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Boomerang employees: leaving to find each other again

Published on :
27 Sep 2023
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Goodbyes" don't always sound like farewells. A few months after resigning, some ex-employees return to the company. A phenomenon which, far from being the prerogative of a few indecisive employees, has a number of advantages for both parties, and strengthens their collaboration. What are they? Let's find out.

Boomerang employees: a trendy phenomenon

The pandemic was accompanied by a wave of resignations. While HR was not overly surprised, it did not expect a majority of employees to come knocking on the company's door.

In fact, according to the LinkedIn employment barometer published in February 2023, the proportion of French employees who have changed employers and returned to a company they had previously worked for has risen by 36% in three years. On a global scale, nearly one in five resigners has already returned to their original position.

A trend that particularly affects executives and the finance sector (Les Echos article). And when you think about it, this phenomenon is neither surprising nor destined to disappear. The reason? With the obsolescence of skills and the desire of talented people to multiply meaningful professional experiences, linear careers are becoming increasingly rare.

While at first sight it's understandable that companies are cautious about boomerang employees, the reunion would be a godsend for both parties!

When the grass isn't finally greener elsewhere... An asset for the employer brand

In order to attract and retain the best talent, organizations need to look after their employer brand. And what if boomerang employees were one of their best cards?

For candidates and internal staff alike, seeing former employees return is clear proof that the grass isn't greener elsewhere after all. As HR, it's in your interest to highlight the career paths and profiles of your boomerang employees.

What's more, in addition to being a sign that you're a better place to work than your neighbor, by recruiting talent who had chosen to leave you, you're sending out the image of an understanding and forgiving company. In other words, you're not one of those people who, driven by pride and ego, hold grudges against those who quit.

On the contrary, you're aware of your limits and accept that some talented people may want and need to experience a new career and move on to a position you weren't able to offer them in the past. An act of humility much appreciated by candidates and in-house staff alike!

Returning to your ex-employer: a double jackpot for the employee?

There's a well-known saying: "You know what you're leaving, but you don't know what you're going to find". Except for boomerang employees! When they return to their original company, they know exactly what they're getting into: the corporate culture, the values, the management style, the tools, even the colleagues... Apart from a few changes here and there, they know everything about the organization and how it works. That's one less thing to worry about.

But that's not all. As they set sail for new professional experiences, boomerang employees have been sculpting and developing their skills. Knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills that can now be put to good use if you're in need. All the more reason to give them access to new responsibilities and better remuneration!

Recruiting a boomerang employee: a guarantee of security for the company

On your side, there's no shortage of benefits to be gained from recruiting a boomerang employee. In addition to supporting your employer brand, you benefit from security. You're not dealing with a complete stranger. You know the candidate's history with your company: the position held, responsibilities, strengths, personality... So you're in a position to assess your future collaboration.  The icing on the cake is that it saves you a considerable amount of time in your recruitment process.

Despite this, it's legitimate to have a few fears: *Obviously, this is a point to be discussed with the candidate. It's essential to discuss the reasons why he resigned the first time, and to check that he's clear about the reasons for his return, and that he's motivated. Nevertheless, we'd like to reassure you: when the boomerang employee has been elsewhere and joins your ranks again, it's because he's aware of the advantages you offer and is therefore motivated!

Re-hiring former employees: remember to adapt their integration

While hiring boomerang employees has its advantages, let's not forget that this is a brand-new collaboration. Your employees are more mature, and your company may also have undergone some changes. The onboarding phase should not be forgotten. However, it's not a question of offering a course identical to the one followed by new recruits.

The idea? Adapt the onboarding process to the needs of boomerang employees, so that it's not too long and redundant. To do this, ask yourself: what changes have taken place since his or her departure? Did you change governance? Management? Does the department have new tools? Will the employee be joining a new team? What about your working conditions?

As you can see, it's possible to leave in order to find yourself again, and recruiting boomerang employees can be a real boon for both the company and the employees themselves. The fact remains, however, that in order to attract former talent, it is necessary to maintain the relationship and dialogue when the collaboration ends on good terms. So don't hesitate to create an alumni network and invite your former recruits to your corporate events and afterworks!

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