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The Pros and Cons of Hiring Back a ‘Boomerang’ Employee

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Coming to the realization that the grass isn't always greener, more employees are returning to former employers than in years past.

Why the sudden surge of rejoining the old ranks? According to The New York Times, the unique shift might be due to highly connected professionals who are now in constant social and digital contact with their former employer, thereby making it easier to make the return.

The increase in boomerang employees can also be attributed to a changing workforce. In the past, many employees worked at the same organization for the span of their career; in today's professional world many workers shift frequently from role to role and returning to a former employer is part of this mix.


Benefits of Hiring a Boomerang Employee
An obvious advantage to hiring back a former employee is familiarity. The employee may require minimal onboarding as they already understand the company culture and environment. Similarly, they are likely to be more familiar with the organization's technology and business practices, resulting in less time spent on training.

The employee may also have new experiences, ideas, and perspective to offer the company to which they return. Co-workers of the former employee will also make note of their return, boosting retention throughout the company as employees get the sense that the company was worth the return.


Risks of Hiring a Boomerang Employee
Not all organizations are welcome to the idea of an employee coming back after leaving for another job. Bloomberg, a financial software, data and media company, has a strict closed door policy regarding employees who wish to return to the company.

The question of why the employee left in the first place is likely to arise with both the employer and colleagues. Questioning their loyalty can cause disruption inside the company. The employer should get a sense of what the implications of allowing the boomerang employee to return might be throughout the organization.

Things to Consider as a Potential Boomerang Employee
If you are a professional considering making your return to a former employer, ensure you have weighed the pros and cons of such a decision prior to contacting the organization regarding your return.

Consider the following:

  • Did you burn any bridges?
  • Why did you leave in the first place?
  • Would you be working with your same boss/team?
  • What changes at the company do you need to know about prior to returning?
  • Would you be able to have your previous role back?
  • Were you satisfied there?
 


Unsurprisingly, experts note that successful boomerang employees typically left on good terms and of their own choosing, did well at their next employer, and were not away for an extended time frame, so as to still fit into and understand the former employer’s company culture.

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