Learning & Development, Recruiting

The Great Boomerang

By now, you must have heard of the Great Resignation, during which employees are resigning in astounding numbers as they land new jobs.


This mass exodus, in turn, has produced a new evolution: the Great Boomerang. According to a Monster poll, 4 in 10 workers indicated they left a job in the past year, and the majority of workers would consider returning to work for a previous employer. Their top reasons include additional financial compensation, benefits and work perks, and an improvement in work culture.

And as the employer, when you evaluate former employees to welcome them back with an open door, they already have a proven track record with you; they know the culture, even if it’s changed slightly; and they’ll likely be on the fast track to onboarding and assimilation and quality, productive work from day 1.

Here are several ways to entice boomerangs to return to your workplace.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

When HR conducts exit interviews with employees who have resigned, especially the top performers, HR may want to mention the door is always open for them to return. It may help them realize the grass may not always be greener in a new pasture and that they can eventually return “home.”

Just as it’s important for jobseekers to keep their networks alive and well (even when they’re not looking for a job), it’s equally important for employers to remain engaged with alumni.

This can be accomplished through a variety of ways: A boss can e-mail a former employee to say hello and see how the person is doing overall, a colleague can comment on a former peer’s Instagram stories and photos to say hi, and more. Keeping the lines of communication open is key not only for the boomerang but also for anyone else the worker may know to build pipeline for your talent pool.

Examine Your Culture

Another way to entice former employees to return to your workplace involves determining why they left in the first place. Although financial compensation is typically the number one driver for jobseekers, flexibility is surging in importance, too.

Your HR department may want to start conducting stay interviews, or interviews with current employees or anonymous surveys that can be used to get a temperature of the culture. What keeps them working there happily? What is one thing about the culture they would immediately change if they could? Ask for feedback, listen, and make appropriate changes as necessary.

Also, by taking a closer look at the culture, you can determine if there are any “bad apples” in the bunch. By taking a deep dive into the culture, you may discover a toxic boss needs to be counseled out. For instance, Monster’s boomerang poll indicates more than a quarter of workers would return to a previous employer if their old manager left! That speaks volumes and makes you wonder if they would have left in the first place if that toxic boss weren’t there.

Share your culture on social media, take videos and photos, and share your involvement with the local community. Now more than ever, jobseekers are evaluating employers with social impact to ensure their values align with their employer’s.

Provide Career Growth Trajectories

Lastly, as a selling point to potential boomerangs, as well as a retention tool for your current employees, focus on career growth. For instance, in our boomerang poll, more than one-third of respondents indicated they would return to a previous employer if their current job no longer met their expectations.

Leverage this as an opportunity to not only meet the career expectations of your workforce but also exceed them! In particular, from Monster’s annual State of the Grad annual survey, career growth specifically is one of the top aspects Gen Z candidates are looking for in a new job.

In job descriptions, during job interviews, and during performance reviews (throughout the year, too), employers can be intentional about showing jobseekers and employees what their job growth would look like by working for them. They can also show the skills and experiences that are needed to climb the ladder and what that path might look like.

This bodes well for employers on many levels, but ultimately, you’re looking for the right fit when interviewing candidates. And when candidates express an interest in growth, they’re most likely thinking about long-term employment.

Vicki Salemi is a Monster career expert, a former corporate recruiter, an author, a keynote speaker, and a nationally syndicated columnist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @vickisalemi.

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