“Who says you can’t go back?
I been all around the world
and as a matter of fact,
There’s only one place left I wanna go.
Who says you can’t go home?”
Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles sang their hearts out to this song. While the music video depicts a group of volunteers rebuilding homes for Habitat For Humanity, there are other ways to define what your “home” is.
Career options can sometimes lead employees back home (meaning where they grew up) or home (meaning somewhere they’ve worked before).
The idea behind rehiring employees isn’t a new one, it’s just typically noticed in larger-than-life returns.
Jerry Brown was elected governor of California in 1974 and was re-elected in 1978. After spending some time in the late nineties as the mayor of Oakland, California, Brown campaigned, and won, his third non-consecutive term as governor in 2010 (and was re-elected in 2014). While he won the office in four separate elections, he returned to his job in the governor’s mansion after a 32-year break.
Jack Dorsey, who helped launch the social media giant Twitter in 2006, was fired from his post as CEO in 2008. The company went through a number of chief executives before settling on, you guessed it, Jack Dorsey in 2015. Dorsey’s story is a unique one culminating in the return of a controversial employee.
Is there a bigger name of an “employee” who left a company only to come back and bring success with them, than LeBron James? He left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010. Once James discovered that returning home to Cleveland was a good idea, he returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 and brought home a national title to boot.
While the stories of Jerry Brown, Jack Dorsey, and LeBron James are almost movie-worthy for their triumphant returns, the idea of going back to work at a company an employee previously worked for isn’t that uncommon anymore.
Like a boomerang
There is a term to describe employees who come back to work at a company they previously worked with, boomerang employees.
Your former employee may have wanted to try working for a large company, see what life is like at a startup, try out a new industry, or go back to school. None of these reasons should prevent you from working with a boomerang employee.
A boomerang employee can provide insights and experience from similar businesses or help open new opportunities because of the work they did elsewhere. Their perspectives have evolved, allowing them to look at your business with a new set of eyes.
Businesses small and large are beginning to agree that boomerang employees might be the next big recruiting pool.
The perception is changing
The Workforce Institute and WorkplaceTrends.com surveyed nearly 2,000 human resource professionals, managers, and employees to discover not just what businesses thought about the prospect of boomerang employees but what they were actually putting into practice.
50% of HR professionals say their company previously had a policy against rehiring former employees, even if the employee left in good standing.
These types of policies prevented the return of former employees in the past, but they don’t present much of a blockade these days. 67% percent of HR professionals say their company is more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past. Some two-thirds of managers now agree with the sentiment that it’s okay to rehire boomerang employees.
Because of the bad mojo behind the antiquated idea of a returning employee, only 15% of employees said they had boomeranged back to a former employer. But, nearly 40% said they would consider going back to a company if they thought the attempt wouldn’t be frowned upon.
These statistics are a driving force behind the ever-changing ways we work, and in some companies, the change is moving from the top, down.
Brendan Browne, vice president of global talent acquisition at LinkedIn, wrote on his perceptions of boomerang employees, “Jumping between jobs doesn’t mean that employees today are less loyal. Rather, the concept of loyalty has simply evolved. Employees might move around more, but they also remain much more connected to former employers. Social media and alumni networks have played a crucial role in helping maintain relationships between employers and their former employees.”
Should you rehire boomerang employees?
In the same Workforce Institute and WorkplaceTrends.com survey mentioned earlier, 33% of HR professionals and 38% of managers agree that having some level of familiarity with your company’s culture is the largest benefit to rehiring boomerang employees.
If your former employee left on good terms, and you recall them acclimating to your culture well, this is an important factor in your hiring process, so don’t overlook good talent who used to work for you.
Boomerang employees are likely wanting to rejoin your company after having spent time looking for greener pastures, which changes their perspective on your business. They have experienced new challenges and the hope is that if they are rehired, they could bring similar solutions to your business.
Another benefit to rehiring boomerang employees is that they do not require as much onboarding and training as a new employee would need. This saves your human resource team, and maybe even the hiring manager, time and energy. It could also save your business money.
In the book “Agile Talent: How To Source and Manage Outside Experts”, the authors Norm Smallwood and Jon Younger write, “[a boomerang employee] has one of the highest returns on recruiting investment an employer can ask for.” They continue on, “The cost to rehire a boomerang employee has been reported to be one-third to two-thirds the cost of hiring a ‘virgin’ employee”.
Proceed with caution
While boomerang employees are more accepted in the workplace than ever before, businesses still have some concern.
One-third of HR Professionals and managers feel that there is a stigma around boomerang employees and their perceived loyalty, will they leave the company again? Nearly 25% of the former employees who are attempting to return are carrying the same baggage that they originally left with, though these aren’t the employees you should strive to attract back to your company.
During the interview process, be sure to discuss in detail what they have been up to since their departure and get a solid reason why they want to return to your company. Do the same to them as well, be sure to let them know why you reached out to set-up the interview and why they might be the right person to fit the job.
Another concern to keep in the back of your mind is how your current employees will think if they were applied for the same role that was filled by a boomerang employee. How you choose to communicate to your workforce why bringing back “old employees” is the right decision is a sensitive issue and should be put together before you tell your current staff.
To the opposite effect, if a top performer left your company, this is typically a morale killer. But rehiring that top talent could re-energize your staff. Think about our example earlier about LeBron James moving back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Have you had a good or a bad experience with rehiring employees? Why would you (or wouldn’t you) be open to boomerang employees? Drop us a line and tell us your boomerang employee story.
The post What’s a Boomerang Employee and Should I Hire Them? appeared first on Kin.
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