Boomerang Employee

What is a Boomerang Employee ?


A boomerang employee is an individual who leaves an organization to explore other employment opportunities but later decides to return to work for the same company. This return can be motivated by various factors, such as pursuing different career paths, seeking further education, or personal circumstances like relocation.

Considerations Before Rehiring

Before rehiring a boomerang employee, human resources and employers must ensure that the issues leading to their initial departure have been adequately addressed. This step is crucial to create a positive and productive work environment. Rehiring a former employee can offer several benefits, as outlined below.

Benefits of Hiring a Boomerang Employee

  • Faster Onboarding: Boomerang employees are already familiar with the company's culture and processes, enabling them to adjust quickly and reach full productivity without extensive orientation.
  • Reduced Recruitment Costs: Rehiring former employees often results in lower recruitment expenses, including advertising, screening, and interviewing costs. Their track record within the organization reduces the need for extensive due diligence.
  • Knowledge Retention: Boomerang employees bring back their previous skills and knowledge, enhanced by their experiences elsewhere. This blend of old and new insights can be highly valuable, preserving institutional memory while offering fresh perspectives.
  • Strengthened Employer Brand: When a former employee returns, it reflects positively on the company's culture and work environment. It signals that even after exploring other opportunities, the employee still views the organization as an attractive place to work.
  • Reduced Risk: Boomerang employees come with a level of predictability, as the company is already acquainted with their work habits, strengths, and weaknesses. This familiarity reduces uncertainties associated with hiring entirely new individuals.

Precautions when Hiring Boomerang Employees

While hiring boomerang employees has advantages, employers should be mindful of potential challenges:

  • Unresolved Departure: If issues leading to the employee's initial departure remain unaddressed, they may resurface, affecting the work environment and team dynamics.
  • Perceived Favoritism: Current employees might perceive returning employees as receiving preferential treatment, potentially leading to feelings of inequality. Employers should ensure equal opportunities for all.
  • Stagnation Concerns: Over-reliance on boomerang employees may discourage new talent and fresh perspectives from joining the organization, potentially hindering innovation.
  • Salary Imbalances: Boomerang employees may negotiate higher salaries upon their return, potentially causing pay disparities among team members if not managed transparently.
  • Reliability Concerns: Some may question the commitment of an employee who left previously, impacting trust and team dynamics. Employers should address these concerns proactively.

Interviewing Boomerang Employees

When interviewing a boomerang employee, tailored questions can provide valuable insights:

  • Motivation to Return: Understanding their reasons for returning helps gauge their genuine interest.
  • Evolution of Skills: Inquire about how their skills and experiences have evolved during their absence.
  • Addressing Past Issues: Directly ask if there were unresolved issues from their previous tenure.
  • Benefits of Their Return: Assess how their return can benefit both the employee and the organization.
  • Career Goals: Explore any changes in their career goals since their previous tenure.
  • Reaction to Company Changes: Determine how they feel about changes in the company since their departure.
  • Managing Perceptions: Assess their awareness of potential team dynamics and strategies to address perceptions.
  • Smooth Reintegration: Gather input on what they need for a seamless transition back into the team and culture.
  • Values About the Organization: Identify what they value most about the organization.
  • New Perspectives: Inquire about any new perspectives or suggestions they can bring to current processes or projects.