5 reasons why you should have a boomerang hiring strategy

Former employees returning

A boomerang hire is someone who leaves an organisation and re-joins that same organisation at a later date. Traditionally many companies may not consider individuals who have left voluntarily when a new vacancy becomes available, but boomerang hires are on the rise. A recent study of 1,800 HR professionals found that 65% of managers are now more accepting of boomerang hires than ever before.

Janine Chidlow, Managing Director EMEA & AMER at Resource Solutions says, “As a high-growth business, it is essential that Resource Solutions utilises all potential channels to source the best talent, and this includes our alumni. Individuals choose to leave an organisation for many reasons, so we are always keen to maintain relationships with our regretted leavers. Boomerang hires often bring both company and industry knowledge, as well as a fresh perspective”.

Many leading companies are increasingly leveraging their alumni to fill current vacancies – multinational professional services firm, EY described boomerang hires as a "critical recruiting channel" whilst US-based healthcare giant DaVita rehired 1,700 former employees which accounted for 15% of its "new hires" in 2013.

Organisations that discount former employees are reducing their pool of talent significantly, and perhaps unnecessarily. Here are 5 compelling reasons for welcoming boomerang hires:

  • No surprises
    However skilled and strategic your interview and selection process, an individual is likely to behave differently in an interview than when undertaking day to day work. Boomerang hires reduce the risk factor – organisations have already seen the individual at work and will be aware of strengths and weaknesses.

  • Boomerang hires stay put
    Having already left once, they have seen that the grass isn’t always greener. Company culture can make significant impact on whether someone remains in a role. A new hire only gets a glimpse into the organisation’s way of life before accepting an offer whereas boomerang hires have factored-in company culture in their conscious decision to re-join.

  • Reduced cost-per-hire
    Boomerang hires typically only return if they have left on good terms, often maintaining strong links with current employees and relying on these relationships to re-join the company. These relationships can eliminate agency costs and reduce time to hire.

  • Accelerated induction
    Previous employees know what your USPs are, what your products are, and where the photocopier is. Depending on how long the individual was away from the company, the on boarding can be shorter and these hires can start being productive faster.
  • Market insight
    As former employees, boomerang hires understand the context of their previous employer but have also had chance to bring competitive intelligence and even potentially new clients.

Thinking of rolling out a boomerang hiring strategy? There are many ways organisations can begin to cultivate their boomerang talent pools: 

  • Create an alumni community
    Organisations can learn from universities – creating online communities can help engage alumni and allow an organisation to showcase how they are evolving and growing. It can also be used to promote vacancies, particularly those which require specialist knowledge which may be of particular interest to alumni.

  • Promote to regretted leavers
    Internal resourcing teams can actively connect with regretted leavers to highlight the opportunities available and discuss options. DaVita achieved such high boomerang figures due to taking a particularly proactive approach - when an employee is in the process of leaving them, the manager inputs whether he or she is eligible for re-hire. About a month later, those who are receive an email entitled, "You are always welcome here" which presents them with the option of easily being able to connect to the DaVita Alumni Group. 

  • Promote transparency
    Organisational culture has never been more transparent, online review platforms such as Glassdoor allow past employees to see how organisations have improved and changed.

Whilst still controversial for some, many businesses are leveraging their alumni talent pool to their advantage. As we enter bonus season in some geographies, a time period that historically sees increased attrition, consider how boomerang hires can form part of your resourcing strategy.