Boomerang employees: the new normal?

May 26, 2017 1:11 pm Published by

Boomerang employees: the new normal?

We have all heard about the worldwide trend about the generation of ‘boomerang kids’, adult children going back to their parents’ loving home because they’re priced out of the property market and need to save for a deposit. Who says you can’t go home again in other areas of your life? Worldwide, the mindset is changing amongst employees and the organisations they once left. We’re talking about returning to work for a former employer.

For most employees, until recently, when leaving an employer, they had the instinct to move on and not look back. For organisations, boomerang employees were considered taboo. It is easy to understand why; these are people who voluntarily left to seek greener pastures. They potentially damaged the trust between employer and employee and abandoned their team, leaving the company with a personnel headache and possibly lost profits. So why should the same company embrace them now?


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The answer is simple; it benefits both parties.
Boomerang employees are extremely dependable. They have experienced the outside world and realized the grass isn’t always greener. They return to the fold with a renewed sense of dedication and loyalty. For the employee there is a sense of reassuring familiarity and comfort in returning to their old employer. Simply, the employee knows what they are getting into, so the fear of the unknown is removed.

For the employer the benefits are many. The lower costs and effort associated with hiring boomerang employees is significant, and the benefits are immediate. Both time and money are saved by filling job openings with former employees who have excelled in the past. They require less training and completely bypass the onboarding process. They’re already familiar with the work environment and have formed both personal and professional relationships with associates, and will therefore assimilate more easily than a new hire. Boomerangs offer a unique advantage in that they bring direct business value through their recent exposure to life outside of the organisation; allowing them to leverage their new connections and industry experiences will only benefit both in the short and long term.

The statistics prove that it is no longer frowned upon for a job seeker to want to return to a former place of employment, and even more so for the employer to actually rehire them. In fact, according to*

– 76% of HR professionals say they are more likely to hire boomerang employees now than in the past
– 40% of employees say they would consider returning to a company where they previously worked

The figures speak for themselves, and so does common sense. It may dent an employer’s pride when they lose what they considered a loyal employee, but the benefits they enjoy by accepting them back into the fold can more than make up for the initial loss. Whether it will become the new normal, we will have to wait and see.


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