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Boomerang Employees

The Anatomy of Boomerang Employees

We’ve all heard that life is a winding road. Sometimes that road winds all the way back where you started. This is becoming even more of a reality in the workplace as the trend of boomerang employees gain traction. A boomerang employee is someone who left an employer only to return at a later date.

While the concept of boomerang employees isn’t entirely new, it is definitely becoming more popular for both employees and employers. A Monster poll revealed that 28% of those surveyed have already returned to a prior employer and more than 50% said they would consider doing the same.

Why People Leave

If an employee is willing to boomerang back to their prior employer, why do they leave in the first place?  Some of the top reasons an employee may decide to leave a job include:

  1. Opportunity (or the lack thereof). Sometimes an employee’s skill set and experience grow faster than the department or the company for which they work. In this case it is often in the employee’s best interest to branch out and find new challenges to further their career, both professionally and monetarily. In other cases, management is already in place and there is nowhere to go unless a key figure leaves the company.
  2. Life circumstances. Ah, life. It just gets in the way sometimes. An illness, death, relocation or addition to the family can restructure your career without your consent. When a life changing event happens, an employee may leave a position not because they want to, but because they have no choice given the circumstances.
  3. Variety…..it’s the spice of life. Change is good. Cliché’s very often reflect the truth of the times. To many people, especially today’s millennials, variety is an important part of job satisfaction. It may be a change in leadership, responsibility, location or coworkers that drive the decision to jump from one company to another.
  4. Greener pastures. Well, not literally. But sometimes employees just feel that there is something better out there waiting for them. Once the seed is planted in their mind, there is often no stopping them from finding out on their own.
  5. Value clashes. People don’t always see eye to eye. When an employee’s values are not the same as the company’s or coworker’s, it causes anxiety and stress. This in turn leads to the employee seeking new opportunities where they feel they are a better fit. 

Home Sweet Home

Boomerang employees tend to return to former employers as the circumstances for which they left come full circle. As companies grow or people shift around, it often creates an opportunity for an employee to come back. The following are some of the main reasons for returning to a former place of employment:

  1. Company growth. While a company or department may not formerly have been large enough to feed the professional growth of an employee, circumstances may have changed. It may only take a couple of years for a company to skyrocket its growth, creating opportunities that were not there before. Likewise, if an employee left due to a reduction in staff, new growth may allow for the opportunity for that person to come back.
  2. Life circumstances. Just as life events may have caused an employee to leave in the first place, they can also bring an employee back. All the same reasons for leaving can become the reason to return.
  3. Familiarity. When you spend 40+ hours a week with the same people, they tend to become familiar to you. After all, we usually spend more time with our coworkers than with our own families. Some employees move to another company only to find that they don’t quite gel with the people there the same way they did at their former job.
  4. Culture change. Everything in life is fluid. As attitudes change, values shift and new management moves into place, a company’s culture too will change. What didn’t fit before may be a perfect fit for an employee today.
  5. The grass isn’t always greener. We’re a nation of “what if?” Some boomerang employees find out that the they had it pretty good where they were in the first place and want to return.

Don’t Burn Bridges

This goes for employers and employees alike. Hurt feelings and highly tempered emotions need to be removed from the equation. Business is business and sometimes a move is necessary for professional growth.

That being said, a recent article on usnews.com explains the best way to prepare for the possibility of becoming a boomerang employee. Many times an employee emotionally leaves a job long before they physically leave it. Stay present and keep those positive reviews coming. An employer will not want someone back that left on negative terms or had poor performance reviews while employed with them.

Benefits of Boomerang Employees

Boomerang employees tend to bring many benefits back to the workplace with them. According to business2community.com, hiring back a former employee can have a huge cost benefit. First, the hiring process tends to be much quicker as much of the key background information for the employee has already been processed and recorded. Second, the training time should be substantially reduced because the employee is already familiar with the company culture, benefit structure and other administrative items that tend to eat a large amount of time during the initial weeks of on-boarding. Additionally, the retention rate is higher among boomerang employees because they’ve already been on the other side and have found their way back home.

The benefits are also felt on the employee side. A boomerang employee may gain back their tenure and  vacation and sick time they once had and not start on an entry level scale. Also, boomerang employees have the opportunity to be back with long-lost friends. Starting over isn’t as hard as there is already a foundation there to build on with coworkers and management.

Whatever the reason a person decides to boomerang, companies and employees alike have to embrace the idea of a return. Sentinel Background Checks offers comprehensive screening solutions, including assessments, which allow employers to reassess their hires and ensure they are making the right hire, even if it’s the second time around. Call (888) 725-2535 today for more information and a free demonstration.