As a talent manager you may recognise that the trend of rehiring former employees has gained traction over the past couple of years. These individuals, referred to as ‘boomerang employees’, often have decided to rejoin you due to various reasons like a positive experience during their previous tenure or changes within the company that align more with their career goals.
Having a strategy for these returning employees needs to feature in your approach to talent management. In most cases boomerang employees return as an even more effective employee and could be identified as high potential talent.
The Great Regret
Many people who have left organisations often experience the ‘great regret’, reflecting on missed opportunities, unfulfilled aspirations, or dissatisfaction with their new working environment.
Some common areas of regret for departing employees include:
The new job doesn’t live up to their expectations, such as offering less challenging work, a different company culture, or fewer growth opportunities.
They might compare their new job unfavourably to their previous role, especially if they perceive their previous company's culture, benefits or work environment to be superior.
The new job doesn’t provide the anticipated career growth, learning opportunities, or chances for advancement they were seeking.
In short, they’ve experienced that the ‘grass isn’t always greener’.
Catching your boomerang employees
Here are some considerations for how you can effectively approach re-onboarding your boomerang employees.
Exit interview data: Review your exit interview data to gain insights into their reasons for leaving previously and areas for improvement. This information can be used to enhance policies and practices to potentially encourage their future retention.
Feedback sessions: Regular feedback sessions with boomerang employees can yield valuable information about their experiences during their absence and what factors influenced their decision to return. This feedback can be used to improve policies, address concerns, and create a more attractive work environment.
Contributions and performance tracking: Tracking the performance and contributions of boomerang employees is crucial. Understanding how they integrate back into the company, their productivity, and their impact on the team and projects, is essential for assessing their value.
Succession planning and career development: Boomerang employees might have gained new skills, experiences, or perspectives during their absence. You need to monitor and leverage these developments for succession planning or career development within the organisation.
Company advocates: Former employees returning can also be great advocates for the company. They can refer other talented individuals, leveraging their network and positive experiences to attract new talent.
Having a defined strategy on boomerang employees allows you as a talent manager to optimise your strategies for retaining top talent, understanding the reasons for departures and returns, and enhancing the overall employee experience.
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