For many, great resignation is a time of new roles, new opportunities and career changes. Some call it the Great Reset.
Anthony Klotz predicted ‘The Great Regeneration’ in 2020, citing poor working conditions, toxic workplaces, job security uncertainties, lack of career advancement opportunities and reasons for re-evaluation of personal and professional priorities as reasons for massive redeployment of employees worldwide. Discipline and Sector
However, as Alex Hattingh, Chief People’s Officer at Employment Hero, explains, some sections of the working population are beginning to realize that the grass is not always green and want to return to their previous roles, the ‘Great Rehearsal’ may soon come upon us. These employees are becoming known as ‘boomerang employees’. This is a phenomenon that we have seen survive in the wake of the epidemic. According to LinkedIn, its platform had a boomerang of 4.5% new recruits in 2021, up from 3.9% in 2019.
But why would they want to go back to their previous job and what are the benefits of employers re-hiring their old employees?
Why would an employee want to return to a previous job?
When an employee takes on a new role but changes their mind, or can’t find a new job, there are many reasons why an employee may want to return to their old job.
Employees may discover that they can negotiate a better salary or return to a better working situation. Statistics show that boomerangs are better paid than employees who never leave.
The workers are tired. They are under pressure. They have burned more than ever. Some employees quit their roles because they just needed rest. This is a valid reason for them to move away from resting and rebuilding jobs for their personal life, their work balance, their own mental health and well-being, or for caring for loved ones. When that employee feels recharged, they may feel ready to return to the same job or the same company.
It could be that employees have started a new role and have not enjoyed their new responsibilities, their new manager, their team or company culture. It’s never worth digging, but we all know it happens.
Or perhaps a loyal employee has left for personal reasons that have changed unexpectedly, such as changing the position of a family member and then being able to return. And we know employers don’t like to hear that, but there were probably personal reasons why employees just didn’t enjoy their jobs. And then after leaving, the worker may have an epiphany that probably it wasn’t so bad.
Technology and digital transformation
Almost overnight, technology has enabled roles that have not traditionally been considered remote. If an employee leaves a role because they wanted to relocate but their work was not previously supported in a remote setting, and technology can now support it, an employee may feel better motivated to return. In fact, the remote-work genie is out of the bottle. Digital mobility comes in many shapes and sizes, and now that infrastructure has been put in place in many workplaces, employers are able to provide the flexibility that many employees seek to support their desired lifestyle.
Another possible reason for the return is that in the absence of workers, the company has worked hard to improve the workplace and company culture and can now offer benefits such as remote or hybrid work. In this case, a former employee may very well be tempted to return to an older employer if the cultural transformation solves the problems that were part of the reason for leaving them.
Should an employer re-employ a former employee?
Every decision of hiring or re-hiring depends entirely on the company and the applicant and their personal circumstances.
However, if you are concerned only about the return of a former employee in principle, it is important to consider that re-employing a former employee can have many benefits.
Convenience for employers
Boomerang surpasses new recruits
The Colonel’s study compared the post-recruitment performance of 2,053 boomerang or returning staff and 10,858 new recruits in a large healthcare organization over an eight-year period. The results show that returning employees performed better than new hires, especially in roles requiring “higher levels of administrative coordination.”
Returning employees have their role and familiarity with their previous company, as well as valuable insights gained from their experience elsewhere, often working for competing organizations. This gives them a competitive edge over new recruits who need to take skills and specialization for their roles which takes some time to learn.
Save time and money
Thus, re-employment requires less training and less introduction which can save the business significant time and money. Since they already know the work and the team, their risk is lower than that of new recruits.
The value of soft skills
It’s not just the experience within a competing firm that is valuable to an employer when a former employee is re-employed. Boomerangs often come back with more confidence and more rounded skills than they did in their original role. From dealing with managers to collaborating with colleagues, Boomerangs bring their newly acquired experience with them and have a tendency to come back with useful insights and skills that can benefit the entire organization.
Technical vacancies can be difficult to fill. This is why it is common to re-employ former employees to fulfill a technical role in the IT industry because they already have the necessary experience and skills needed for the job. In June 2021, researchers interviewed 39 Boomerang employees at IT and found that most of them were happy with their jobs when they returned because they were able to negotiate better terms for their return.
Tips for employers
Be prepared to pay more and provide more benefits to returning employees.
But beware of paying loyalty by paying boomerangs more than your current employees. You may need to review your existing benefits package for your current employees as well as your existing benefits package.
Actively manage your company’s culture
Things have changed a lot since the epidemic, and if you offer benefits like flexibility, hybrid work, remote opportunities and a wellness program in the workplace, you’ll be better placed to attract the best candidates. The culture of a strong, positive company can also help increase retention and reduce the risk of losing employees (again).