Boomerang Employees – The do’s and don’ts of re-hiring former employees.

Rehiring a former employee, can essentially go one of two ways. It could be an amazing decision that has considerable benefits for your business, or it could be a complete disaster, upsetting your current employees, fracturing your once solid organisational culture. Some employers would never in a million years ever dream of rehiring a ‘boomerang employee’, however there are other that have a completely different approach, viewing boomerang employees as valuable assets that do nothing but drive growth in a business setting. We take a look at boomerang employees. What are they, and what are the do’s and don’ts of rehiring a former employee?


What is a boomerang employee?


Like an actual boomerang, boomerang employees are employees that once worked for your organisation. They leave. Move on to bigger, brighter, and perhaps even greener pastures for a while and they then come back! Whilst to some this may seem quite strange, I mean why go back to what you left behind, however a recent study on workplace trends in Australia suggested that up to 15% of employees have, boomeranged back to a previous employer. Whilst this may seem like quite a lot of people who have the urge to go back, an even more surprising statistic is that 40% of employees stated in the same survey that they would consider going back to a company that they had previously worked for, with millennials the most likely group to complete the circle and head back to a former employer.


Benefits of a boomerang employee?

One of the main benefits of rehiring a boomerang employee stems from cost. Former employees are less likely to need extensive training and onboarding, compared with a new fresh-faced employee. Additionally, from a recruitment perspective a boomerang employee can save time in the recruitment process. As an employer, you have been there and done that with the employee before, so there is no need for extensive interview rounds and background checks. Thus, a boomerang employee can be a quick fix.


As boomerang employees are already familiar with the organisation and most likely the role, they can effectively hit the ground running, so you can add productivity and low transition time as benefits also.

There is always a downside – right?

Now that you’ve heard all of the benefits, it’s also important to consider the downsides of hiring a boomerang employee, with the disadvantages all based upon organisational culture and cultural fit. As is the nature of the term boomerang, the employee once left your organisation, so it is important to consider the reasons why the employee departed in the first place. For example, did they leave for a promotion? Were they unhappy with the role? Were they inefficient to begin with? Whilst most boomerang employees have left a business on good terms, delving deeper into why they left in the first place can help you determine whether they are the right fit to return. It is also important to consider the impacts on your other employees within your team, after all no business wants to create a precedent of an open-door policy where employees use the business as a steppingstone, leave and then come back as they please, seeking a higher role. That is certainly not great for organisational culture. Another potential disadvantage of re-hiring a boomerang employee is that they may be in a better position to negotiate a greater salary than they were receiving prior to their departure, particularly if they have jumped ship to take on a higher-level role and a returning to a role of a greater capacity. Generally speaking, boomerang employees are typically receiving a higher salary than their non-boomerang counterparts. This is certainly a consideration for business owners, as a greater salary certainly has an impact upon an organisations bottom line and profitability. Finally, the obvious downside on a boomerang employee, is that of course they could leave again. After all they have done it once, they may just do it again. The pandemic – has this changed the game?


Not only has the pandemic changed the way we think about employment, but time has also changed the landscape.


Traditionally employees who left a business, regardless of reason were viewed as being disloyal, however this stereotype has certainly diminished over time. Employers now understand that it is common for employees to spread their wings and take up opportunities as they arise. Whilst back in the day the older generation worked with one employer for life, this is certainly not the case today. The pandemic has certainly played a role in the changing landscape of workplaces, with many employees weighing up their options and exploring new career opportunities, having spent the best part of the last 2 years in and out of lockdowns, and working from home or in hybrid work set ups. For many employees they may have realised that a former employer offered exactly what they were looking for in a work environment and seek an opportunity to return, whereas for others, they may seek an alternative. Either way the pandemic has certainly led to an increase in the boomerang employee. DreamStone HR – Why you need us!

If you are considering re-hiring a former employee, it is absolutely essential that you obtain sound professional HR advice to ensure that you are making the best decision for your business and your team. With so many factors and do’s and don’ts to consider having a team of qualified HR professional to call upon for advice and support can make this part of the recruitment process much easier for you as an employer. The team at DreamStone HR can provide ongoing constructive support to ensure that your boomerang employee is a positive not a negative for your business. Give our team a call today on (02) 8320 9320 or email info@dreamstonehr.com.au and let’s discuss the process.

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