Boomerang Employee

Search topics
glossary image

Boomerang Employee

What Is a Boomerang Employee?

A boomerang employee is an individual who has left an organization voluntarily and later returned to work there again. It's like the flight path of a boomerang, leaving and then coming back to the original location.

These returnees can bring valuable knowledge and experience from their time away, potentially benefiting the organization in new and unexpected ways. Boomerang employees might have pursued other job opportunities, extended education, or personal interests during their absence.

What Are the Advantages of Rehiring Boomerang Employees?

Hiring previous employees or boomerang employees has several benefits. For one, these individuals are already familiar with the company culture and onboarding process. They know the workflow and the internal systems, and they might even maintain relationships with existing team members. This familiarity can shorten the learning curve and accelerate productivity.

Boomerang hires may also bring in new skills, experiences, and perspectives gained during their time away. This added value can lead to increased innovation, efficiency, and competitive advantage for the company.

Additionally, HR professionals may find it cost-effective to fill open roles with former employees. The hiring process could be streamlined as the previous employers have already vetted these individuals, and background checks or other hiring due diligences might be easier and faster to complete.

What Are the Potential Challenges with Boomerang Employees?

While there are several benefits to rehiring boomerang employees, there are also potential challenges that companies should consider. It's important to remember the reasons why these employees left their jobs in the first place. If the unresolved issues that led to their departure are still present, there is a real risk that the employee leaves the company again, which can lead to instability and impact team morale.

The rehiring process also needs careful handling. It should be unbiased and based on the current needs and fit of the organization rather than past relationships or nostalgia. The pros and cons of hiring a boomerang employee must be weighed against other candidates who may be equally, or more, suitable for the role.

Additionally, how boomerang hires are perceived by current staff can also pose a challenge. If not managed carefully, it can lead to feelings of resentment or favoritism among existing employees.

What to Consider When Rehiring a Boomerang Employee?

When considering rehiring a boomerang employee, it's essential to analyze why they left initially. If the reason for their departure was related to issues with management or dissatisfaction with the company, it's important to evaluate whether these issues have been addressed.

Furthermore, consider the employee's performance and behavior during their previous tenure. HR professionals must assess if the employee left on good terms and maintained positive relationships within the organization.

The skills and experience the employee has gained during their time away should also be taken into account. The additional employee experience might have provided them with a wider perspective, new skills, or increased maturity, all of which could be beneficial to your organization.

In terms of practicality, consider the terms of rehiring a boomerang employee. Ensure that the compensation package is fair and competitive, reflecting both their previous work with the company and any added value they bring on their return. After all, the promise of higher pay is often a motivating factor for employees to return.

How Does a Boomerang Employee Impact Team Dynamics?

Boomerang employees can have a significant impact on team dynamics, both positive and negative. On the positive side, they can provide continuity and bring back valuable institutional knowledge that can benefit the team. They may be able to reintegrate quickly, given their familiarity with the company's operations and culture. This can foster efficiency and team cohesion.

On the downside, the return of a former employee can cause discomfort or disrupt team equilibrium, especially if they are left under challenging circumstances. If the employee had conflicts with team members in the past, their return could reignite these issues. This underscores the importance of addressing any potential issues upfront and ensuring the return of the boomerang employee is communicated effectively and transparently to the team.

Can Boomerang Employees Bring Innovation and Fresh Perspectives to the Workplace?

Absolutely, boomerang employees can contribute significantly to workplace innovation. During their time away, these individuals will have gained new experiences, learned new skills, and seen different ways of doing things. When they return, they bring these fresh perspectives back to their former employer.

This can help stimulate innovation, as they might suggest new ideas or approaches that hadn't been considered before. Their external experience could provide valuable market insights or introduce proven strategies from other organizations.

It's worth noting that for this benefit to be realized, the company culture must be open to new ideas and willing to embrace change. If boomerang employee feels their ideas are not valued or considered, they may become frustrated, which could impact their job satisfaction and performance.

How to Create a Positive Environment for Boomerang Employees?

Creating a positive environment for boomerang employees starts with a thoughtful re-onboarding process. While they may be familiar with many aspects of the company, changes may have occurred in their absence. A formal reorientation will help them understand any new policies, procedures, or strategic goals.

Clear communication is also crucial. Ensure existing staff are informed about the returning employee positively and transparently to prevent rumors or misunderstandings.

Are Boomerang Employees More Loyal?

The question of whether boomerang employees are more loyal can depend on various factors. For instance, the reasons why they initially left and why they chose to return can significantly influence their loyalty.

If a boomerang employee left their job due to personal circumstances or to pursue an opportunity they couldn't resist but then chose to return, it's likely they maintained a positive view of their former employer and may be highly loyal upon return. Their decision to return could be seen as a reaffirmation of their commitment to the company.

On the other hand, if they left due to dissatisfaction but returned because they couldn't find a better opportunity, their loyalty might still be in question. They could still harbor the issues that prompted them to leave in the first place.

It's also worth considering the concept of "enlightened loyalty." This refers to employees who have experienced working elsewhere, seen the grass on the other side, and decided that they prefer their original organization. These employees may bring not just loyalty, but also renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for the workplace culture and values.

So while it's not a guarantee, there's a good chance that boomerang employees can be very loyal, provided the conditions of their return are positive and the issues that prompted their departure have been addressed.

Is It Common for Companies to Have a Policy on Rehiring Former Employees?

Having a policy on rehiring former employees varies from company to company and largely depends on the corporate culture and HR practices. Some companies may have an official policy in place, while others may approach it on a case-by-case basis.

Some organizations may view rehiring former employees as beneficial, given that boomerang employees already understand the company culture and require less training and onboarding. These companies may even have 'alumni' programs or networks to maintain relationships with former employees and potentially facilitate future rehiring.

However, other companies may have policies against rehiring former employees, especially those who left under negative circumstances. They may view the departure of an employee as a closed chapter and prefer to invest in new talent.

Even in companies without a formal policy, HR professionals usually have guidelines to consider when an opportunity to rehire a former employee arises. These may include the circumstances of the employee's departure, their performance history, and their reasons for wanting to return.

Related: Employee Turnover, Turnover Rate