5 top reasons why companies should welcome back boomerang employees

Last updated: 2022-06-235 min read time

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Companies spend a lot of time investing in onboarding new recruits with the hope of long-term employment, but the days of a “job for life” are long gone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S., the figure in 2020 was 4.1 years, while in Europe the figure was more than double at 9.8 years according to Statista

When an employee who has worked for a company for the aforementioned lengths of time hands in their notice, a valued and talented member of a workforce breaks links and working relationships with their immediate team as well as the company. This can be especially hard to deal with if the skills they have can’t be easily replaced or found in a new recruit.

Although there could be hard feelings felt against the person leaving, companies shouldn’t burn any bridges or slam the door behind them on their last day. Why? Well, there is always the chance they might decide to come back, and companies should consider rehiring them as they will already know work processes and company brand. Former employees who return to previous employers are being called “boomerang” employees.

Companies should welcome back their exes

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, boomerangs accounted for 4.5% of new hires among companies in 2021, and the best boomerangs are those who left on good terms. The reasons for this are many, but it can be linked to what was being called “the great resignation” where employees felt they could take remote or hybrid work and try something new. It’s of interest for companies to take on boomerangs because many may have learnt new skills that can be transferred and utilized, as well as harnessing familiar skills they already had.

However, there are other reasons why boomerangs come back, and this can include, of course, higher wages, offer of promotion, and better or improved environment. But if employers really want to attract boomerangs, then offering a good benefits package is also key.

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Here are 5 tips to attract boomerangs back to your company

  1. Offer flexible / hybrid working options. During the great resignation and the pandemic, employees got used to working from home, but now it’s more the case that they want a good work/life balance. Offering flexible work conditions will keep employees from boomeranging too soon.
  2. Offer a fresh perspective when reboarding. It’s not recommended to treat a returning employee as if they know everything and are shown their old seat once they’ve entered the building on their first day back. Treat them to a new experience when reboarding. This will freshen up their perspective and motivate them to get going again. Poor reboarding will increase the risk of them leaving again.
  3. Be transparent about any company changes. Make sure boomerangs are asked questions about salary, company culture, and any changes that the company has made since they left. It could be the case that your benefits package has been improved, so any mention of the latest benefits (e.g. gym membership, insurances, pensions) are really worth talking about. The best way to communicate your range of benefits is to implement a total rewards and benefits platform and app that can be rolled out across the organization.
  4. Stay in touch with potential boomerangs. This isn’t always easy to do depending on circumstances, but checking in with ex-employees is worthwhile. This reinforces how much you valued your working relationship with this person, and if they feel missed and wanted then there’s always a chance they’ll boomerang right back to you.
  5. Prepare the existing team about a boomerang’s return. This links to tip no.2 which is to create a fresh perspective about new working practices or any hybrid / remote working practices. It could be the case that newcomers will not have had any contact with the returning employee, whereas others will, so it’s important to give your team or organization a head’s up on any boomerang’s return.

Attracting boomerangs back with better conditions including flexible work and benefits is key. With the trend of this phenomenon looking liking to increase, companies should tell themselves: a) not to burn bridges with leaving employees b) it’s not always about hiring new talent or recruiting internally and c) it’s good to take on someone who already knows the business and may well have new and improved skills.

When a boomerang leaves an environment, be ready to catch them with both hands when they come back!


Want to know more about how digital onboarding and reboarding can help your company? Read our previous blog below.

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