The Boomerang Rules
There's no doubt that the last decade has brought a notable period of shift regarding employee management, and trend in workplaces has been the hiring boomerang employees. These are employees who leave and then return back to the company at a later date. Sometimes they return to their old position, and sometimes they fill a higher position than when they left the company.
Just decades ago, it was rare for an employee to return to a company they had left for a handful of reasons. Job hopping is commonplace, when just decades ago, there was more to be gained by sticking with the job you had. The level of benefits, potential pensions and ethical responsibility attached to being committed to your job pushed employees to stick with their companies. Today, much of that has been thrown out the window, and other indicators such as telecommuting options, creative company incentivizations that encourage health, education and green living, and company generosity projects are taking precedent when looking at job committal.
It's not news that the developing generation of workers is looking for "an experience" in everything they do, so it's easy to conclude that they will get bored after a short time and want to jump to the next opportunity. If they see change or improvement at the company they have left, or if they realize that the grass on the other side wasn't truly greener, they are likely to be open to returning to a prior company they have left if the opportunity presented itself.
Finally, employees today are less likely to play the long-game in terms of working up the corporate ladder. They may not intend to return to a company upon leaving, but rather than sticking around and waiting for companies to train for growth or having opportunities open up, employees are finding the next step up in their personal ladders at other companies, and returning when better opportunities arise at their old companies.
Managers of companies past may have taken it a bit more personal when an employee left, but the new generation of workers view their jobs as a more fluid part of their lives. Although leaving a company is still important, it is less-emotional than it used to be for employees. As a result, it is important for both employers and employees to handle the transition appropriately. Below are a few key rules to leave room for future boomerangers and also choose the boomerang employees who are sure to stick around for the amount of time you need them to stay:
1. The condition of how they left the company is how they need to return to the company.
If an employee was fired for a reason such as tardiness, it is important that if they are re-hired and given another chance, that they return with a zero-tolerance understanding. This protects you, as sometimes the reminder as to why they were fired in the first place is prompted when they return. If they were in good-standing, make sure the team is welcoming and doesn't view the employee as a "traitor" who left everyone behind.
2. Take the opportunity to sharpen the employee's level of training.
Just because the employee has experience in the company or position doesn't mean they won't have holes in their skills or require a small learning curve. It's possible they may have to collaborate with an entirely new staff, and it may take some time to get a feel for the position. Employees are most malleable and teachable at the beginning of their employment, so take the time to pour into them and sharpen them.
3, When deciding to re-hire the employee, remember that history tends to repeat itself.
If the employee left because of a disagreement with management, you better stick to your guns and bet that things aren't going to be improved. If the employee didn't give much notice before leaving the company and simply took off, you can bet they'll do it again. If, however, they left the company in good standing, they might be a great fit to return to the company.
4. Boomerang Employees may be cheaper to train, but also want a bump in pay or a new opportunity quickly.
If you plan on hiring a former employee for training cost savings, you will need to weigh the cost with the expectations upon returning. Because they don't require training, the employee may internally value their worth to be higher within a shorter period of time and will most likely push for a raise earlier and be looking for greater opportunities within the company in a short period of time. Sometimes, it may be cheaper to train a new employee in the long run.
5. Be sure to keep dibs on former employees on LinkedIn.
It's possible that a former employee who stays connected to your company gets the training you're looking for at another company, and you have an opportunity that may fit them. If you keep a great relationship with them, you may just be able to offer them the opportunity to return to the company, and everyone wins. Be sure to keep an open door.