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8 min read

Boomerang Employment: Navigating the Return to a Previous Workplace

Boomerang employment has gained attention as a growing trend in recent years, especially in the wake of the Great Resignation. This phenomenon occurs when workers who have left a company for various reasons decide to return and work for the same organization at a later time. The increasing adoption of technology, enhanced communication between peers, and changing work environments have all contributed significantly to the rise of boomerang employees.

Understanding the concept of boomerang employment extends beyond the mere definition. On one hand, companies benefit from re-hiring experienced individuals who are already familiar with the organization’s culture and operations. On the other hand, organizations may face challenges while reintegrating these employees and managing any potential resentments among the existing workforce.

Key Takeaways

  • Boomerang employment refers to employees returning to a previous workplace, driven by factors like technology and changing work environments.
  • Benefits of boomerang employment include familiarity with company culture and operations, while challenges involve successful reintegration and managing workforce sentiments.
  • Employers should strategically manage boomerang employees through clear communication, competitive compensation, and fostering a supportive workplace culture.

What is Boomerang Employment

The concept of boomerang employment refers to a situation where an individual leaves a company, only to return and work for the same organization at a later date. This phenomenon is becoming increasingly common in today’s job market, and can benefit both the employee and the employer in various ways.

A boomerang employee is someone who has previously worked for an organization, taken a break or pursued other opportunities, and then returned to the same company. The period of separation could vary from a few months to several years.

There are several reasons why boomerang employment is gaining prominence. One of the primary reasons is that these employees already have a deep understanding of the company culture and its working environment. They know the expectations, processes, and the way different teams function within the organization. This gives them an edge over completely new hires, who often require additional time and resources for onboarding and training.

Furthermore, boomerang employees often return with valuable skills and experiences that they have gained during their time away from the organization. This could include exposure to different industries, innovative ideas, leadership styles, or technological advancements. When these individuals rejoin the company, they can bring fresh perspectives that help drive growth and improve overall efficiency.

Employers can also benefit from boomerang employment. With the existing expertise and connections within the company, rehiring former employees often reduces the time and costs associated with the hiring process. In addition, because they are already familiar with the organization’s culture and values, boomerang employees can reintegrate into the workforce more seamlessly.

In conclusion, the concept of boomerang employment is becoming more prominent in the modern job market. The benefits that returning employees can bring to the organization, as well as the familiarity they possess with the company’s culture and processes, are invaluable assets that make boomerang employees an attractive prospect for hiring managers.


Benefits of Boomerang Employment

Asset to the Organization

Boomerang employees can be a valuable asset to the organization. With their previous experience and familiarity with the company’s culture, they are likely to integrate quickly and contribute effectively. Their return may also signal a positive work environment and boost employee morale, as it shows a willingness to embrace returning talent.

Stability for Employees

Boomerang employment offers stability for both the employees and the organization. Former employees returning to their old positions can settle in more quickly, reducing the time and effort needed to adapt to a new environment. This stability can lead to increased productivity and a stronger sense of belonging, allowing employees to be more engaged in their work.

No Additional Training Required

A major advantage of boomerang employees is that they usually don’t require as much training or onboarding as new hires. Their prior experience with the company means they are already familiar with the processes, policies, and systems in place. This can lead to cost savings for the organization and a faster ramp-up time for the returning employee.

Improved Retention

Hiring boomerang employees can lead to improved retention rates. Since they are familiar with the workplace culture and understand the expectations, they may be less likely to leave again. Additionally, their return serves as an endorsement of the organization, signaling to current employees that the company is valued by those who have left and decided to return.

Challenges in Boomerang Employment

Possible Resentment

Boomerang employees, or employees who leave a company and then return, might experience resentment from their colleagues. This could occur for various reasons such as jealousy, especially if the returning employee received a higher position or salary upon their return. In some cases, existing employees might feel overlooked or undervalued as they were not offered the same opportunities that the boomerang employee has been given.

Workplace Dynamics

When a boomerang employee returns, it can cause shifts in the workplace dynamic. Reintegrating into the team may take time and effort for both the returning employee and their colleagues. The boomerang employee might have to adjust to new team members, new managers, or new processes that have emerged since they left the organization. It’s essential for managers to communicate effectively with team members and facilitate a smooth transition during this period of adjustment.

Potential Costs

Hiring boomerang employees can have potential costs associated with re-onboarding and training. Although a returning employee may have a shorter learning curve than a new hire, they still might need to be updated on the latest company policies and procedures. They might also lack the fresh ideas and perspectives that a new employee might bring to the role. Additionally, if a returning employee left the company for higher pay elsewhere and returns with an increased salary, this can cause increased financial pressure on the organization to maintain competitiveness in the labor market.

Strategies for Managing Boomerang Employment

Boomerang employment, the trend where employees return to a company they previously left, is becoming more prevalent in today’s fluid job market. To make the most out of this phenomenon, companies need to adopt effective strategies for managing boomerang employees.

Establish Clear Policies

First and foremost, organizations should develop clear policies regarding the rehiring of former employees. These should address eligibility criteria, reevaluation of compensation packages, and any probationary periods. By having well-defined guidelines in place, companies can facilitate a smoother onboarding process and ensure both boomerang employees and the organization are aware of expectations.

Maintain Strong Alumni Networks

Creating and maintaining a strong alumni network can greatly benefit companies seeking to capitalize on boomerang employment opportunities. This can be achieved through hosting events, engaging with alumni through social media, and offering a dedicated platform for networking. A well-connected alumni network helps companies stay in touch with former employees and encourages them to consider rejoining the organization if the right opportunity arises.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is crucial for nurturing boomerang employment relationships. This includes conducting a thorough exit interview when an employee is leaving and scheduling touch-base meetings after their departure. Additionally, keeping lines of communication open with alumni helps identify their expectations and requirements for rejoining the company. This transparency forms the foundation of trust and paves the way for a successful reintegration of boomerang employees into the organization.

Implementing these strategies allows organizations to harness the value that boomerang employees bring, such as enhanced employee morale and fostering innovation and growth, as mentioned in this article. By being proactive and embracing the power of boomerang employment, businesses can set themselves up for long-term success in an ever-changing workforce landscape.

Case Studies in Boomerang Employment

One remarkable instance of boomerang employment is the story of Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter who returned as CEO years after stepping down. Dorsey first served as CEO from 2006, but left the post in 2008. He then returned as CEO of the company in 2015, demonstrating the potential for growth and acquisition of new skills that boomerang employees bring back to their former workplace.

Another example of a successful boomerang employee can be found in Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. Schultz initially left Starbucks in 2000 to pursue other interests, only to return as CEO eight years later in 2008. During Schultz’s second tenure, the company experienced significant growth and expansion, illustrating the advantages of hiring experienced and familiar executives who understand the company’s culture and values.

In both cases, the boomerang employees contributed to the success of their respective companies, demonstrating that their return was a strategic decision and not just driven by nostalgia or convenience. According to a Harvard Business Review article, nearly 20% of workers who quit their jobs during the pandemic have since returned to their old employers. This trend suggests that many organizations are recognizing the benefits and potential of rehiring former employees.

Boomerang employees can help organizations fill talent gaps and save on hiring costs. As indicated by an MIT Sloan Review article, employers save between one-third and two-thirds of hiring costs when they rehire former employees. In addition, companies can benefit from the knowledge, experience, and network that returning employees bring back with them.

The case studies presented in this section showcase successful instances of boomerang employment. While every organization and situation is unique, these examples highlight the potential positive effects of embracing this employment trend and rehiring former employees.

Future Implications of Boomerang Employment

Boomerang employees, individuals who return to a company after initially leaving it, have been on the rise. This trend has potential benefits for both employers and employees and can shape the future of the workplace in significant ways.

One notable advantage of boomerang employment is the speedy acclimation of returning employees. Since they are familiar with the organization’s culture, practices, and systems, they can jump back into their roles efficiently. This can lead to cost savings for employers, as less time and resources are required for onboarding and training.

Moreover, boomerang employees can bring fresh perspectives and skills acquired during their time away. This cross-pollination of ideas and experiences may help organizations foster innovation and drive positive change in their business practices. In addition, these employees often return with increased motivation and loyalty, making them valuable assets for their previous employers.

For employees, boomerang employment offers the opportunity to re-enter a familiar work environment, often with a higher level of understanding and appreciation for the company’s culture and values. This newfound knowledge can have tangible effects on their job satisfaction and ultimately, their performance. Additionally, it offers an alternative career strategy, allowing employees to strategically navigate the job market and build diverse professional experiences within the context of a single organization.

To maximize the potential benefits of this trend, organizations should consider implementing strategies to encourage boomerang employment, such as maintaining open communication with former employees and creating alumni networks. These networks can help companies stay connected with talented individuals who may be valuable assets in the future. By embracing boomerang employment as a talent acquisition strategy, organizations can benefit from a pool of experienced, dedicated, and motivated workers.

Ultimately, the rise of boomerang employment signals a shift in how people view their career trajectories and how employers approach talent management. In an increasingly dynamic job market, this trend could be an essential component in ensuring long-term success for both companies and their employees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Boomerang employees can offer unique and significant advantages for companies. These individuals are already familiar with the organizational culture, goals, and ways of working, which can save time, energy, and money needed to onboard and train a new employee. As a result, they can contribute more quickly and efficiently to the team.

There are potential drawbacks to rehiring former employees. For example, their previous exit might have left unresolved issues or conflicts that could re-emerge upon their return. Additionally, if company culture or business strategies have changed since their departure, there might be an adjustment period needed for them to adapt.

Boomerang employees should approach salary negotiation with a thorough understanding of their value and industry benchmarks. They should highlight the skills, experience, and unique insights they bring to the table, which could justify a higher salary. Additionally, they should consider researching any changes in company policies or market trends that may affect their pay.

Company culture plays a critical role in boomerang employment. Former employees often return because they appreciate and resonate with the organizational values, mission, and work environment. Companies that maintain a strong, positive culture are more likely to attract and retain boomerang employees.

Boomerang employees may encounter challenges when they return to a former workplace. These could include navigating changes in company culture, reporting structures, or business strategies. Additionally, they may need to re-establish relationships with co-workers, which might involve overcoming preconceptions or addressing previous conflicts.

To create an effective boomerang hiring strategy, companies should maintain open communication channels with high-performing former employees. Conducting thorough exit interviews and providing opportunities to discuss potential return can encourage talented workers to consider rejoining the organization. Furthermore, companies should continuously refine their culture and evaluate their rehiring policies to optimize opportunities for boomerang employment.

Quinn is RemotePad’s authority on remote work and HR tools. A Baltimore native, Quinn has a Bachelor of Arts from the College of William & Mary and a professional background in copy editing and education.