“Boomerang” employees are professionals who quit their jobs to join a new company but end up returning to their previous employers. The main reason why employees leave their original workplace is because they are looking for a better salary, benefits, and career progression. Nevertheless, due to the aftermath of the pandemic and The Great Resignation, boomerang employees are on the rise as professionals, who feel like they could obtain better opportunities, experience regret once they realise what they have left behind. According to a 2023 UKG report, 28% of new hires are former employees who resigned within the last thirty-six months.
So, what factors are causing employees to return to their old workplaces?
And… how can employers take advantage of this current trend?
Why do Employees Return to an Old Job?
In most cases, the promise of a higher salary can be what draws employees to return to their previous place of employment. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, boomerang employees receive an average salary increase of 25%.
Their previous company has changed since they last worked there and is on a promising path that they want to be part of.
They found that their new company did not match their expectations or live up to the promises given during the interview. For example, boomerang employees may have been lured away by an appealing progression structure that ends up being target-based and unreachable
Their previous employer was able to offer a better working environment, and in the end, happiness outweighed financial gain.
The Benefits of a Boomerang Employee
By hiring a past employee, you are bringing someone into the company who understands your business structure, possesses the desirable skills for the role, and knows the workforce. Your “new” hire can save you both time and money as they won’t need extensive training and will quickly settle into the workplace.
In addition, during the time that a boomerang employee has spent away from the company, it is likely that they will have picked up new skills and knowledge. As a result, they can bring a fresh perspective and a stronger, more attractive skill set to the company.
The Disadvantages of a Boomerang Employee
As mentioned before, one of the main reasons why boomerang employees rejoin their previous place of employment is due to financial incentives. Whilst this is a great way to show an individual how valuable they are to the team; it may also send the wrong message to those who stayed loyal to the company but didn’t receive any form of compensation. As a result, this could create resentment amongst the team.
The Importance of Exit Interviews
An exit interview is a great opportunity to receive feedback from a departing employee and learn if any factors influenced their decision to leave. By holding this conversation, you can take on board any information that will increase your chances of retaining your current workforce and future hires. As a result, you might find former employees returning to the company once these changes have come into effect.
In addition to receiving feedback, it’s important that the departing employee leaves your company on good terms. If they were a valuable asset to the team then it’s always worth mentioning that there is always a place for them within the company, as this leaves the door open in case they choose to come back later down the line.