In days gone by, it was understood that your career would take a logical path - perhaps you'd climb the ladder in one organisation for 50 years or you would move from one company to another, taking on positions with slightly more responsibility each time you moved. These days, many people opt not to take a logical, linear approach to their career and it's common for people to jump here, there, everywhere and back again within their career.
What is a boomerang employee?
A boomerang employee is someone who leaves an organisation only to return again sometime later. There are plenty of boomerang employees out there, in every industry and many of them are right in front of our noses - think Jarryd Hayne leaving rugby league for the NFL in the USA only to return to play for rugby league for Fiji a year or two later. Prime Ministers can also boomerang; Sir Robert Menzies, Kevin Rudd and Alfred Deakin are all examples of this. Even Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, only to start his own company which then merged with Apple and landed him the CEO role within a year.
It is not unheard of for an employee to return to their old workplace but up until recent years, many employers have been averse to the idea of accepting old employees back into the fold. This survey shows that now, 76% of employers are accepting the idea of hiring boomerang employees and, while only 15% of employees said they had boomeranged, 40% of them would consider it.
So, what's the benefit?
The advantages of re-hiring an employee after they've been away for a while, whatever the reason, are numerous and boomerang employees can be highly sought after. At the core, there are three main reasons you might want to hire a boomerang employee.
Culture is a huge issue when it comes to hiring employees. With boomerang employees, there's no awkward stage while they get used to the culture in your workplace. They already know it and if they're willing to come back, there's a big chance they fit in well into the culture that has been created.
When it comes to your organisation's values and expectations, they are already onboard. They know what's expected of them and they know the procedures. Of course, new things will have been introduced in the time they've been away but the teething period will be much easier on employers and employees alike.
Instead of spending the last year or two in your organisation, they've been out in the world, gaining new skills and collecting new knowledge. Now that they're back, your organisation gains all those skills and knowledge along with them.
Whichever way you look at it, re-hiring employees is a big win for everyone, so there's no use in burning bridges or slamming the door on the way out, no matter which side of the equation you happen to be on. After all, employees, you might want to come back again one day and employers, you might want them back again at some point.
Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/
He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.
Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.