If you’ve ever left a job only to eventually rejoin the same company, you’re not alone. From athletes like LeBron James to CEOs like Steve Jobs and Jack Dorsey, boomerang employees are becoming increasingly more common. In fact, according to a recent Workplace Trends survey, 40% of employees say they would consider going back to a previous employer and 76% of HR departments are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees than they were in the past. That’s a big change from even a decade ago. The main reason: it can be a great way to bring top performers back into the fold while cutting down on recruitment costs.
Thinking of implementing a boomerang recruitment strategy? Here’s how it can make a difference for your company.
Turning alumni into top performers
“Boomerangs can be exceptionally valuable to a company's growth because they're already familiar with its culture,” says Brendan Browne, vice president of global talent acquisition at LinkedIn. What’s more, returning employees often bring new skills with them when they rejoin the team, offering a rare combination of company knowledge and innovation that can do amazing things for the business. Another great perk? Boomerangs can help to boost team spirit within the company by acting as brand ambassadors and emphasizing the positive aspects that made them decide to come back. In addition to improving workplace culture, this can help to boost the retention of existing employees and even attract new hires. After all, who’s better at helping people see the value of your company than someone who left and then decided to rejoin your team?
Cutting down on on-boarding time
One of the best things about boomerang employees is that they’re usually able to get up to speed much faster than new hires. Since they’re already familiar with company products, team dynamics and the ins and outs of different departments, they’re often able to bypass the more general parts of the on-boarding process and dive right into the areas linked to their specific roles. In addition to helping these hires integrate more quickly, this knowledge can also positively impact your company’s bottom line since they’re often able to start delivering results much earlier than a new hire. A good example of this are sales representatives who are already familiar with the products they’ll be selling and have likely been successful in closing sales for those exact products in the past. Instead of spending three months learning the specs and costs of the products—and how to talk to customers about them—these reps are often able to jump back into the sales cycle and begin closing deals much faster than if they were completely new to the business.
Trimming training costs
Another benefit of shortening the on-boarding process is the ability to reduce training costs. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, boomerang employees can help companies cut down on recruiting and training costs by up to 50% due to their existing knowledge and previous training. Combined with their ability to add value more quickly than new hires, boomerangs can contribute positively to your company’s overall financial picture. And that’s not all. Those cost savings can add up even more with each new boomerang hire, emphasizing the importance of designing your recruiting strategy with boomerang employees in mind.
Where to start
While finding the best talent isn’t always easy, staying connected to your alumni could be a great way to bring former team members back when the right opportunity comes along. “Fortunately, most employers today understand that loyalty doesn't go away when employees walk out the door; rather, it can stay with them throughout their careers and flourish over time as they navigate the workforce,” says Browne. The easiest way to implement a boomerang recruiting strategy is by creating an alumni program designed to keep previous employees informed about company happenings and open roles. This should include a monthly newsletter as well as periodic calls or emails. If you have the budget, alumni events can also be a great way to stay connected with potential boomerangs and help them see how the company has evolved. DigitalOcean launched a robust and successful alumni program in 2017 to nurture past employees. "Since launching our Alumni program in Q4 2017 we've seen a real impact on our community engagement and recruiting funnel. More than half of our former employees (57%) joined the Alumni group and we've had 5 employee boomerangs re-join the team so far in 2019," shares Olivia Melman, Manager, Recruiting Operations of DigitalOcean. By having a strong alumni network, and knowing that relationships don’t end when an employee decides to move on, you can ensure that your best hires are never too far away and that you leave the door open for them to come back when the time is right.