, organizations can reap the benefits of boomerang employees while minimizing potential downsides.

People Also Ask

What is a boomerang interview?

A boomerang interview is a job interview with a former employee who wants to return to their previous company. The interview focuses on why they left, what they learned during their time away, and how they can now contribute. It helps assess if their current skills and goals fit the company’s needs and ensures updated expectations on both sides. This process helps determine if the employee can successfully reintegrate into the workplace.

Why hire boomerangs?

Hiring boomerang employees, former staff who return to the company, offers several benefits. They are already familiar with the company's culture and processes, reducing training and onboarding costs. Their proven track record lowers hiring risks and they often bring new skills and fresh perspectives from their time away. Additionally, their return can boost current employee morale by demonstrating that the company is a desirable place to work. Overall, boomerangs can enhance productivity and strengthen the workforce with their trusted experience.

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