9 Things to Consider When Rehiring Boomerang Employees

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Posted by: David Garcia April 03, 2024

Rehiring a former employee—known as a “boomerang” employee—can benefit both the employer and the employee. It can provide an employer with someone who already knows their culture, values, and expectations. It can also give an employee a chance to return to a friendly workplace.

However, there are some essential things to consider before rehiring boomerangs to ensure that rehiring benefits everyone Here’s what to keep in mind when considering a boomerang employee rehire.

What Is a Boomerang Employee?

A boomerang employee is an employee who leaves a company for personal or professional reasons and then returns to work for the same company. Boomerang employees are increasingly valued for the unique perspectives and experiences they bring back to the company.

While most job applicants are new candidates, boomerang employees accounted for 4.5 percent of all new hires in 2021.

What to Consider When Rehiring a Boomerang Employee

Debating rehiring someone who was once an employee? Make an informed decision by factoring in these considerations.

1. Their Past Performance

How did this person perform during their previous employment? Were they a star employee or the worker who did the bare minimum? Reviewing their past performance can help determine if they are worth bringing back.

2. The Circumstances of Their Leaving

The reason and circumstance of an employee’s leaving the company can tell you a lot about them and whether it’s a good idea to rehire them.

Did they quit and storm out on the spot after a poor performance review? Did they find a new job that challenged them and grew their skills and understanding of their field? Did they respectfully put in their two weeks and ensure a smooth handoff of tasks and responsibilities?

Each of these situations is different. Consider whether they left on good terms and the respect they showed for the company upon their departure.

3. What They Learned While They Were Away

What new skills or perspectives did the individual gain while working elsewhere or taking time off from work? Someone’s experience outside your organization can open up a wealth of knowledge that can be beneficial when rehiring them. 

Inquire about what new skills or expertise they’ve acquired since they last worked with your company. It’s crucial to understand what they can bring to the table now.

4. Open Roles That Would Be Appropriate for Them to Fill

What are positions currently open that the potential boomerang employee could fill? Do they have the experience, skills, and traits necessary to do the job? 

Perhaps they were a great employee in the past, and you’d love to have them rejoin your team. However, it might not be the right move if there’s not an open role that would be a good fit for them currently at the company.

5. Their End Goal

Do their mission and values line up with your organization’s? Things may have shifted during your time apart. 

Ensuring you’re still on the same page is vital. If your goals no longer align, working at your company again wouldn’t be in either party’s best interest.

6. Their Loyalty

In some cases, boomerang employees can make excellent team members. However, you should assess their commitment and loyalty to your organization. Will they stay for the long haul, or is this just a short-term gig? How long did they work for the company previously? 

Knowing that any new hire would prefer to be with your company long-term is essential. If you’ve known them to leave their job quickly from experience, you may want to be wary of their newly rediscovered interest.

7. Their Relationship With Current Employees

You shouldn’t prioritize a boomerang employee over your current employees. If the boomerang employee had tense or problematic relationships with individuals still employed with your company, you need to consider their situation. 

Your current employees shouldn’t feel uncomfortable coming into work if you rehire the boomerang candidate. Ask current employees about the potential rehire to gauge their thoughts before making a final decision.

8. What Convinced Them to Return

What convinced the previous employee to re-apply to your organization? Often, it’s an element of the work culture that brings employees back. Knowing what they love about your company can help you understand what you’re doing right and give you a reason to celebrate. 

However, if their answer is limited to the pay or it seems there’s an ulterior motive, be wary.

9. What They Missed While Away

A candidate may hope to come back in the same role (or a promoted role) after being away for a long time. If the job requirements have changed drastically, they’ll likely require re-training to get them caught up. 

On the other hand, suppose a candidate left recently, and there have been few changes. It shouldn’t be a problem.

Advantages of Rehiring a Boomerang Employee

  • Familiarity With Your Organization: Boomerang employees already know your company and expectations. This familiarity can be beneficial, as they understand the organization’s culture, operations, and goals.
  • New Experiences and Skills: During their time away, boomerang employees can gain skills or perspectives that could be valuable to your organization. Adding fresh new talent will push your company further and drive progress.
  • Reduced Hiring Costs: Rehiring boomerang employees can save time and money in the hiring process. You won’t need to invest in recruiting and onboarding new employees. There’s also a good chance you won’t need to completely re-train them, saving you even more.
  • Improved Morale: If the boomerang employee has a good reputation and healthy relationships with the team, they’ll bring back enthusiasm and energy to your workplace with a renewed perspective on their job.
  • Improved Retention: Bringing back an employee can help your organization retain talent as they already know how to work in the company. Coworkers appreciate seeing familiar faces.

Disadvantages of Rehiring a Boomerang Employee

  • Potentially Outdated Skills: When an employee reenters the workforce after some time away, their skills may be outdated. It may take them some time to become comfortable with the new technology and processes you’ve implemented since their departure. The knowledge gap can widen if your company has changed massively since they last worked there.
  • Flight Risk: Rehiring someone who’s already left the company once before makes them more of a flight risk. If the individual goes a second time, it could lead to workplace drama and impacted operations.
  • Disruption to Current Employees: Rehiring boomerang employees can disrupt your current team if they are uncomfortable with the rehire. Tensions between former and current employees could disrupt the workplace.
  • Overlooking Other Candidates: Boomerang employees might be good candidates for certain positions. Still, if another candidate is more qualified and has better qualifications, consider them before the rehire.

Final Thoughts

Rehiring a boomerang employee comes with both pros and cons. Ultimately, you want to ensure that rehiring this individual benefits your organization and the employee. With careful consideration, you can be confident that the decision to bring back a boomerang employee is beneficial for all parties involved.Whether you’re rehiring or recruiting a new hire, ScoutLogic has you covered. Contact us today to vet your next hire for education, finances, criminal history, and more.

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