Remember about a year ago, when we were talking about The Great Resignation Boomerang? According to LinkedIn, about 4.5% of hires in 2021 were boomerang employees. That number has risen to more than 25% of “new” hires, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Rehiring previous employees is more common than you might think.
A boomerang employee is someone who previously worked for a company and is rehired at a later time. They could have been laid off, or they could have resigned for a different opportunity. Often employees return for a pay bump or a new management position.
The HBR study shows that most employees return after a little more than a year in their new job. They may return because the job with the new company didn’t live up to the promises that were made. The employee then feels betrayed and is more likely to consider a return to their old employer.
How to keep new hires from becoming boomerangs
To avoid retention issues with new employees, make sure the onboarding and employee experience is the same as the recruiters promise. The people hiring are most often not the people who will work with the new hire, so it is imperative that they are on the same page. Be sure to give candidates a realistic idea of the job. Be transparent and let them know the good and the bad parts.
Follow up with new employees regularly to make sure that any differences in what they expect and what the job delivers can be addressed before the new employee gets frustrated and updates their resume.
Keep in mind that workers tend to leave just after their first year. If onboarding lasts a year, the danger zone is after onboarding is complete. Consider creating an engagement program that targets those who are beginning their second year of employment. If they show they are a good performer, consider offering them a salary bump at the beginning of their second year. Fair compensation is key for maintaining engagement, and top talent has options.
How to rehire a former employee
When an employee gives their notice, take steps to build a positive relationship with them. Just as employees are admonished not to burn bridges when resigning, employers need to consider that the departing employee is now part of a future recruiting pool.
Around the one-year mark, check in with the former employee to let them know that they have been missed, and make an offer to rehire them. If they are considering coming back, the check-in will pave the way for them.
Your offer will be more enticing if it includes a pay raise or a promotion. If they are disillusioned with the opportunities with the new employer, this can make their decision to return easier.
Be sure that the employees who have stayed and carried on with the work aren’t slighted. Especially if you are offering the rebound employee a higher salary, consider some kind of bonus or raise for your loyal employees, too.
Boomerang employees can be an opportunity or a threat. It is up to employers and hiring managers to create an environment of opportunity for the boomerang employees and the loyal workers.