Most Employees Don’t Want to Return to a Former Job

A recent survey by Accountemps® suggests that less than half of former employees (aka boomerang employees) would work for former employers again.

Announced in a press release, nearly all (98%) HR managers interviewed said they would roll out the welcome mat for a returning employee who left on good terms. According to a survey from staffing firm Accountemps, not all workers would feel comfortable returning. In fact, 52% of professionals polled said it’s unlikely they would apply for a job with a former employer.
“Boomerang employees have a shorter learning curve and may require less training, and have already proven themselves and their fit with the organization, so there are fewer surprises,” said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps. “Companies who part ways unprofessionally or don’t take seriously the information they glean from exit interviews could miss out on bringing back someone great.”
Driscoll added, “When it comes to rehiring former employees, consider why they left in the first place. If they resigned to pursue education, training, or a role with more responsibility, having them back may bring new skills and ideas to the organization. On the other hand, those who quit because of dissatisfaction with management, pay, or the corporate culture may still be unhappy if they perceive nothing has changed while they were away.”
Encouraging Talent to Return
The concept of boomerang employees was explored in one of BLR’s articles, written by Angela Hills, EVP of Cielo. Here are her tips for encouraging boomerang employees.
In a fast-paced world fraught with competition, leaders must transform their companies through a sustained people advantage. This is made possible through three critical steps that can help talent acquisition professionals maintain relationships and acquire boomerang talent.

  • Do not burn bridges. The primary roadblock to recruiting boomerang talent is overcoming the negative stigma attached to an employee’s departure. Oftentimes when an employee leaves an organization, feelings of guilt and failure may be present on both sides; the departure is seen as a negative event.Creating more neutral or even positive feelings when an employee chooses to leave an organization is critical to potentially enticing him or her to return in the future. Organizations should make proactive efforts to remain on good terms with top talent.
  • Keep in touch and engage regularly. Creating alumni networks on social networking websites, such as LinkedIn® and Facebook, is a great way to stay connected with professionals who leave an organization. If an employee departs on good terms, he or she should automatically be invited and encouraged to join the organization’s alumni networks. It is not enough to simply invite former employees to join these networks.Organizations need to maintain an ongoing dialogue in order to remain top of mind. They can achieve this by posting regular company updates—such as positive news surrounding the company or leadership changes—and opportunities to rejoin the team through the alumni board forum, as well as through personalized check-in conversations.
  • Monitor top performers. Talent acquisition teams should keep a close watch on top performers who left the company, targeting them in all relevant outreach efforts. It is important that former employees, specifically those an organization would like to see return, are actively engaged and remain a part of the company’s talent community.Touching base with top performers on how their new job is going and whether they are experiencing the level of career growth or development opportunities they hoped to achieve can provide valuable insights into when it might be appropriate to rerecruit top talent. These potential boomerang candidates can be a crucial part of an organization’s pipeline of future talent.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to boomerang employees and an infographic that contains the results of the survey.

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