02.09.2022 Human Ressources Farvest decrypt Talents Trends

"Boomerang employees": an advantage or a liability?

boomerang employees farvest decrypt

The “Great Resignation” encouraged a large number of people to quit their jobs for greener pastures, while some eventually came back to their former company. These people are referred to as “boomerang employees” – a trend that seems to pay off. 

The “Great Resignation”, followed by the “Great Reshuffle”, has clearly changed the job market. Following the successive lockdowns, millions of workers switched companies to find a better job or a better work-life balance. Yet some “resignators” decided to return to their previous company. A UKG study found out that nearly 1 out of 5 people who decided to quit their job during the pandemic eventually came back to it. Unlike what we may believe, returning to your previous company is not necessarily a step back – rather the other way around!

UKG – provider of HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions – revealed that 62% of surveyed individuals admitted that “the job [they] quit was better than [their] job now”, meaning that the green pasture they quit their job for was not that green afterall. Besides, they used this experience as a springboard to come back to their former company to upgrade both their position and salary. An experience that often enables them to acquire new skills and knowledge. This way, once they are back with their former employer, they tend to adopt a brand new approach.

From the employer’s perspective, the increase of boomerang employees does align with the job market. The Great Resignation has caused an important workforce shortage, which highly encouraged employers to contact their former employees. Digital-marketing agency iCrossing talent manager Nicola Thomas explained to BCC that “recruiters are now having to think of new ways to widen their talent search. The perfect candidate may well be a former employee”. The advantage of this practice is that employers are comforted with the idea that the “new” hire knows the business culture and the overall internal practices.

Meanwhile, in spite of the psychological and personal advantages, it is not impossible that employers present more expectations regarding the boomerang employees. The latter can then feel more pressured compared to new starters, because they are supposed to know every process. This also depends on the time the boomerang employee has left. Nicola Thomas commented that “the longer it’s been since the candidate left, the more likely it is they could be clinging to older practices. The business may have moved on in that time”.

Overall, this trend can present as advantageous, both for “boomerang employees” and employers. The most important in this process is for the employee – and even the employer – to leave on good terms so they can return back peacefully.