Recruitment Trend: Hiring Boomerang Employees Gains Acceptance

October 7, 20158:00 am1488 views

The change in the recruitment trend of hiring boomerang employees is quite evident in the industry. Those leaving the organisation only to join back after some time are accepted by HR managers as a welcome change. This shows a change in attitude towards hiring boomerang employees by HR professionals.

Three-fourths of HR professionals and 65 percent of managers are now accepting change and hiring boomerang employees, the reason being global scarcity of talent. This is according to the recent report by SHRM highlighting findings by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and website The survey was conducted on more than 1,800 HR professionals, managers and employees.

“Interestingly, nearly half of HR professionals said their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees, even if the employee left in good standing.  85 percent of the HR professionals reported that they have received job application from former employees in the last five years, and nearly 40 percent of the organisations have hired the former employee.”

The employee engagement should not end once the working relationship is over – especially between high-performing alumni and organizations with a strong corporate culture. However, this era of welcoming boomerang employees back into the team, creates a unique type of competition for job seekers and new challenges for organizations to maintain relationships with former high-performers.

Key facts brought to light from this survey are:

  • Organizations and workers alike are coming around on boomerang employees

Based on the survey data, nearly half of HR professionals claim their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees – even if the employee left in good standing – yet 76 percent say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past. Managers agree, as nearly two-thirds say they are now more accepting of boomerangs.

Looking deeper, 46 percent of Millennials would consider returning to a former employer, compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 29 percent of Baby Boomers. In an era where job-hopping amongst young professionals has become the norm, this could suggest that millennial employees might be leaving organizations too soon.

See: 5 Key Defining Talent Trends to Effectively Recruit the Mobile-Enabled, On-Demand Workforce

  • Boomerangs are creating increased – and unexpected – competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve.

According to the study, 56 percent HR professionals and 51 percent hiring managers give very high or high priority to job applicants who were former employees that left in good standing. Conversely, only six and nine percent, respectively, say they give zero priority to former colleagues.

Boomerangs are not the only type of job seeker adding increased competition, as 75 percent of HR professionals say that customers have also applied for positions at their organization, with 60 percent saying they have hired at least one former customer.

  • Familiarity, easier training, and knowledge of employer are benefits for boomerangs and organizations – yet some concerns linger

HR professionals (33 percent) and managers (38 percent) agree that familiarity with the organization’s culture is the biggest benefit to hiring back former employees, while nearly one- third appreciate that boomerangs do not require as much training as a brand new employee.

When employees were asked for the top reason they would go back to work for a former employer, if the pay was comparable, employee benefits and better career path tied for the number one response (20 percent each).

While the overall acceptance of boomerang employees has changed over the years, there are some serious concerns which need to be addressed.  Nearly one-third of HR professionals and managers claim boomerang employees have a stigma hanging over their heads that they might leave again, and more than one-quarter say these employees may have the same baggage they originally left with.

  • HR professionals claim to have a strategy to maintain relationships with former employees, however workers and managers disagree

While organizations appear increasingly more accepting of boomerang applicants, 80 percent of employees say former employers do not have a strategy in place to encourage them to return, with 64 percent saying there appears to be no strategy for maintaining a relationship.

HR practitioners, on the other hand, say they use several strategies for keeping in touch with former high-performing employees, including email newsletters (45 percent), recruiters (30 percent), and alumni groups (27 percent).

Facebook is the platform of choice for alumni groups according to HR professionals (42 percent), with email (39 percent) and LinkedIn (33 percent) close behind. Would you recruit a boomerang employee?

Also read: How to utilise video effectively in your recruitment efforts?

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