Article: Are boomerang employees a boon or a bane?

Talent Management

Are boomerang employees a boon or a bane?

A Boomerang employee is someone who once left an organisation for greener pastures.However, he or she decided to come back at a later time.What are the pros and cons while hiring a boomerang employee? What are the important points to remember in the process?
Are boomerang employees a boon or a bane?

Corporate culture has taken a change in its course on the topic of hiring back boomerang employees.Workforce Institute and conducted a survey of about 2000 HR managers and employees in order to find out what the business thinks about hiring back boomerang employees. The survey results revealed that 50% of the employees said that previously there was no policy of hiring back people even if they had left on good terms.

67% people said that their organizations are more accepting of boomerang employees now. 40% of the employees who took the survey also said that they would go back to their previous organizations if it wasn’t frowned upon.

Hiring a former employee back can have its own advantages –

  • Simpler onboarding process - For starters he/she would already be well versed with the onboarding formalities of the organization, making the process smooth and faster. The social integration of such an employee back into the organization will also be much faster since many people he/she worked with may still be working in the same organization.

  • Company culture- The boomerang employee would already be aware of the values and the work culture of the organization, leaving less room for the possibility of his/ her not being able to settle right back where they left.

  • Clear expectations- Since the person has already worked in the same place before, they know what to expect from the organization in terms of company policies and the benefits that the organization can offer.Therefore, there is less surprise and more familiarity.

  • Rich experience- An employee who has worked in one or more organizations and then decides to come back to the previous organization has a lot to offer in terms of work experience and a fresh perspective towards working styles.

Every coin has 2 faces, so while there are advantages, there are also disadvantages of hiring back a boomerang employee –

  • They left for a reason – All said and done, if an employee decided to move on earlier, there was a rock-solid reason behind them for making that choice. After all, a happy and engaged employee doesn’t look outside in the first place! Chances are if they left once, they might decide to leave again.

  • Bad influences – Hiring back employees who left earlier may also prove to be a bad influence on the employees who joined after this employee left. They might make it a culture of resigning at the drop of a hat and then coming back later since they know the door would always be open for them.

Keeping an open mind is rarely a bad idea!

While hiring back a former employee may be a grey area, I feel that this is something that should be practised with extreme caution and after due diligence.

Following are the precautions to be taken while hiring back an ex-employee:

  • Find out the reason of their leaving: Previously, was it spoilt relations with a manager, compensation, disciplinary concern or they didn’t see a clear career path ahead of themselves?Depending on the reason they left and feedback from the people and managers they worked with previously, it can be decided whether they will be a good fit in the organisation again.

  • Clear expectation setting: This needs to be done for employees who are rehired in terms of the profile they are being offered, the compensation and the career path they can forward to in the organisation. They should also be advised to make an informed decision before accepting the offer.

  • Find out the reason of their deciding to come back: did they have a fall out with their present employers? Or are they applying for a role which requires more skill and offers increased responsibility as compared to what they held the last time they worked for your organization?

Closing word 

Hiring boomerang employees may prove to be a good idea for the organization if the decision has been taken after due diligence. However, boomerang employees should be treated at par with first-time applicants and an unbiased decision should be taken to hire them based on if they will be a good fit for the organisation or not. 

Well, keeping an open mind is rarely a bad idea!

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Topics: Talent Management, Culture, #Hiring

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