The Great Resignation has given way to a new trend – boomerang employees. With this in mind, there’s no doubt that the workforce is changing. Baby boomers are retiring, millennials and Generation Z are taking over, and the workplace is evolving. This has led to much discussion about boomerang employees – former employees who leave and come back. So should you hire them back? Here’s what you need to know.


All About Boomerang Employees

What exactly is a Boomerang Employee?

A boomerang employee is a worker who leaves a company, then is rehired at a later point to work in the same company. The employee can return to work in the same or entirely new position. Like a boomerang, their journey leads them back to their previous company. They leave and then return later in life with new skills and experiences.

According to a study on LinkedIn referenced by the Wall Street Journal, boomerang employees accounted for 4.5% of all new hires among companies on the professional networking platform in 2021. This number is up from 3.9% over the same period in 2019. LinkedIn has also embraced boomerang employees, with the site doubling the number of new hires who were also former employees compared with 2019.

Why do they leave a company in the first place?

There can be many reasons why boomerang employees leave their original company, including:

  1. They want to try a different career path or move to a different location.
  2. To grow in their current career path, as well as to earn more income.
  3. They may also be a seasonal employee, limiting their availability to specific times in the year.
  4. Life events such as new babies, spouse relocation, and even medical conditions can play a factor.

Employees leave companies for multiple reasons, including situations outside their control.


Should you rehire former Employees?

When it is a good idea to welcome back boomerang employees

Hiring back employees can be a good idea for onboarding costs. Training and recruiting employees can take a considerable amount of time and effort. Utilizing a boomerang employee’s experience can help reduce these costs substantially.

Another reason for welcoming boomerang employees back with open arms is their previous skills and the connections they bring back when returning. The ability to fit back into company culture and simultaneously utilize their unique perspective from the time away can be invaluable.

When it is a good idea to give further consideration before hiring back boomerang employees

There are some situations where you may want to give more thought before hiring back employees. If an employee left on a negative note, bringing them back into your work culture may do more harm than good. Leaving a company before could also mean a potential lack of commitment to their position. It would be a disadvantage to hire back someone likely to leave in a short time frame. Also, no matter how appealing hiring former employees may be, bringing someone back to a job where they were performing poorly may not be the best situation for either employee or employer.


Final thoughts on Boomerang Employees

Hiring a boomerang employee can be great for your company. They already know the culture, are familiar with your systems, and likely have some institutional knowledge that benefits the company. However, hiring a boomerang employee also comes with its own set of challenges. Being prepared to manage their expectations, ensuring that they are up-to-date on changes since they’ve been gone, and making sure that they aren’t bringing any bad habits or drama back into the office with them would be advisable.

Considering these things before hiring a boomerang employee can help ensure both parties succeed in the rehire.