Boomerang Employees More Welcome than Before

Survey data shows a changing mindset about hiring boomerang employees—those who left an organization, for whatever reason, and then rejoined that same organization at a later date.

Nearly half of human resource (HR) professionals surveyed claim their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees—even if the employee left in good standing—yet 76% say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past, according to the first study released in The Employee Engagement Lifecycle Series commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Managers agree, as nearly two-thirds say they are now more accepting of boomerangs.

While only 15% of employees report they had boomeranged back to a former employer, nearly 40% say they would consider going back to a company where they once worked. Looking deeper, 46% of Millennials would consider returning to a former employer, compared with 33% of Gen Xers and 29% of Baby Boomers.

Eighty-five percent of HR professionals say they have received job applications from former employees in the past five years, and 40% say their organization hired about half of those former employees who applied. More than half of HR professionals (56%) and managers (51%) say they give very high or high priority to job applicants who were former employees that left in good standing. Conversely, only 6% and 9%, respectively, indicate they give zero priority to former colleagues.

NEXT: Pros and cons of boomerang employees

One-third of HR professionals (33%) and managers (38%) agree that familiarity with the organization’s culture is the biggest benefit to hiring back former employees, while nearly one-third appreciate that boomerangs do not require as much training as a brand new employee.

When employees were asked for the top reason they would go back to work for a former employer if pay was comparable, employee benefits and better career path tied for the number one response (20% each). However, this response varied greatly by generation.

But while the overall acceptance of boomerang employees has changed direction, HR professionals and managers still have concerns. Nearly one-third of HR professionals and managers claim boomerang employees have a stigma hanging over their heads that they might leave again, and more than one-quarter say these employees may have the same baggage they originally left with.

Research findings are based on a survey fielded among 1,807 respondents in the U.S. between July 14 and July 22.