Being a Boomerang Pays – for Everyone

by Alumni Content in Corporate Alumni   |    Last Edited: 14th October 2022

New research from Visier data shows that a “boomerang” employee averages a 28% pay rise when they return to their former employer. But bringing back an ex-employee not only makes financial sense for them, it can be good for your business too.

Boomerang employees – people who leave a company for another job before returning to it – are on the rise, with 4.5% of all new hires amongst companies on LinkedIn in 2021 being boomerang hires. This is a rise from 2019 when they made up just 3.9%. The trend of going back to your former workplace has definitely been exacerbated by The Great Resignation, as people realise the grass isn’t as green on the other side of the fence as they’d hoped. But hiring former employees is now seen as a strategic move by businesses looking to employ the best talent and cut their recruitment costs.

So, what do you need to know if you want to tempt back a boomerang?

It Starts at the Exit Interview

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Rebecca Croucher, Senior Vice President, Head of North America Marketing and Sales Enablement for ManpowerGroup, said that she felt that a well-managed exit interview was key to showing departing employees that they would be welcomed back.

“Creating a smooth exit and then continuing to engage with former employees after they leave can provide a more professional and welcoming approach if that person wants to come back”, she said.

Exit interviews are too often seen as a formality with little interest from either side. But using these interviews to deepen the relationship with the person leaving could be the key to their return. Making sure that you have a way to continue contact with them, that they feel their reasons for leaving have been noted and understood, and that they’re signed up to your alumni network if you have one, are all ways to ensure the exit interview feels like the next step in your relationship with them rather than the closing of the door on it.

Keep in Touch

Being strategic about how you keep in touch with former employees once they’ve left is half the battle of getting them back. Croucher mentions that some companies schedule check-in calls with ex-employees a few months after their departure, while others run informal alumni groups on sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. All of these can be good ways to ensure your former employer remembers you and keeps engaging with you. However, at EnterpriseAlumni we’ve found that if you really want to hire back those boomerangs, you need to make sure you’re engaging with them in a targeted manner.

Our clients use the data gathered through their alumni networks to personalize the content they send to former employees. For example, rather than just advertising open roles, they’ll send them to the alumni that best meet the criteria with a message explaining why they might be interested in this particular job. And when it comes to creating events or content, they’ll segment the data so they can make sure their alumni feel the business is speaking just to them.

Using the data in this way takes your alumni strategy from simply “keeping in touch” to one which is personalized and targeted. This deepens the relationship with your alumni and increases engagement. It’s the more strategic approach to alumni.

Be Strategic About Their Return

If your company does start hiring boomerangs, the return process offers a great opportunity for you to increase their loyalty to the company. We know that boomerangs are a more dependable hire than “stranger hires”. Only 2% of internet recruits convert into employees, with a high level of dropouts during the recruitment process. Boomerang hires already know your recruitment process so are less likely to be phased by rounds of interviews or particular hiring requirements. They’re also more likely to stay; boomerang hires have a 44% higher retention rate over three years.

In the Forbes interview, Croucher points out one simple reason why boomerang employees work for everyone;

“There is no end date for the ‘Great Resignation’,” she says, “but employers looking to mitigate turnover can start by strengthening their culture. Rehiring employees into roles they will be successful in and showing them appreciation goes a long way.”