What Is A Boomerang Employee?

by Community Admin in Corporate Alumni   |    Last Edited: 17th May 2019

What Is A Boomerang Employee?

A Boomerang Employee is an employee who leaves and then returns to work for their former employer.

Many organizations only class full-time employees who leave and then return to the organization as a “boomerang hire” from a tracking perspective.

A great story from British Airways is that when an employee leaves they say “Good luck with your offsite training, we look forward to seeing you back here shortly!”

What Is The Value Of A Boomerang Hire?

The ROI on a boomerang hire has been detailed in our recent research report “The (ROI) Value Of An Alumni Program” and recognizes a number of core benefits and savings of bringing back a former employee:

One customer recognized that a 1% increase in their rehire rate yielded $1.25m in savings and the implementation of an Alumni program was able to increase their rehire rate from 2.4% up to 8%

The Corporate Culture & Boomerang Study

The Corporate Culture and Boomerang Employee Study by Workplace Trends give the following boomerang employee statistics:

  • 15% of employees have boomeranged back to a former employee.
  • 40% of employees say they would consider boomeranging back to a company where they had previously worked. This includes 46% of Millenials, 33% of Gen Xers, and 29% of Baby Boomers.
  • 76% of HR professionals say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past.
  • 40% of HR professionals say their organization hired about half of their former employees who re-applied for a job with them.
  • 56% of HR professionals and 51% of managers say they give high or very high priority to boomerang job applicants who left in good standing.
  • 33% of HR professionals and 38% of managers agree that already being familiar with the organization’s culture, and fewer training needs, are the biggest benefits to hiring back former employees.

Of course, in addition to the financial benefits of a boomerang hire, employees willing to return to their former organization is a great reflection of a strong internal culture.

5 Reasons Boomerang Employees Matter:

  1. Significant reduction in recruiting costs.
  2. Accelerated time to value
  3. Better job suitability
  4. A longer period of employment
  5. External/Outside Thought Leadership

The days of getting a job and staying at it for forty years and then retiring are long gone. Adults typically make several major career changes during their working years.

With that much moving around going on, HR professionals will always have personnel needs, and if an applicant already knows the job and the company culture, they are the most likely candidate to fit in.

The Reduction Of Risk:

Perhaps the most famous boomerang of all is Steve Jobs, rehired 12 years after being let go from Apple. Whilst not every employee will achieve the heights and success of Jobs, there’s no doubt that boomeranging back into the company brings benefits to the employer and employee alike- the most obvious one being the reduction of risk.

Things may well have changed during the time of separation but there’s still some removal of the fear of the unknown for both sides.  The speed at which the employee is likely to be up and running at full productivity is likely to be faster.  According to an article by HBR called Cultivating Ex-Employees, between the lower effort needed to recruit and train ex-employees and their shorter ramp-up time to full productivity, companies can cut costs by up to 50 percent per hire by employing a boomerang over a typical applicant.

There’s also no doubt that the impact on your employer brand is a positive one- it can only reflect well on a company when an employee who has experienced work with other companies makes the choice to apply back to a former organization.