Boomerang business is booming: why you should embrace the trend

Topics: recruitment marketing, recruitment strategies, boomerang recruiting

Posted by Lisa B. Radloff on Feb 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Just two months in, and the 2017 labor economy is already presenting a unique challenge to both employers and recruiters:

  •  The U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest in eight years.
  • Over 3 million workers left their jobs by choice—the highest level recorded since 2006.
  • The number of job openings nationwide is approaching 6 million—the highest number recorded since 2000, the year the statistic was first tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The average cost per hire has risen to over $4,000.
  • Essential roles that need to be filled immediately are remaining vacant for more than a month.

If only there were a candidate who already knows your business and could hit the ground running. Fortunately, there is. Enter the new age of the boomerang employee.

In the not-too-distant past, “boomerang employees” – workers who leave a company voluntarily only to be rehired – were considered taboo in the company’s eyes. After all, we’re talking about people who voluntarily left your organization for greener pastures, thereby creating a possible sense of fractured trust on behalf of both parties. So why you should you embrace them now?

The boomerang is not your enemy; in fact, they can be your company’s greatest asset. How?

Loyalty, redefined. Gone are the days when people work for one employer their entire career. As such, the very concept of loyalty has evolved – and for good reason. Smart companies and employees embrace new challenges and are constantly exploring new opportunities. Like any healthy relationship, they mutually respect one another’s personal decisions and professional ambitions, and choose to leverage their mutual experiences in a positive way. Fortunately, enlightened employers understand that loyalty doesn't disappear when people leave the company; rather, it strengthens and develops over time.

Time and money. The lower costs and effort associated with hiring boomerang employees is significant, and the benefits are immediate. You will save both time and money by filling job openings with former employees who have excelled at your company in the past. They require less training and completely bypass the onboarding process.

Company culture. They’re already familiar with your work environment and have formed both personal and professional relationships with your associates, and will therefore assimilate more easily than a new hire.

Industry intelligence. Boomerangs offer a unique advantage in that they bring direct business value through their recent exposure to life outside of your organization; allowing them to leverage their new connections and industry experiences will only benefit you both in the short and long term.

Transparency. Not only are employees more mobile than in the past, but they are also more connected than ever before. In fact, social media and alumni networks play a crucial role in maintaining positive relationships between employers and their former employees. Your organization should remain active and engaged through appropriate channels on a regular basis.

It used to be frowned upon for a job seeker to want to return to a former place of employment, and even more so for the employer to actually rehire them. Not anymore. In fact, according to a recent survey by Workplace Trends:

  • 76% of HR professionals say they are more likely to hire boomerang employees now than in the past
  • 40% of employees say they would consider returning to a company where they previously worked
  • Almost 50% of millennials said they would consider returning to a former employer – compared to about 33% of both Gen X and Baby Boomer employees

Now that you’re convinced that you should pursue boomerangs, how do you go about it? Stay tuned for our next post on NAS Talent Talk, where we’ll provide some of the details.

Lisa B. Radloff

Since joining NAS in 1998, Lisa has used her strong conceptual skills, sharp ear for dialogue and keen understanding of candidate behavior to produce concepts and copy for print, radio, television and online media for a vast range of clients across many industries.