The Pros of Boomerang Employees

It’s often bittersweet to see a colleague leave your organization for another opportunity. On one hand, you may be happy he or she found a new position, but on the other hand, you’ll miss working with him or her.boomerangIn Human Resources (HR), it’s often more bitter than sweet. The position needs to be refilled, which takes time and money and comes with inherent uncertainty, such as the length of time it will take to get the new employee up to speed and whether the new employee will be able to fully replace the departing employee.

The situation gets more complicated when the employee returns to the organization after leaving—or becomes a boomerang employee. Some experts say that employers generally like bringing on boomerang employees, while others say employers are not as positive.

Why are there different perspectives? Over multiple posts, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of hiring boomerang employees and talk about some best practices when hiring them. First, we’ll look at the pros.

Less Training

One obvious benefit to hiring a boomerang employee is that he or she generally will need less training than someone unfamiliar with the business or role.

Company Culture

Similarly, boomerang employees will already know how employees interact with one another and with superiors and subordinates, as well as will have familiarity with the company culture and norms.

Demonstrated Value

Boomerang employees are known commodities—the organization already knows their value. Although the person may have changed for better or worse during his or her time away, it’s unlikely he or she changed drastically.

Message to Other Employees

An employee who returns to an organization might demonstrate that the job market isn’t as good as expected or that the company he or she is returning to is a better workplace and has better opportunities than the alternatives. In other words, boomerang employees show other employees that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the outside.

There are a number of benefits to hiring boomerang employees, particularly from a management perspective, which may be why 9 in 10 senior managers reported being open to hiring a boomerang employee, according to a survey conducted by Accountemps.

But there are downsides, as well, which we’ll talk about in our next post on this topic.